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BA Social Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation

Start date
3 Years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25:
£9,250 (UK)
£22,860 (International)
More detail.

Our undergraduate BA Social Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation degree at the University of Birmingham will enable you to understand and analyse ancient and contemporary worlds. You'll explore the societies of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt through a wide range of perspectives and literary genres.

Social 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.

Social Anthropology's cross-cultural comparison and in-depth study of particular societies and communities will broaden your views on topics such as migration, marginality, religious coexistence and gender and sexuality. Our programme will equip you with a grounding in social and cultural theory and provide opportunities for you to put your knowledge into practice through your own research projects.

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

Over the last three years I have studied a variety of topics including human remains, ritual activities and examined a medieval hunting lodge. Studying at the University of Birmingham has enabled me to challenge my understanding of social behaviours and explore ideologies and belief systems of differing cultures across millennia. I have developed a variety of transferable skills which means I'm well equipped to join the graduate job market.


Why study this course?

BA Social Anthropology and Classical Literature and Civilisation is for you if you want to...

  • Be taught by the very best – You will study alongside some of the finest minds at university. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of African Studies and Anthropology 2nd in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise (based on Grade Point Average). Our Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology was ranked in the Top 10.
  • Access exceptional learning resources – You will have access to a range of learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections at the University of Birmingham; the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Museum; the Eton Myers Collection and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.
  • Immerse yourself in an ancient language – Take advantage of learning another languages and dive deeper into literatures that will shape your knowledge of the Classics. 
  • Gain marketable skills that are highly sought-after by employers - Through bespoke internships offered exclusively to University of Birmingham students. Past placements have included the National Trust, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and West Midlands Transport. 
  • Experience the richness of a vibrant student community - Enjoy access to a student experience team who co-ordinate performances, talks, trips, podcasts, quizzes and celebrations. In recent years, for example, our first years have enjoyed a Sudanese food evening and second and third years have gone on trips to the Liverpool Slavery Museum, the V&A in London, and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. 


Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2025. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Joint Honours flexibility

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year of a Joint Honours programme, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of the disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the second and final years of our programmes. In the second year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/ minor combination. You can either go back to 60-60 in the final year, maintain the same 80-40 split or reverse the major and the minor and go to a 40-80 weighting.

First year

Social Anthropology compulsory modules 

  • Thinking Anthropologically (20 credits)
  • Studying Societies: Social Anthropology (10 credits)
  • Around the World with Anthropology (10 credits)

Descriptions of first year Social Anthropology modules

Optional modules

  • You will choose 20 credits from either Writing Worlds: Ethnography as Craft (20 credits) or Urban Encounters: Anthropology in Birmingham (20 credits)

Classical Literature and Civilisation compulsory modules

  • LC Rethinking the Ancient World A: Mythology and Identity (10 credits)
  • LC Rethinking the Ancient World B: Other Voices (10 credits)
  • Greek World (20 credits)
  • The Roman World (20 credits)

Descriptions of first year Classical Literature and Civilisation modules

Second year

Social Anthropology

  • 80 credits - Theory and Ethnography; Research in Practice; 2 optional modules including, if you wish, a Professional or Future Skills module
  • 60 credits - Theory and Ethnography; Research in Practice; 1 optional module which may be a Professional or Future Skills module
  • 40 credits - Theory and Ethnography; Research in Practice

Descriptions of second year Social Anthropology modules

Classical Literature and Civilisation

  • 80 credits - Classical Epic; optional modules, including Ancient Language modules and, if you wish, a Professional or Future Skills module
  • 60 credits - Classical Epic; optional modules, including Ancient Language modules and, if you wish, a Professional or Future Skills module
  • 40 credits - Classical Epic; optional module

Descriptions of second year Classical Literature and Civilisation modules

Year Abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year, you will be eligible to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year.

More about a Year Abroad

Final year

Students must take one 40-credit Dissertation during their final year, either in Social Anthropology or in Classical Literature and Civilisation.

You will undertake either:

Social Anthropology

  • Social Anthropology Dissertation (40 credits) Social Anthropology optional modules (40 credits) and Classical Literature and Civilisation optional modules (40 credits) for an 80-40 split.
  • Social Anthropology Dissertation (40 credits) Social Anthropology optional modules (20 credits) and Classical Literature and Civilisation optional modules (60 credits) for a 60-60 split.

Descriptions of final year Social Anthropology modules 


Classical Literature and Civilisation

  • Classical Literature and Civilisation Dissertation (40 credits) Classical Literature and Civilisation optional modules (20 credits) and Social Anthropology optional modules (60 credits) for a 60-60 split.
  • Classical Literature and Civilisation Dissertation (40 credits) Classical Literature and Civilisation optional modules (40 credits) and Social Anthropology optional modules (40 credits) for an 80-40 split.

Descriptions of final year Classical Literature and Civilisation modules


For UK students beginning their studies in September 2024, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2024/25 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £22,860

Eligibility for fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus B at A-level.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level.

T Levels:
Distinction overall with B in the Core Component; all subjects considered.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.


You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to 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.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Contact hours

All Birmingham degrees are set within a credit framework designed to measure your academic achievements. We expect all students to accumulate 120 credits in each full year of study which is equivalent to 40 hours of learning a week. Learning is considered to include contact learning (lectures and seminars), private study, revision and assessment.

For this programme, those 40 hours are estimated to be broken down and split into lectures, seminars and other guided teaching opportunities and then independent study. This is a general rule across the entire academic year and may change week by week.

Year 1: 15% Lectures, seminars or similar and 85% Independent study
Year 2: 11% Lectures, seminars or similar and 89% Independent study
Year 3: 10% Lectures, seminars or similar and 90% Independent study

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, book reviews or projects
  • Group and individual presentations

There are no formal exams in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology; Joint Honours students may have timed or take-home examinations in their other department.

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within thee weeks, so you can learn from each assignment.

As a Social 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:

  • Teaching
  • Business Adviser
  • Retail management
  • Graduate Research Executive
  • Welfare rights worker
  • Event Manager
  • Production Runner
  • Parliamentary researcher
  • Postgraduate study 


Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisors and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internship, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick-start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.