Classical Civilisation (JH)

B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
4 Years Full-Time
31 Places
CAO Points 448-555 (2022)


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.

Do you enjoy:

  • The study of literature and drama?
  • Learning about the ideas and customs of other cultures?
  • Exploring similarities and differences between the classical past and the present?

Classical Civilisation: The 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.

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 both credit and 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.


The pathways available are Single Honours, Major with Minor and Joint Honours. It is also possible to take this subject up as a New Minor Subject from second year, please see page 28 for further information.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

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.

Your degree and what you’ll 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 literature 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 range of different assessment types (e.g., end-of-semester examinations, 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.

First year

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

  • Greek and Roman History
  • Reading and Writing About Ancient Literature
  • Greek and Roman Mythology and Religion

Second and third years

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. All the modules are taught through lectures and small-group seminars. You will explore, 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. You will also have the opportunity to engage in an independent creative project (e.g. performance, literary translation, reception of classical literature).

Fourth year

If you decide to study Classical Civilisation in the final year, you will be able to choose from a range of special subject options on offer. Modules offered recently include; Ancient Cyprus; Entertainment and Spectacle in the Greek and Roman Worlds; Goddesses of the Ancient Mediterranean; Anthropology and the Greeks; Kings and Cities; Constantine; How to be Happy; the Ancient Novel; Roman Satire; The Art of Persuasion; Early Christianity.

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.

There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see for details.

Click here for further information on modules/subject.

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, Udine (Italy), Geneva, Bordeaux 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.

Course Details


B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)

CAO Information

CAO Points 448-555 (2022)

Number of Places

31 Places
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Course Fees

Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


What our current students say

Ultan Pringle

"I decided that Classical Civilisation was the course for me after meeting with one of the professors in the department at an open day and being fully captured by the enthusiasm and love and sheer knowledge for the course that they had. There’s something uniquely thrilling about studying in Trinity. Two years in and I still feel a little sense of wonder when I walk in through front arch every morning and see that view. Trinity lies at the heart of Dublin city centre and studying here you really do feel like you are immersed in the hustle and bustle of the city."

What our graduates say

Catherine Costello

"The course allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of how Western culture and especially English literature was shaped by ancient Greek and Roman culture and society. The enthusiasm and expertise of the amazing team of professors and lecturers in the Department of Classics at Trinity was inspiring and infectious.  I would heartily recommend studying at Trinity. I felt at home here for four years and hope to continue with postgraduate studies."