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Ancient and medieval history and culture

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

What is Ancient and Medieval History and Culture?

Ancient and Medieval History and Culture concentrates on the period c. 2000 B.C. to c. 1500 A.D. It explores the changes in society, politics, religious practices, and art and architecture that have helped to shape the world we live in. Over the four years of the programme you will explore topics including the development of different systems of government (from democracy in ancient Greece to monarchy and empire in the Middle Ages), the formation of Europe, ancient and medieval belief systems and religious practices (from the pantheon of ancient deities to the dominance of Christianity), the development of the legal system, and the role of warfare in bringing about change. You will have the opportunity to explore developments in educational practices including the emergence of the university, changing attitudes to gender, sexuality and the place of women in society, and the different styles of European art and architecture used in the period.

Is this the right course for you?

If you are curious about the past and about how history has shaped the world we live in then Ancient and Medieval History and Culture will appeal to you. Through the investigation of texts, artefacts and buildings this programme provides an intellectually stimulating encounter with the past, and challenges you to think about a range of cultural, social and political issues.

Why study Ancient and Medieval History and Culture at Trinity?

The programme in Ancient and Medieval History and Culture is unique in offering a focused study of antiquity and the middle ages. As part of the School of Histories and Humanities, you will be able to work with experts in the fields of classics, history and art history, joining a vibrant community of staff and students in this interdisciplinary programme. As you progress through the course you will be able to choose to focus on particular time periods or themes, culminating in the opportunity to undertake in-depth research for your undergraduate dissertation. You will have access to rich collections of source material, including the University collections, visits to museums and galleries in Dublin, and opportunities to venture further afield through field trips to other European destinations.

What will you study?

Ancient and Medieval History and Culture is a four-year honours degree programme. Over the four years you will develop a broad understanding of the ancient and medieval worlds through an analysis of their art, architecture, archaeology, culture and history. These disciplines will be introduced to you in the first year of the programme. The teaching includes lectures, seminars (typically with 10-15 students) and site visits. As your studies progress, the modules become more thematically specialised, with an increasing emphasis on intensive discussion and independent research. In third and fourth years you have the option to choose from a wide range of modules, providing an opportunity for specialised research in areas that particularly interest you.

Our teaching and learning is dynamic, with a strong emphasis on student participation. The programme is assessed through a combination of end-of-year examinations and continuous assessment (including essays, seminar presentations, group-work projects, and commentaries on sources). A dissertation is written in the final year.


Introductory modules in Ancient History or Latin, Art History, and Medieval History. These modules introduce you to key developments in the history and culture of antiquity and the middle ages c. 2000 B.C.-1500 A.D.

  • Ancient history introduces key aspects of Greek and Roman art, archaeology, architecture, history and mythology. Topics covered include the Athenian invention of democracy; Rome’s emergence as an imperial power; war, conflict and colonisation; and the social context of art and architecture, including the legacy of Greek and Roman artistic expression.
  • Art history surveys key developments in painting, sculpture and architecture. You will be introduced to topics ranging from the mosaics in the Italian city of Ravenna to the great cathedral of Chartres in France – together with medieval masterpieces closer to home such as The Book of Kells in Trinity itself.
  • Medieval history surveys Europe between 1000 and 1250, covering the key political, social and cultural developments of the period, including the Crusades. It also introduces Early Christian Ireland and religion and society in the later medieval period.


In the second year all students take compulsory modules in Medieval History, Greek History or Roman Imperial History, and Medieval Art. The remaining modules are chosen from a range offered by the three disciplines, for example Irish, British or European Medieval History, Latin, Architectural History, the Art of the Italian Renaissance, and the Archaeology of the Greek and Roman Worlds.


In the third year the only compulsory module explores the city of Rome in antiquity and the middle ages. You may choose other modules exploring aspects of ancient history, medieval history, art history and archaeology.

In the final year you will choose two modules and write a dissertation. Amongst the modules which may be available to study are: The Art of Sanctity; Spectacle and Entertainment in the Greek and Roman Worlds; Jewish Society and Politics, 200 B.C.-70 A.D.; Kings and Cities in the Hellenistic World; Anthropology and the Greeks; Ancient Cyprus; The Vikings c. 790-1100 A.D.; The Archaeology of Warfare c. 1000-1350 A.D.; Ireland and the Plantagenet Empire, 1327-1399 A.D.; From Kingdom to Colony, Ireland in the Twelfth Century.

Fourth year students also write a research dissertation on a topic of their choice.

If you would like to find out more about the modules offered, please visit:

Study abroad

In the second and third years of the programme students may take part in the annual field trip. These trips allow students to undertake detailed first-hand analysis of sites and objects. Past destinations have included Canterbury, Cologne, Durham, and Florence.

Students studying Ancient and Medieval History and Culture may apply to spend a year abroad, using the exchange networks of the School of Histories and Humanities. These include Erasmus programme links with universities in Berlin, Bologna, Bordeaux, Edinburgh, Florence, Geneva, Istanbul, Madrid, Manchester, Paris, Pisa, St Andrews and Vienna. In addition, the programme facilitates exchanges with non-European institutions in Australia, Canada, China, Singapore and the USA.

Further information on the year abroad programme, and a full list of partner universities, can be found at:


The interdisciplinary nature of the course opens up an exciting variety of fields after leaving university. Specific related fields include archaeology, art conservation, heritage and museum work and teaching. Graduates from the School of Histories and Humanities have also entered accountancy, advertising, business, civil service, diplomatic corps, human resources, journalism, management, and publishing. Others have progressed to postgraduate study at universities across Ireland, Europe and North America.

Further information


Tel: +353 1 896 2625