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The University of Southampton
Ancient World Studies

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Ancient History at Southampton

Single and combined honours programmes


Our most popular programme is the single honours Ancient History. This consists of a foundation year, which introduces you to approaches and topics which you may not have studied before, followed by two years of more advanced study in which you are essentially free to build your own curriculum.

Single honours history students may also take up to 25 per cent of their course modules in other disciplines. Alternatively, you may follow one of our combined honours programmes, enabling you to complement the study of Ancient History with another discipline. Combined honours programmes are divided 50:50 between each discipline.

Course structure

Ancient History's undergraduate programme is modular. This means that your programme is divided into self-contained modules taught and assessed in a single semester. Taught modules may be single (two hours teaching a week), or double (three to four hours teaching a week, depending on the type of module). Our option modules cover a wide range of periods, places, themes and events, and are constantly updated and added to.

Your first year

Compulsory modules In the first year, all history students, single and combined, take the Ancient History double module in semester one, Introduction to the Ancient World.
 If you are a single honours Ancient History student, you will also take two single modules in semester two: Ancient History: sources and controversies; and Wonderful things: world history in 40 objects.

Option modules The option modules are single modules and reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. Generally these are detailed studies of a specific episode or theme in the past, making use of primary source material and historical controversies. I currently running please refer to the programme listings on the Humanities website.

First-year assessment is by a mixture of examinations and written assignments; it does not contribute to your final degree classification, but it does determine whether you can proceed to degree work in years two and three.

Your second year

In your second year, you have the opportunity to study a wide range of options, from the ancient world to the present.

Single honours students take two History Option modules (double modules) in semester one and one History Option module (double module) in semester two (of which at least one must be pre-modern). All combined honours students take one History Option module (double module) in each semester. You may also take two modules from another discipline in place of one History Option module (double module).

For a full list of option courses currently running, please refer to the programme listings on the Humanities website.

The Group Project (single honours only) (two modules). 
If you are a single honours student you will sign up to a designated Ancient History project and form part of a group of about seven students. You will be assessed on your own written work for the project, collective assessments, and a group presentation of a public outcome (exhibitions, websites, conferences, short publications etc.) at the end of semester two.

Your final year

If you are a single honours student, the final year curriculum consists of three parts:


  1. the Special Subject (two double modules); 
these are taught entirely in small, intensive seminar groups, focusing in detail on primary source material on a topic closely related to the research expertise of individual members of staff. The Special Subject is taught in two parts over two semesters.
  2. Option modules totalling 30 credits; this may be a double module or two single modules. There is a wide range of options available drawn from the various contributing subject areas.
  3. an Ancient History dissertation (compulsory double module); you will write a 10,000 word dissertation based on your own original research. You may choose to work on a topic closely related to your Special Subject, but need not necessarily do so. You will receive guidance from a specialist tutor on research and writing your dissertation.
For full information on these courses, please refer to the programme listings on the Humanities website.


Combined honours students If you are a combined honours student, you will take a Special Subject course (part one) in semester one, and either part two of the same Special Subject course or an Ancient History dissertation in semester two (which may be linked to, or independent from, the Special Subject). The other 50% of your degree will be in your combining dissertation, including a dissertation if you chose not to do the Ancient History dissertation.

Key facts

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