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Course content

If you are curious about how modern life has been shaped by ancient Greece and Rome and are looking to advance your skills in literary, historical and archaeological analysis, then this course, taught in the Department of Classics by world-renowned experts, is for you.

The history and culture of the Classical world, its art, literature politics and culture has been passed down to us through generations of thinkers and its legacy has shaped modern thought and the way we live today. This Masters programme leads you to explore that legacy and to develop skills in research and methodology in this fascinating and growing field of intellectual history.

Intended either as a further year's study after a first degree or as training in the technical disciplines needed to undertake doctoral research, the course is structured so as to provide you with advanced training in research skills. Not only will you acquire a detailed understanding of the role the Classical world has played in shaping the modern era but you will develop skills that are much sort after outside of academia, specifically:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise content
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability
  • the ability to innovate and think creatively

Our Classics department has an excellent track record in producing publications that advance the understanding of the ancient world. A thriving and internationally recognised centre of excellence in research and teaching, the department is home to two College Research Centres - Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome (CRGR) and the Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric (COR). The Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome hosts a varied and world-leading body of research and research events in Classical Reception.

Research in the department covers the whole range of Classical Studies, from Homeric Greece to the very end of the Roman Empire with particular interests in language, literature, history, ancient philosophy as well as Greek and Roman archaeology. Of particular note, in relation to this course, is our departmental expertise in literary-theoretical, philosophical and political receptions of the Classical world. 

A global leader in Masters provision, Royal Holloway gives you the opportunity to take part in one of the most extensive programmes of research seminars and training programmes offered by any institution. During your time with us you will be under the careful supervision of our academic staff with access to not only the Royal Holloway library but also the word-class resources of: the Institute of Classical Studies, the Warburg Institute, the British Library, Senate House Library, and other specialised libraries in the School of Advanced Study. 

Course structures

  • Making the Classical Past - Myth, Politics, Philosophy and Poetics
  • Dissertation

Teaching & assessment

Assessment is carried out through coursework and a dissertation.

Part-time students normally take taught elements in their first year and the dissertation in their second year with preparatory work in year one.

Your future career

Graduates of classical degrees have much to offer potential employers having developed a range of transferable skills, both practical and theoretical, whilst studying with us. With up to 90% of our most recent graduates now working or in further study, according to the Complete University Guide 2015, it’s true to say our graduates are highly employable.

In recent years, PhD graduates, many of whom have progressed from our MA programmes, have taken up academic positions at Oxford, Bristol and Roehampton Universities. Outside of academia, our graduates have embarked on teaching careers in the UK and overseas, undertaken archaeological and museum work and pursued careers in journalism, finance, politics and the arts.


Visit the Classical Reception (by Research) - MRes page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

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