BA English and Classical Literature & Civilisation

This innovative degree is for those fascinated by ancient cultures, as well as the written and spoken word.

You will be given the opportunity to study the full range of literature or language in English, alongside the society and literature of the classical world.

At the University of Birmingham, you will embrace the diversity of Greek and Roman culture, drawing together literature, drama, myth, religion, history, philosophy and art. You can also choose either a Literature or Language pathway, which allows you to focus your studies on how literary culture has shaped society, or the linguistic, social and political issues surrounding language.

Our Joint Honours degree programme allows you to combine Classical Literature and Civilisation with one of two English pathways, either Literature or Language.

In your Classical Literature and Civilisation studies, you will have the opportunity to explore the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome, and also the cultures of Egypt and Ancient Western Asia, as well as the Byzantine Empire.  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.

If you take the Literature pathway, you will be given a strong foundation in all major periods and genres and will be able to specialise in areas ranging from medieval poetry to twenty-first century digital literary culture. You will also have the opportunity to take our specialist second-year Shakespeare modules and participate in our residential trip in Stratford-upon-Avon.

If you choose the Language pathway, you will gain a thorough appreciation of the technical aspects of the English language and its social and political context. We have a wide range of different specialisms to pursue which can prepare you for a wide range of different careers from speech therapy to journalism. 

Why study this course

  • Well-respected departments - The Classics Department was ranked in the Top Five Russell Group departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. We also have one of the largest concentrations of Literature and Language expertise in the UK, with over 85% of our academic research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
  • Vibrant and inspiring environment - You will benefit from plenty of extra-curricular opportunities, from working alongside members of staff on their research projects on our Undergraduate Research Scholarships to regular social events such as end-of-term parties and summer balls. You will also be able to enjoy regular guest lectures and readings from visiting writers. Recent guests have included novelist David Lodge, poet and writer Jackie Kay, poet Simon Armitage, playwright Simon Stephens, theatre director Greg Doran and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
  • International Travel - You will have the chance to travel to Greece or Italy and conduct your own research in places such as Pompeii, Crete or Delphi. Our unique two-week Study Tour allows you to visit sites, monuments and museums of your choosing.
  • Shakespeare Institute and RSC collaboration - we have a unique provision for the study of Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship. You will benefit from our exciting five-year collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) which will see the reinstatement of the iconic studio theatre, The Other Place. You will be able to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners.
  • Student Societies – we have a range of very active student societies including BEDSoc (Birmingham English Department Society), the English Language Society and BACAS (Birmingham Ancient History, Classics and Archaeology Society). Students have also 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.

Your first year of study is split equally between your two disciplines (60 credits in each subject). Following this, you have flexible options to alter your balance of study, meaning that you could take 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. 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.  You can also write a Link Dissertation combining your two subjects in your final year.

You can see more information about the different modules and options on the links below. Within the English side of your programme you can follow either a Literature or a Language pathway.

First year

Second year

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

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:
See 'Additional Information' below

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.

Additional information:

For the English Literature pathway, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A is required.

For the English Language pathway either English Language, English Literature and Literature or English Literature is desirable but not essential; if taken it will be required at grade A. We also consider other candidates who demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for the study of language. In this case, an A level in a modern language would be an advantage.

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

Please note: When making your selection on UCAS please specify ‘Literature pathway’ or ‘Language pathway’ in the ‘Further details’ box.

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.

Studying English and Classical Literature and Civilisation at Birmingham is an unparalleled opportunity to engage with a diverse cultural, textual and linguistic discipline, but also to develop skills in intellectual analysis, critical thinking and articulate expression.

You will acquire practical skills that you will find just as useful in your future career, including oral presentation, professional documentation, group work and the uses of information technology. These skills last a lifetime and qualify you for many possible careers.

University of Birmingham graduates are highly sought after, having been ranked 4th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015. Graduates in Classical Literature and Civilisation have excellent employment prospects with 85% of graduates entering work, or full-time study, within six months of graduation. The equivalent figure is 93% for English graduates.

Our graduates have started careers with employers including the BBC, Headline Publishing Group, Mirror Group Newspapers, The National Trust and Oxford University Press, as well as media companies, educational institutions, local councils, charities, museums, and cultural and heritage organisations. Many graduates also pursue postgraduate study to specialise in an academic area, or prepare for careers such as law and teaching.

Graduate roles are equally diverse, including account executive, editorial assistant, marketing coordinator, recruitment consultant, parliamentary caseworker and events coordinator.

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.