Ancient History

Explore enduring problems that span all of Western culture from Greek and Roman antiquity to the present, ranging from the birth of democracy at Athens to the ongoing relevance of Greek myth in contemporary culture.

Study abroad

In the second year you have the chance to spend an unforgettable semester studying in Canada, Australia or the US.

Passionate community

The Classics and Ancient History Society brings together like-minded students with a packed calendar of social and academic events, including an annual play.

Esteemed department

Bristol is ranked 7th in the UK for the study of Classics and Ancient History (QS World University Rankings by subject 2021).

Ancient History courses for 2022

Single Honours

Ancient History at Bristol

As a student of ancient history you will investigate and analyse a variety of different source materials and evidence, from written texts to archaeological finds, to answer complex questions about the politics, culture and society of the ancient world.

Our internationally renowned department uses innovative approaches to teaching ancient history. We cover many specialist areas of Graeco-Roman history and civilisation across a broad chronological range, from the archaeology of bronze-age Greece to the religions of the later Roman Empire.

You'll study in our recently renovated Humanities Hub, home to new lecture theatres, flexible teaching spaces, a screening room, an exhibition area and a range of social spaces.

You might also be interested in Classics or Classical Studies.

The University has some of the best research teams in the country; it's an honour to study in such a renowned academic institution. Bristol's greatest asset is its diversity – of both students and opportunities.

Panayiotis, BA Ancient History

Career prospects

The interdisciplinary study of ancient history will help you to develop critical thinking and clear self-expression, skills that are transferable to a wide range of careers.

Our graduates are highly employable and have found positions in research, administration, media, museums, art galleries, heritage management, the civil service, law, accountancy, computing and teaching.

Many graduates go on to postgraduate study in ancient history or other humanities subjects.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

The course is designed to provide you with a broad knowledge of the politics and societies of the ancient world, focusing on Greece and Rome but also considering other cultures. It will equip you with the skills necessary to locate, decipher and evaluate a range of historical sources and to develop a sophisticated understanding of historical theory.

The course gives you the flexibility to combine core units on Graeco-Roman culture with more specialised topics.

You will take four core units and two optional units for each of your first two years, allowing you to pursue your own interests. One of the optional units may be taken elsewhere in the University in a subject you’re interested in.

There is the possibility of studying abroad for one semester in the second year. For more information visit Global Opportunities.

In the third year, seminar units let you explore special topics related to staff research interests, engaging in detail with cutting-edge work on the ancient world. You will undertake a large-scale research project on a topic of your choice, working with an academic supervisor to refine it into a dissertation. You will also be supported to plan, market and execute a project aimed at presenting the ancient world to the wider public.

Interdisciplinary community

The department's research is brought together by the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition. It hosts distinguished scholars to give seminars and lectures, holds symposia and conferences, and cultivates international links with other scholars and organisations.

The institute embraces research from many fields, including history of all kinds, archaeology, literary studies, art history and philosophy, and has a particular focus on research that explores the links between ancient and modern.

Professor Mary Beard, who was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2012, is a vice-president of the institute.

Ancient History

Ancient History courses for 2022

Single Honours

Our internationally renowned department teaches many specialist areas of Graeco-Roman history and civilisation across a broad chronological range – from the archaeology of bronze-age Greece to the religions of the later Roman Empire.

Why study Ancient History at Bristol?

Our course is designed to provide you with a broad knowledge of the politics, economy and societies of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It will equip you with the skills necessary to locate, decipher and evaluate a range of historical sources and to develop a sophisticated understanding of historical theory.

Teaching methods include lectures, small-group seminars, personal consultations and a guided research project. These will allow you to develop valuable skills in formal and informal writing, discussion and oral presentation. The interdisciplinary study of ancient history will help you to develop critical thinking and clear self-expression, skills that are transferable to a wide range of careers.

What kind of student would this course suit?

This course will suit anyone fascinated by ancient Greece and Rome who recognises the continuing influence of ancient history on the modern world. It will appeal to you if you enjoy investigating and analysing different source materials and evidence from antiquity, from written texts to archaeological finds, and the challenge of weighing different arguments about the reconstruction of ancient societies.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our innovative approaches to teaching have earned praise from external examiners and leading UK experts in the subject.

Teaching methods include lectures, large- and small-group seminars and personal consultations. Assessment is primarily by coursework portfolios, essays and exams. In your third year you will undertake a large-scale research project on a topic of your choice, working with an academic supervisor to refine it into a dissertation. You will also plan, market and execute a project aimed at presenting the ancient world to the wider public under the guidance of a member of staff.

What are my career prospects?

Our graduates are highly employable and have found positions in research, administration, media, museums, art galleries, heritage management, the civil service, law, accountancy, computing and teaching.

A significant number go on to postgraduate study in ancient history or other humanities subjects.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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