Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links


Classical civilisation (TSM)

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

+ Mature Student - Supplementary Application Form

+ Advanced Entry Applications

What is Classical Civilisation?

The study of Classical Civilisation is concerned with the literature, thought and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome. Through the examination and contextualisation of literary works and the analysis of the main aspects of ancient history and art, you will develop a thorough knowledge of the classical world and a critical approach to Greek and Roman literature. All texts are studied in translation and no knowledge of Greek or Latin is required, but there are opportunities to study the languages at an introductory level.

Is this the right course for you?

If you enjoy literature; if you want to acquire an understanding of the past and its influence; if you would like to engage with the mythology, poetic imagination, depth of thought and historical value of two civilisations that shaped the western world, this may be the course for you.

Why study Classical Civilisation at Trinity?

The Department of Classics has a world-renowned reputation and courses are taught by academics at the top of their fields. Classical Civilisation offers you the opportunity to learn about the ancient world in a fun and friendly environment and learn not only about the past but also about its significance to the present. There are opportunities to participate in study tours and summer schools to classical sites for non-credit. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures and small-group seminars, which encourage lively discussion and the development of independent thinking. It is also possible to study abroad for a semester or a whole year.

What will you study?

Over the four years you will develop a broad understanding of the classical world, primarily through its literature. You will move from introductory modules in history and art in the first year to the study of specific authors, genres and themes in the second and third years. In your final year you will choose from a range of specialised options. All modules are taught by lectures and small-group seminars. A combination of end-of-year examination and continuous assessment (e.g. essays, seminar presentations and team projects, artefact studies and short commentaries on texts) is used to assess your progress, and a thesis is written in the final year.


In first year you will be introduced to the critical study of ancient history, art and architecture, myth and religion, with a view to acquiring a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on classical culture. There are approximately six hours of classes in first year. There is the option of taking an introductory module in either Greek or Latin.

  • Greek and Roman history - an introductory survey of the Greek and Roman world from the Greek Archaic age to the early Roman Empire. The course covers topics such as politics and power, Athenian democracy, the conquests of Alexander, the emergence of Rome as a major imperial power, colonisation, war and conflict.
  • Greek and Roman art and architecture - an introduction to the development and major artistic achievements in architecture, sculpture and painting. The course places art and architecture in its social and political context; it focuses on themes such as the use of narrative and mythology in art, urbanisation, and the development of architectural forms such as temples, theatres and Roman baths.
  • Mythology and religion  - an introduction to the major myths and religions of the classical world using both literary and artistic evidence. The course also explores theories of myth and the functions of myth within society, and includes seminars designed to develop analytical and critical skills relevant to the study of literature.


In each of these two years you will take four or five modules which focus on specific authors (e.g. Homer, Virgil, Herodotus), genres (e.g. tragedy, comedy, philosophy) or themes (e.g. gender and sexuality, identity and self-image). In these modules you will analyse ancient texts both as literature and as gateways into culture and thought, discuss key themes of relevance to both the ancient and modern world, and refine your analysis of texts in their literary and cultural context through more specialised skills and methodologies. It is possible to take options which will provide an introduction to Greek or Latin. All the modules are taught through lectures and small-group seminars.

You will learn, for example, how the Greeks and Romans saw themselves and other cultures; how they tried to make sense of the world around them through philosophy and religion; how they thought about politics and ideology, ethnicity and identity, life and death.


If you decide to study Classical Civilisation, in the final year, you will be able to choose two special subjects from a range on offer. Modules offered recently include; Ancient Cyprus; Egypt; Entertainment and Spectacle in the Greek and Roman Worlds; Goddesses of the Ancient Mediterranean; Anthropology and the Greeks; Kings and Cities; Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion.

You will also write a thesis on a subject of your choice. This is an opportunity to do research which will allow you to develop independent ideas and acquire critical skills while investigating in greater depth an area that particularly interests you.

Study abroad

Trinity has strong links with many Classics departments abroad, including active participation in the Erasmus exchange programme. The Department has valuable Erasmus links with the Universities of Cyprus, Edinburgh, Geneva, Bordeaux, Freiburg, and Koç (Turkey). Students are also able to avail of University-wide exchanges, for example, to North America and Australia. These opportunities allow students the option of spending a year or part of a year abroad.


Business, librarianship, museum work, publishing, teaching and theatre are some of the many fields recent graduates have entered. Recent graduates are working for companies as diverse as Smurfit Communications, Blackwell Publishing and the Gare St. Lazare Players. Students who opted to undertake further study have selected courses ranging from law and marketing to teacher training and international peace studies.

Further information | Email: | Tel: +353 1 896 1208 |

Graduate profile

Kate Higgs

Solicitor and European Trade Mark Attorney at Whitney Moore Solicitors

It can take students coming out of the Leaving Certificate system a year or two to fully comprehend the idea of independent thought and research. But by the final year of Trinity’s TSM Classical Civilisation programme, you are equipped with the necessary skill-set to tackle serious research questions in your dissertation work and in fourth year modules. Here you confront issues at the forefront of research in each lecturer’s area of expertise, exploring ancient culture in new ways and revealing how ancient concepts and perspectives still contribute to the way we approach the world today.