MA in Classical Studies

The Open University

Program Description

MA in Classical Studies

The Open University

MA in Classical Studies

This MA is designed to help you acquire and develop research skills that will enhance your knowledge of the ancient Graeco-Roman world and prepare you for independent study culminating in a dissertation. It investigates Classical Studies as a multidisciplinary field and brings you into direct contact with texts, artefacts and other surviving evidence from classical antiquity. This fragmentary evidence is examined from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives including options in classical archaeology, language and reception, and a subject module based around the body in classical antiquity.

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in classical studies will:

  • build upon and develop your existing knowledge of, and interest in, the subject of classical studies
  • provide you with an advanced academic training for the practice of classical studies at postgraduate level
  • provide you with experience of independent research and scholarly presentation in classical studies.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will have the opportunity to acquire all of the above skills which will be taught, learned and assessed concurrently in the course of studying the degree. You will be expected to show an increasingly independent and sophisticated approach as the skills and techniques of advanced study become more familiar, culminating in your dissertation, which will be a substantial and largely independent piece of work.

Teaching will be coordinated by your tutor, who will advise you, comment on and mark your assignments, generally provide feedback and help you to acquire the skills of advanced independent study. Communication will be via face-to-face sessions and (more frequently) written, telephone and, if appropriate, IT contact.

Learning will be via teaching blocks, which will concentrate on providing the tools for independent study, suggesting lines of investigation, methods of analysis and providing bibiographical assistance. Your acquisition of the appropriate skills, knowledge, etc. will regularly be tested in the assessments.

Assessment: you will regularly be required to submit work (tutor-marked assignments) in the form of essays and shorter analyses; for the foundation module you will write five assignments and in addition be required to take a three-hour exam at the end of the module; the subject module consists of four assignments and an ‘examinable component’ (a 3000-word mini-dissertation which will count for 50% of the final mark for that module). The final module will comprise your dissertation (16,000–18,000 words) which will be the culmination of the degree.

The assessment exercises are carefully designed to reflect the learning curve of the degree, taken as a whole.

Career impact

Studying an MA in Classical Studies at the OU is challenging but fun. You will learn about the many different aspects of Greek and Roman worlds - their literature, history, philosophy and material cultures - and the various ways one can approach them through a scholarly tradition that is both fast-moving and long-standing. As well as giving you the opportunity to explore an area of that world which particularly interests you, by means of developing your critical ability and independent thinking the MA in Classical Studies can help benefit your career and even be the first step towards a PhD. Above all, it will lead to a better understanding of where we come from and who we are today.


The Arts Faculty was rated by a Times Higher Education survey as one of the best 100 institutions in the world for the study of the arts. Noted for the strength of our interdisciplinary approaches, our scholars of international standing also teach and research a very wide range of topics and themes in specific subject areas. These include art history; classical studies; creative writing; English; history; music; philosophy; and religious studies. The Faculty also has validated partnerships with several important institutions in the UK and other parts of the world. The head of the Faculty is the Dean, Professor David Rowland.

Entry requirements

You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in Classical Studies course. Your degree need not be in the subject area, but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area and show some knowledge of classical studies. The part 1 module brings you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in classical studies but does not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree or inadequate experience. Before you start the MA you must be able to:

  • write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.
If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service for advice.

You must commence your studies towards the MA in Classical Studies with the part 1 module and your final module must be the part 2 module.

You must complete this qualification within ten years.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

You will also need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 7.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University
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This course is Online
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Start date
Aug. 2017
2 years
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Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom
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Duration 2 years
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