Our modules cover a range of art historical and archaeological approaches, such as chronological (e.g. ‘Art and power in the Age of Alexander’; regional (e.g. ‘Building Greece’); site-based (e.g. City of Rome); thematic (e.g. ‘The classical art of the body’); and museum-based (e.g. ‘Grand Tour: antiquities in London’). We also offer the opportunity to participate in a fully-funded trip associated with a classical archaeology module, courtesy of the Rumble Fund.
While you will focus on art and archaeological modules, you can also take modules in literary studies and philosophy, and you can learn Latin and/or Greek at a level appropriate to your prior knowledge, whatever that may be. Many historical modules are highly relevant, such as ‘Roman London’ and ‘Pompeii’, and there is even the opportunity to take a module from outside the department.
First-year students who flourish in Latin or Greek language may transfer to the Classics (Greek & Latin) BA in their second year of study via our 'Pathway B'. Such students will attend intensive summer school language modules between the first and second year, and between the second and third year of study.
Why study Classical Archaeology at King's?
The main reason is the variety of specialisms covered by the staff, from the more traditional foundations of Greek pottery and sculpture to the younger disciplines of Roman landscapes and mosaics. There is also a module (‘Grand Tour’) that contains several tours to local institutions in order to explore how classical material and visual culture has been collected and displayed in London. The chronological range covers the Bronze Age to the Byzantine periods, while the geographical journey will take you from the entire Mediterranean and Near Eastern regions through to Roman Britain. The fundamentals of archaeological and art historical skills and methods are introduced through these rich and vibrant cultures.
Staff are dedicated to exploiting the world-class opportunities that our position in the centre of London allows access to, including the British Museum, the Museum of London and Sir John Soane's Museum. For example, you will be able to take modules that offer the opportunity to handle Greek vases in the teaching room of the British Museum. If you are interested in maximizing the opportunities that our proximity to London's great cultural institutions allows, then this is the programme for you.
Teaching in the Department of Classics takes a wide variety of forms, including language-classes, large-group lectures, seminars, and individual supervisions. The particular mix will depend in part on your year of study and in part on the combination of modules you choose. A number of modules involve museum and gallery visits, field trips, and the use of study collections; a growing number have their own web resources and e-discussion groups. Seminar presentations and discussion are important in the first- and second-year modules. One-to-one supervision is a special feature of the third-year dissertation. This range of teaching will equip you with the transferable skills of analysis and presentation that employers value.
Structure of course and assessment
Our degree programmes combine focus and flexibility. In each programme you take a set number of modules directly related to the programme subject and then choose from a wide selection of optional modules. Each year students will normally take modules totalling 120 credits. A generous allowance of free choice means that you can explore much more widely all aspects of the cultures of Greece and Rome. The primary methods of assessment for this course are coursework, assessed essays, written examinations and individual and group presentations.
London is a superb place to study and experience the Greek and Roman worlds, and all the major resources are within easy reach (and often walking distance) from the centrally located Department of Classics at King's. The British Museum houses one of the world's premier collections of not only Greek and Roman but also Egyptian and Mesopotamian archaeology and art, and is supplemented in this by the Soane Museum, the Museum of London, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. We collaborate closely with the British Museum in our undergraduate teaching.
The major London galleries are full of classically-themed work, just as central London is full of Neoclassical, Greek revival and other classically-inspired buildings. Classical and classically-inspired drama can be experienced first-hand more richly and more frequently in London theatres than anywhere else in the world.
For libraries, normal student needs are served by King's Maughan Library and Information Services Centre, as well as the University of London (Senate House) Library; for the investigation of special topics, there are the world-class research collections of the Institute of Classical Studies and the Warburg Institute.
The King’s Greek Play has been an annual tradition since 1953 and it is the only production in the country to be performed every year in the original Greek. Students (with all levels of Greek) participate in the direction, production and performance of the play, bringing to the stage playwrights from Aeschylus to Aristophanes.
In 2013 the Department of Classics created the Rumble Fund following a generous donation by a former student. This fund is used each year to pay for a group of students to visit classical lands as part of their degree programme.
Students run the Classics Society, which publishes the Satyrica newsletter and organizes regular lectures, theatre outings, themed parties, private tours around museums, nights out and trips abroad – in recent years, group expeditions have been made to Italy and Turkey.
The department also promotes teaching Latin in disadvantaged primary schools through the Iris Project; this offers students a highly unusual experience that is both enriching and will impress future employers.
It is easier now than ever before to spend part of your time as a King's student studying abroad. Second year students have the opportunity to study abroad in the second semester of their second year or for the whole of their second year. Partner universities currently include:
- University of Auckland
- University of Melbourne
- University of Toronto (Full year only)
- University of California
- University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Up to five places exclusively available for Classics students)
- University of Sydney
Find out more about studying abroad
Our students also have opportunities to attend the annual summer schools at the British Schools in Athens and Rome, and participate in archaeological excavations in Greece and Italy, as well as further afield.