BA Classical Literature & Civilisation and Philosophy

Love reading and thinking for yourself? Then this innovative degree is for you.

You will embrace the diversity of Greek and Roman culture as well as acquiring philosophical skills to engage critically with some of the deepest and most difficult questions human beings have ever been asked.  

At the University of Birmingham, you will have access to world-class Philosophy talent in fields as diverse as Metaphysics, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Epistemology, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Mind. Meanwhile, the Classical side of your course you will work with the plays, poems, and speeches that have come down to us from antiquity, and study the monument, religion and mythology that make up classical civilisation. You will enjoy a rich and engaging academic experience as students on this programme rate it extremely highly. 86% reported that they are satisfied with the quality of the course in the latest National Student Survey.  

You will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you’re a fully supported and active learner.

Our degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that highly sought after by employers in today’s intellectual, professional and creative industries.

With this combined degree, you will have the opportunity to tailor your programme by choosing modules from both disciplines. Philosophy modules include:

  • History of Philosophy
  • Moral and Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Ethics of Killing
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • The Mind-Body Problem

Classical Literature and Civilisation modules include:

  • Athenian Drama
  • Age of Cicero
  • Roman women
  • Greek and Roman Epic
  • Love in Greek Literature
  • Greek Mythology

You will learn in a variety of different contexts, such as lectures, seminars, interactive workshops, independent research and field trips. You will be supported by outstanding library resources, and have access to departmental facilities including a small study library and the Classics museum. 

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.
  • Excellent employability – 90% of our Philosophy graduates enter work, or full time study, within six months of graduation.
  • Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – staff will know students by name and are always happy to provide additional feedback on academic performance.
  • Flexibility – the variety of modules on offer will allow you to specialise more as you progress so that you can study areas of the discipline which interest you the most. Almost all of our assessments are now based on coursework.
  • Be part of an exciting department – The Department 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.

Open day talks

Three full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:


The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

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

Classical Literature and Civilisation: 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.

Read more about first year Classical Literature and Civilisation modules

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. 

Read more about first year Philosophy modules

Second Year

Classical Literature and Civilisation: 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.

Read more about second year Classical Literature and Civilisation modules

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.

Read more about second year Philosophy modules

Year Abroad 

Students who have achieved grades of 2.1 or above in their first year will have the opportunity to take a year abroad between their second and final year at one of a wide range of carefully selected partner institutions from around the world. In addition to the tutor support given from the host University, students who choose to take a Year Abroad will be allocated a member of staff from the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology who will monitor their progress while overseas through email and Skype contact.

Final Year

Classical Literature and Civilisation: 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.

Read more about third year Classical Literature and Civilisation modules

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. 

Read more about third year Philosophy modules

Fees and funding

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

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:

International baccalaureate update

Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma 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

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.

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


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.

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.

Our unique degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development – a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today’s competitive graduate market.

By studying Classical Literature and Civilisation and Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, you will acquire skills highly sought after by employers within the graduate job market:

  • Understanding complex information
  • Writing clearly and effectively
  • Building a case to critically assess a particular point of view
  • Independent thought
  • Ability to communicate to a variety of different audiences
  • Strong research methods

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 4th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015. Our graduates have excellence employment prospects with 90% of Philosophy graduates and 85% of Classics graduates entering work of further study, within six months of graduation.

Classical Literature and Civilisation and Philosophy graduates go on to pursue highly successful careers in professions such as:

  • Law
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Local Government
  • Museums and charities
  • Culture and heritage organisations

Therefore studying this degree at the University of Birmingham opens the doors to a wide range of careers. Some graduates will go onto undertake further study and research in pursuit of higher degrees. 

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.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers 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.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.