Major in Ancient History

About the major and the minor

For detailed information on pathways through the major, and for information on the Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Advanced Studies, see the Department's undergraduate guide.

A major in Ancient History invites you to discover the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome, using their myths, images, inscriptions, artefacts, written history and literature as evidence. You can study topics as diverse as political systems, religion, law, mythology and the world of late antiquity. We offer opportunities to read (in translation) ancient epic, drama and love poetry against their social and historical setting and to trace how narratives have been interpreted and reinvented by later ages, including Hollywood.
The major progresses from 1000 level foundation units in your first year to 2000 level units treating specific topics in depth, then 3000 level units offering training in disciplinary method or an opportunity to focus on a key period or theme. Our aim is that on attaining your major you will be able to frame and answer historical questions and be a free-thinking, independent historian of the Classical past.

The minor in Ancient History is also a valuable and important way of studying with us. It also progresses from 1000 level foundation units in your first year to 2000 and 3000 level units in your second and third years. Our aim is that on attaining your minor you will be able to engage with the Classical past in informed and independent ways.
The world is full of monuments and memories of Classical Greece and Rome. A major or minor in Ancient History equips you to meet them in their ancient and modern setting and to understand their historical and cultural importance both then and now.

Requirements for the major

  • A major in Ancient History requires 48 credit points from the Ancient History unit of study table, made up of 12 credit points at 1000 level, 12 credit points at 2000 level, and 24 credit points at 3000 level which includes the compulsory interdisciplinary project unit FASS3999.
  • A minor in Ancient History requires 36 credit points from the Ancient History unit of study table, made up of 12 credit points at 1000 level, 12 credit points at 2000 level, and 12 credit points at 3000 level.

The Ancient History unit of study table is in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences undergraduate handbook. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You will find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

First year units (1000 level)

You complete 12 credit points of 1000 level units in Ancient History to gain an understanding of three different approaches, historiographic, archaeological and literary, to the cultures and histories of ancient Greece and Rome.

Other pathways to an Ancient History major are possible. Because of its close disciplinary affinity, we welcome students into the major and minor who have completed 12 credit points of selected 1000 level units in History as well as those who have combined one 1000 level unit in Ancient History with selected 1000 level units from a selection of History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Latin or Ancient Greek units.

Second year units (2000 level)

2000 level units of study introduce a series of topics which are more closely focused in area and usually entail a particular disciplinary approach. In any year, you can choose to specialise in a field (ancient Greece or Rome), a discipline (e.g. history or literary criticism) or a chronological period. Some units invite thematic comparison between cultures and periods, others require you to consider the impact of the ancient world on subsequent historical situations. All 2000 level Ancient History units require you to consider issues in their historical context and how that context might have changed over time. Some units are highly appropriate for those intending to teach Ancient History to HSC level.

At 2000 level, students can follow chronological pathways which provide the grand narrative of Classical History; they can pursue an interest in ancient literature through genre models; or they can study the interplay between the past and the present through units which look at the reception of the classical world.

The department offers up to four 2000 level units each year. Units are repeated on a two or three year cycle. You also have an opportunity to study a number of 2000 level units taught by other departments. These are listed in the Ancient History unit of study table as well.

Third year units (3000 level)

3000 level units of study entail a close study of either the idea and discipline of history or a seminal period or theme in Ancient History. They will require you to think independently about a set topic and to explore the problems and issues it raises.