Studying Classics and Ancient History at Manchester

by | Jan 12, 2022 | Arts, History, Postgraduate | 0 comments

When I moved to Manchester in September 2021, I was unsure what to expect from my course. As a BA English Literature and Creative Writing Graduate, I was concerned I might be the only newcomer on the course, or worse, find myself out of my depth with material that was so different to my BA. The good news is neither of these anxieties came true! On the contrary, I found my course mates to be encouraging and helpful, with several coming from other universities, countries and subjects. 

The course itself is designed with opportunities to specialise and adapt the material to fit your interests. What drew me to Manchester’s Classics and Ancient History course in the first place was the incredible ‘Directed Reading’ module, which allows students to attend a specialist module of their choosing, using the content, trips and the help of the module leader to design a project. I chose ‘Chariots, Cauldrons and Celts’, an archaeology module that took me far out of my comfort zone but inspired my favourite piece of work thus far: a collection of poetry inspired by Iron Age artefacts. I had been prepared to leave my Creative Writing behind in my BA, but on the contrary, I have discovered the subjects to be profoundly complimentary. The enthusiasm and talent of my Master’s professors have really helped me find a place for my writing within this new course; I have even been encouraged to include some creative prose in the final chapter of my dissertation. I am confident it would be the same for any student with an interest in an interdisciplinary study of Classics. 

The core and research seminars provided on this Master’s are a wonderful way to broaden study, with each week exploring a specialist area within Classics and Ancient History, led by a mixture of internal and external experts from that field. A particular highlight was this semester’s visiting speaker masterclass, in which Dr Emily Clifford spoke on the art of death in the Ancient World. This module cultivates a space of research and communication which are priceless for a Master’s, in particular the dissertation. This is also a chance for students to stray from their ‘niches’ and discover passions for topics they may not have been aware of. The leader of this module is also the Programme Director and frequently goes above and beyond with pastoral care and career guidance.  

The compulsory language modules are undeniably difficult but designed with a variety of levels in mind. Attending my Intensive Latin module with no prior experience of ancient languages was nerve-wracking, but the materials on Blackboard have proved invaluable, with a variety of interactive self-testing tools available. Any student considering this course should not be put off by a lack of language proficiency; this course is designed for anyone willing to make the effort, with plenty of resources and professors to help you out. 

The University itself is perfect for the study of all things ancient, with an impressive museum and a mini Classics library just for students doing Classical studies. Conclusively, this course is not only helping me discover how lives were built in the ancient world, but also how I might build my own life from all I am learning. If you possess a love of Classics, Ancient History and anything around it, this course will be a source of inspiration and fulfilment to you.