BA Classical Literature & Civilisation and Philosophy

Ancient Roman Statue of Plato

This Joint Honours programme offers a wide range of modules in Classical Literature and Civilisation and Philosophy. By studying on this programme you will develop skills in weighing up arguments, evaluating sources of information and presenting your findings effectively. You will learn from renowned experts in their field and be part of a dynamic community with a long record of providing quality teaching and original research.  If you enjoy exploring fundamental questions and are fascinated by ancient cultures then this programme is for you. You do not need to have studied Latin or Greek as we offer specially designed modules to help you explore the original texts behind the translations; and if you have studied these ancient languages, we can take you forward from whatever level you have reached.

BA Classical Literature and Civilisation and Philosophy graduates from Birmingham go on to a wide range of posts once they graduate, including roles in management consultancy, local government, publishing and marketing.  

Course fact file

UCAS code: QV85

Duration: 3 Years

Places Available: 2

Applications in 2013: 13

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

Start date: September

Details

In this programme, your first year of study is split equally between Classical Literature and Civilisation and Philosophy (60 credits in each subject). Following this, you have flexible options to alter your balance of study, meaning that you could take for example 80 credits in one subject and 40 in the other in either or both of years 2 and 3, or stay with the 60/60 balance. 

First year

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. 

Philosophy: We offer a thorough grounding in mainly mainstream western philosophy, with some modules based around philosophical problems (e.g. the problem of scepticism, the problem of free will, and so on), some based around important historical figures (e.g. Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes and Rousseau), and some aimed at providing you with the skills you need to study philosophy in later years. 

Second Year

Classics: Our 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.

Philosophy: In the second year, all students are given some freedom of choice, so you can pursue the topics and questions that interest and inspire you such as Sex, Ethics and Philosophy; Feminist Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind and the Ethics of Killing. No modules in Year 2 are compulsory, so you can concentrate on the areas of the subject that interests you most. 

Final Year

Classics: The highlight of the final year 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.

Philosophy: Your final year gives you an even greater choice of modules and students should begin to get a real feel for philosophy at the cutting-edge. Some areas, like ethics and metaphysics, will be familiar to you, but will be studied at a more advanced level; others will be totally new. Modules include Prejudice, Race and Gender; Philosophy of Mathematics; Philosophy of Cognitive Studies; Philosophy of Religion and Global Bio-ethics. You will also in your final year research and write a dissertation with the help of a supervisor who advises you and guides you through the process. 

Why study this course

This programme allows you to bring two disciplines into an exciting and rewarding dialogue, with a huge amount of flexibility allowing you to tailor your course to suit your own interests. Below is a little more information about the Department of Classics and Department of Philosophy

Classics 

  • Classics, the study of ancient Greece and Rome, provides a true all-round education, encompassing literature and drama, myth, religion and history, as well as philosophy and art. Classical Literature and Civilisation is an innovative degree, and a fascinating subject to study as part of a Joint Honours combination, through which you will encounter the ancient world in all its diversity.
  • Classics is right for you if you are fascinated by ancient cultures, and like reading and thinking for yourself. You don’t need to have done Classics before. If you haven’t studied Latin or Greek, specially designed modules are on offer to help you explore the original texts behind the translations; if you have, we can take you forward from whatever level you have reached. Our distinctive emphasis on using literature, history and archaeology in the study of the ancient world, and the range of expertise available, ensures a wide choice of times, countries and cultures may be studied.
  • Academic staff in the department are experts in the culture, literature, history, archaeology and languages of the ancient world. Our teaching and research covers a vast range of interdisciplinary topics, from the study of Greek love poetry to the Christianisation of Society in Late Antiquity, from Greek myth and wisdom to the presence of classical culture in contemporary literature and film…just a few of the fascinating areas we focus on. 
  • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Classical Literature and Civilisation open day talk

Philosophy 

Philosophy is the ideal discipline for people who find they are bothered by questions that their friends can cheerfully ignore, and for people who don’t want to settle for conventional answers and received wisdom, but want to arrive at answers that stand up to the most searching examination.

  • Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – our academic staff within the Department of Philosophy know students by name and are always happy to talk about philosophical questions, provide additional feedback on academic performance and discuss any problems you might be having with your degree programme
  • Taught by experts in the field - the Department of Philosophy has a growing international reputation as a centre of excellence for research in analytical philosophy, especially in metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of language and mind, and ethics and ethical history 
  • Intellectually challenging and stimulating environment – focused on ensuring you’re a fully supported and active learner
  • High-quality student support You’ll have your own personal tutor as well as the department’s welfare tutor and the university’s support services
  • Flexibility – you will have the opportunity to specialise more and more as you progress, culminating in a final-year dissertation that allows you to carry out in-depth individually supervised research into topics of your choice
  • Study abroad – in your third year there is the option to study at an overseas university
  • Extra-curricular activities – we have a highly active Philosophy Society which runs a programme of social events, visiting speakers and debates throughout the academic year
  • Employability – our unique degree programme is 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 
  • Centre for the Study of Global Ethics - the first of its kind in the UK where it addresses the practical and theoretical issues raised by globalisation
  • John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion – dedicated to promoting critical thinking about the metaphysical, epistemological and moral questions concerning religion, belief and reality. The Centre is named after John Hick, Emeritus H.G. Wood Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham and one of the most prominent philosophers of religion in our time

What is philosophy?

Dr Darragh Byrne gives the Philosophy talk at the Undergraduate Open Day September 2014

Joint honours open day talk

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

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

Required subjects and grades: 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.

Interactive classes are offered in modules which don't feature separate seminars. Here, lecturing time and discussion time are part of the same session and the structure of the classes can be very flexible.

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.

Each module is assessed independently by exams, essays or other forms of written assignment. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Most first-year modules are assessed by both an essay written during the year and an exam at the end of the year, with each given equal weight. The assessment for second- and third-year modules also varies. Many modules are assessed by two essays, while some are assessed by an essay and an exam. The Philosophical Project module is assessed by a single long essay of about 6,000 words.

Employability

Classical Literature and Civilisation

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.

Philosophy

As a student of Philosophy you will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are highly prized by employers. Our graduates understand complex information, write clearly and effectively, can build a case for a particular view, strategy or course of action, respect the views of others even if they disagree with them, and generally think for themselves. If you're taking the year abroad option, you'll develop real confidence and independence that's valued in the working world.

50% of job vacancies advertised for new and recent graduates don't specify a degree subject, so as a graduate of Philosophy you've a vast potential to enter a wide range of careers, including law, journalism and teaching, as well as commerce and industry. Some also decide to pursue postgraduate study.

University of Birmingham Philosophy graduates are very successful after graduation. Our Philosophy graduates have a high average starting salary of £18,000 per year. Recent graduates have started careers with employers including Government departments, local councils, charities and companies in many business sectors, in roles as diverse as Assistant Literary Agent, Management Consultant, Marketing Assistant and Programmes Officer.

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 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 arts graduates.

Our 'Creative careers' series is always popular with our students, and features events with employers and professionals from areas such as advertising, PR and communications, media, journalism, publishing, advertising and politics. We also hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities, and our internship officer develops links with local arts organisations to create some amazing opportunities for students.

Philosophy alumni profiles

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.