The basis of western civilisation.
Classics is the study of the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. These civilisations had an immense influence on the development of western civilisation. Much of our modern language, literature, art and architecture, drama, philosophy and political system is derived from Greece and Rome.
Classics aims to understand these cultures, and to appreciate what they achieved and how important they have been in historical terms. At the same time Classics students are challenged to confront the major questions which the Greeks and Romans faced and which humanity has faced down the ages – about human behaviour, human society, ethics, war, politics, religion, indeed the whole meaning and purpose of life.
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Why study Classics?
To understand anything properly you need to have an appreciation of its origins. Greece and Rome lie at the root of western civilisation and by studying the Greeks and Romans we are studying the western roots of our own cultures.
Arts degrees provide valuable generic skills in demand in the workplace. For some jobs you may well need further specialist training. However there are plenty of employers who value a well-rounded education such as Classics provides. The millionaire financier Sir Robert Jones is fond of saying that he would far rather employ a Classics graduate than a Commerce one.
Employers value transferable skills such as the ability to think through a problem, to see both sides of a question, to analyse, to present an argument, and to express yourself clearly and fluently.
Recent Classics graduates have made careers not only in school and university teaching but in university administration, foreign affairs, trade and industry, social welfare, local government, tourism, computing, insurance, law, librarianship, bookselling, publishing, museums and art galleries, fashion and design, broadcasting, journalism, tourism and the theatre. This list emphasises the versatility of Classics graduates.
Studying Greek and Latin language
Learning the languages is an excellent way to appreciate how the Greeks and Romans perceived the world around them and communicated their values and ideas. The textbooks that we use for the teaching of Greek and Latin language are designed for beginner students, and they focus on the reading of continuous texts from the outset.
Please note: Learning ancient Greek and Latin is not compulsory at Otago, but if you are considering postgraduate study we strongly encourage you to take papers in Greek and Latin in your degree.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)
- Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
- Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts)
- Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework))
- Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Classics (including Classical Studies, Greek and Latin)
Any two CLAS, GREK or LATN 100-level papers
ANAT 131 may be substituted for one 100-level CLAS, GREK or LATN paper.
Any three CLAS, GREK or LATN 200-level papers
198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.
Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts
Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Classics (including Classical Studies, Greek and Latin)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Classics
The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Classics is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).
Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in Classics
Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in Classics
Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in Classics or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Classics must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in Classics prior to undertaking the thesis.
Minor subject requirements
Classics as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree
Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree
Five CLAS, GREK or LATN papers, at least three of which must be above 100-level, including at least one above 200-level
ANAT 131 may be substituted for one 100-level CLAS, GREK or LATN paper.
Note: No paper forming part of a minor subject requirement in Greek or Latin may also count for a minor or major subject requirement in Classics.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|CLAS105||2021||Greek Mythology||18 points||Second Semester|
|CLAS108||2021||Classical Art and Archaeology: Of Heroes, Gods and Men||18 points||First Semester|
|CLAS109||2021||Roman Social History: Slaves, Gladiators, Prostitutes||18 points||First Semester|
|CLAS230||2021||Special Topic||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|CLAS238||2021||Fantasies, Phobias and Families in Graeco-Roman Myth||18 points||First Semester|
|CLAS240||2021||The Classical World in the Movies||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|CLAS241||2021||Alexander the Great||18 points||Second Semester|
|CLAS242||2021||Living and Dying in Classical Athens||18 points||First Semester|
|CLAS330||2021||Special Topic: Elections in Roman and Modern Times||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|CLAS337||2021||Murder and Corruption in Ciceronian Rome||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|CLAS340||2021||Love, Death and the Good Life: Socrates and Plato||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|CLAS341||2021||After Alexander: the Struggle and the Chaos||18 points||Second Semester|
|CLAS342||2021||Ancient Greek Religion: Myth, Ritual and Belief||18 points||Second Semester|
|CLAS343||2021||Archaeology and the Fall of the Roman Empire||18 points||First Semester|
|CLAS344||2021||From Augustus to Nero: Scandal and Intrigue in Imperial Rome||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|CLAS345||2021||Tales of Troy: From Homer to Hollywood||18 points||First Semester|
|CLAS380||2021||Directed Study in Ancient Greek or Latin Language||18 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|CLAS437||2021||Cicero and Roman Oratory||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|CLAS440||2021||Advanced Studies in Socrates and Plato||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|CLAS441||2021||Advanced Studies in Alexander's Successors||20 points||Second Semester|
|CLAS442||2021||Advanced Studies in Ancient Greek Religion||20 points||Second Semester|
|CLAS443||2021||Archaeology, History and the End of Rome||20 points||First Semester|
|CLAS444||2021||From Augustus to Nero: Advanced Studies||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|CLAS460||2021||Special Topic||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|CLAS480||2021||Research Paper||20 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|CLAS490||2021||Dissertation||60 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|CLAS590||2021||Research Dissertation||60 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|