BA Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation

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Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation are two complementary subjects that can be studied alongside each other at degree level.  Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. You will embrace the diversity of Greek and Roman culture, drawing together literature, drama, myth, religion, history, philosophy and art in Classical Literature and Civilisation. You will develop a distinctive set of skills and attributes and you will learn how to search for, select from and evaluate sources of information, weigh up arguments, and present your findings effectively. You will become sensitive to the assumptions and beliefs that underlie behaviour in a range of social and cultural contexts, and this will give you a critical edge.

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country and the Classics Department has been ranked in the top five Russell Group departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. As a research-led University, this means that you will be taught by academic staff world-renowned for their teaching and research.  

Course fact file

UCAS code: LQ68

Duration: 3 Years

Typical Offer: ABB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is a small department, whose strong sense of community and support among its undergraduates, postgraduates and staff is well known in the University.   

Studying Anthropology will enable you to develop a distinctive set of skills and attributes. Like other students, you will learn how to search for, select from and evaluate sources of information, weigh up arguments, and present your findings effectively. As an anthropologist however, you will also become sensitive to the assumptions and beliefs that underlie behaviour in a range of social and cultural contexts, and this gives you a critical edge.  

The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology will offer you the opportunity to explore not only the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome, but also the cultures of Egypt and Ancient Western Asia, as well as the Byzantine Empire. 

You will learn in a variety of different contexts, such as lectures, seminars, interactive workshops, independent research and field trips.

Why study this course

  • Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds at Birmingham. The Classics Department was ranked in the top five Russell Group departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. 
  • You will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you are a fully supported and active learner. Our unique degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that’s highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual and creative industries.  
  • Our wide variety of Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisations modules are very flexible, allowing you to specialise more and more as you progress.  
  • The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology provides a diverse range of opportunities to enrich your student experience. For example, students have been involved in the Classics in the Community Project, working with teachers on developing new ways of telling ancient stories. 

  •  The Department of African studies and Anthropology (incorporating the Centre for West African Studies) at the University of Birmingham is the only one of its kind in the world.
  •  All staff have lived and worked in Africa, so you get the benefit of their invaluable first-hand experience.
  •  Teaching programmes are grounded in the African people's own view of the continent and the world.
  • Student satisfaction scores for African Studies at Birmingham are very high, with 93% of students reporting that they are satisfied with the quality of the course.
  •  The University of Birmingham is first for employability nationally for all African Studies degree courses. 86% of African Studies graduates who graduated in 2011 were in graduate-level jobs or further study six months after graduating.
  • African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  •  The Danford Collection is a nationally important collection of African Art and Artefacts that celebrates and showcases the extensive array of cultural traditions and artistic expression from the countries in Africa. 
  •  CWASSOC is very active in organising social events, for example the biannual Afrika Jam. It also arranges excursions to places and events of interest (for example the Slavery Gallery at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool). 

Hear from our students

Open day talk

Ancient History open day talk

Joint honours open day talk

[Video above - Dr Craig Blunt delivers an undergraduate open day talk about studying Joint Honours at the University]

Modules

In the first year of a Joint Honours degree programme study is split equally between the two disciplines.  Following this you have the option to alter the balance of your study, meaning that you could change to a major-minor weighting.  In your final year you have the option to maintain your second-year balance, switch your major subject to your other discipline or revert to an equal balance.  If you wish, you can maintain an equal balance throughout your degree.  This flexibility allows you to tailor the course throughout your degree programme, once you have had the time and experience to consider where your strengths and interests lie.  The list of modules below are based on studying half of your modules (60 credits) in Anthropology and half in Classical Literature and Civilisation (60 credits).

First year

In your first year you take three compulsory modules in Anthropology. Focus on Studying Societies is concerned with core study skills, taking you through all the steps of researching, planning and editing an essay, and enabling you to pursue a group investigation and present your findings orally. Thinking Anthropologically takes a series of core questions (e.g. What is work? What is dirt?) and shows how anthropologists study societies around the world, explaining how people can think very differently about questions that might initially appear simple or obvious.  African Societies allows students to see how core anthropological terms have been applied to specific societies in order to explain social structures, behaviours and beliefs.  In Classics, the first year introduces you to literature, culture and history of the Graeco-Roman world. In core lectures you will study key texts such as the Homeric epics and Virgil’s Aeneid, and immerse yourself in Greek and Roman history from the Bronze Age to the early Roman empire. In small group tutorials you will acquire new study skills and study aspects of Greek or Roman culture in detail. If you already have GCSE or AS/A level in Greek or Latin you will be able to continue your study of the language and literature. 

 Compulsory modules 

  • Focus on Studying Societies
  • Thinking Anthropologically
  • African Societies
  • Introduction to Greek Literature
  • Introduction to Roman Literature
  • Group Research (Classical) 

Either

  • Project A
  • Classics Option:
  • Barbarians and the Transformation of the Roman World
  • Early Civilisations of Western Asia
  • Early Civilisations: Egypt
  • Greek Art and Archaeology
  • Byzantium and the Transformation of the Roman World
  • Introduction to Greek and Roman History
  • Roman Art and Archaeology

OR

  • Beginners Language Options x 2

Second year

In this year you take Theory, Ethnography and Research (40 credits). This module explains the history of anthropology and its major theories. It finishes with an ethnographic project in which students behave like anthropologists, and engage in close observation and analysis of the social behaviour around them. In addition, students choose 20 credits of African Studies optional modules that have an anthropological focus. In Classics, core modules take you to the heart of the cultures of Athens and Rome: In Rome, you will be immersed in the age of Cicero and the dying days of the Roman republic, studying authors such as Catullus, Sallust and Lucretius as well as the many and varied works of Cicero himself.  You also make your choice from our unique range of options in literature, culture, language, myth, religion, art, philosophy, archaeology and history. If you want to learn Latin or Greek as a beginner, you have the opportunity to do so now. If you are continuing past GCSE or AS/A level study, you will now have the chance to take part in advanced text-reading seminars.

Compulsory modules 

  • Theory, Ethnography and Research
  • Option (with an anthropological focus)
  • Athenian Drama
  • Age of Cicero
  • Classics Option

Third year

In your third year, you may write an Anthropology Dissertation (10,000 words, 40 credits) or take an Independent Study (5,000 words, 20 credits) and Anthropology Options.  The highlight of the final year in Classics is your dissertation: a substantial research project, developed in collaboration with your supervisor, on a subject of special interest to you. In addition to this, you make free choices from our unique range of options. If you studied a language, you have now gained expertise in this, and are able to read and translate a wide repertoire of texts. 

Compulsory modules 

  • Dissertation or Independent Study
  • Options (Anthropology)
  • Classics Dissertation
  • Classics Options
  • Download the programme brochure for Joint Honours Anthropology to find out more about the course structure

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding
 
Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: ABB

Additional information: Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com

Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Contact hours

These vary slightly according to your choice of modules. However, contact is timed carefully and we're very clear about what you should do during your independent study hours. During contact hours, you will have the opportunity to work in small groups, to build relationships with your tutors and fellow students, and to receive one-to-one feedback on your assignments.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Employability

As an Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation student you will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are highly prized by employers. It has the advantage of being a distinctive degree that really helps you to stand out from the crowd.  You will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are attractive to employers, including:

  • Strong communication skills;
  • The ability to research, analyse and interpret complex information;
  • Leadership and teamwork;
  • Handling complex information;
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments;
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload

These are key skills that will enable you to pursue either further study in Anthropology or Classics disciplines or move into employment in a wide range of other careers. 

85% of Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation students are in work/study six months after finishing their degree.  Our graduates have gone on to careers in: 

  • Bank Management
  • Teaching
  • Civil Service (admin grades)
  • Foreign Office
  • Retail management
  • Aid work with Save the Children
  • Probation work
  • Welfare rights worker
  • Computer programmer
  • NGO work in Kurdistan
  • Work with adults who have learning disabilities
  • Research with Amnesty International
  • Officer in the Parachute Regiment
  • EFL teaching
  • BBC Radio producer
  • BBC World Service correspondent
  • Postgraduate study 

You will benefit from organised events in the Department whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available.  Many careers-orientated events are arranged in the Department over the course of your time at Birmingham to enable you to gain skills so that you join the working world with confidence in your abilities.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers and Employability Service can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV's and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Graduates of Classical Studies develop a wide range of skills which are highly attractive to employers. Studying Classics involves analysing the ancient world in a political, social, and cultural context. This helps the development of skills in research and analysis of complex information, working independently and as part of a team, and articulate communication of judgments and arguments. You will also have the opportunity to carry out self- directed project work which helps self-management, organisation and research skills. The study of Latin and Greek develops analytical and verbal reasoning skills, as well as discipline and application, and it supports the use of a rich and varied vocabulary.

The University of Birmingham has employability rates for graduates of our Classics programmes above the national average. They have a high average starting salary of £18,000 per year, and go into work or study within six months of graduation. Our graduates go on to careers in a wide range of areas such as law, the civil service, business, education and the media, with employers including central and local government, museums, cultural and heritage organisations, charities and a range of commercial companies. Specific jobs include PR and communications, human resources, legal work, library work, events planning and tourism.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to our graduates, including our ‘Careers in Heritage, Museums and History’ event.

We also hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, law marketing and working with charities. The newly developed optional professional skills module allows students in their second year to gain experience in a working environment which can lead to the development of further valuable skills. Placements are offered with the support of local employers, and we are developing links with heritage and cultural organisations to create more opportunities for students.

In addition, our students are encouraged to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for those career areas where placements are often unpaid. You can even apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include:
    • Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
    • Birmingham REP
    • Birmingham Royal Ballet
    • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    • Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust
    • Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law undergraduate research scholarship scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.