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Course content

The MA in Classics is our core research training degree, suitable for anyone wishing to pursue doctoral work in a branch of Classics. The programme places a strong emphasis on language training, on theoretically informed approaches to Classical texts, and on practical engagement with your chosen specialism. The course is composed of a core research training module, a module in a relevant language (ancient or modern), a 15,000 word dissertation, and two elective modules, which are offered in the areas of current research interests of members of staff.

Course Structure

For information on the structure of the course, please see our department web pages (https://www.dur.ac.uk/courses/info/?id=9532&title=Classics&code=Q8K307&type=MA&year=2016#coursecontent)
Core Modules:
-Classical Research Methods and Resources
-Compulsory language module (Latin for research/Ancient Greek for research/another ancient language/modern language)

In previous years, optional modules available included:
-Forms After Plato
-Latin Text Seminar
-Greek Text Seminar
-Latin Love Elegy
-Religious Life in The Roman Near East
-Monumental Architecture of The Roman East
-Vitruvius, On Architecture: The First Treatise On Architecture, Its Significance and Legacy
-Greek Sacred Regulations
-Ancient Philosophers On Necessity, Fate and Free Will
-The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought
-Comparative Approaches to Homeric Epic
-Greek Text Seminar On Homeric Epic
-Latin Text Seminar On Roman Epic
-Life and Death On Roman Sarcophagi
-Juvenal's Satires in Context
-Ancient Philosophers On Origins
-Animals in Graeco-roman Antiquity
-The Queen of The Desert: Rise and Decline of Palmyra's Civilization
-The Roman Republic: Debates and Approaches
-Rewriting empire: Eusebius of Caesarea and the First Christian History

Not all modules will be offered every year, and new modules (both elective and core) are added regularly. Students may also substitute modules offered in other departments, such as Theology, Philosophy, English, Archaeology, or History.

Learning and Teaching

The MA in Classics is principally conceived as a research training programme which aims to build on the skills in independent learning acquired in the course of the student’s first degree and enable them to undertake fully independent research at a higher level. Contact time with tutors for taught modules is typically a total of 5 hours per week (rising to 7 for someone beginning Latin or ancient Greek at this level), with an emphasis on small group teaching, and a structure that maximises the value of this time, and best encourages and focuses the student’s own independent study and preparation. On average, around 2 hours a week of other relevant academic contact (research seminars, dissertation supervision) is also available.

At the heart of the course is a module focused on the range of research methods and resources available to someone working in the field of Classics. This is run as a weekly class, with a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions. Four further elective modules deal with particular specialised subjects. Students must choose one module involving work with a relevant foreign language (ancient or modern). All those offered will form part of the current research activity of the tutor taking the module. Numbers for each module are typically very small (there are rarely more than five in a class). Typically, classes are two hours long and held fortnightly, and discussion is based on student presentations. (Modules for those beginning ancient Latin or Greek are typically more heavily subscribed, but their classes also meet more often: 3 hours per week.) All students write a 15,000-word dissertation, for which they receive an additional five hours of supervisory contact with an expert in their field of interest.

All staff teaching on the MA are available for consultation by students, and advertise office hours when their presence can be guaranteed. The MA Director acts as academic adviser to MA students, and is available as an additional point of contact, especially for matters concerning academic progress. MA students are strongly encouraged to attend the Department’s two research seminar series. Although not a formal (assessed) part of the MA, we aim to instil the message that engagement with these seminars across a range of subjects is part of the students’ development as researchers and ought to be viewed as essential to their programme. In addition, MA students are welcomed to attend and present at the ‘Junior Work-in-Progress’ seminar series organised by the PhD students in the Department. Finally, the student-run Classics Society regularly organises guest speakers – often very high-profile scholars from outside Durham.

Other admission details

*Note that this need not be 'Classics' (so named). If your plan is to specialise in ancient history, literature, or philosophy, for example, it might be perfectly natural to apply with a first degree in History, or English, or Philosophy; or you might just have taken a substantial range of Classical options along the course of your previous studies.

Visit the Classics (MA) page on the Durham University website for more details!





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