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Old September 6th, 2016, 08:06 AM   #1
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University guidance question


Hello, everyone, my name is Andronicus and I'm looking forward to studying a degree programme in Ancient History.

So, my question is the following, can anyone tell me which universities (except Oxbridge and UCL) have the greatest number of ancient languages to offer? I'm very keen on studying ancient languages other than Latin and Ancient Greek, such as Old Persian or some ancient Mesopotamian languages.

Also, which universities would you recommend for pursuing an Ancient History degree in the US?

Thanks a alot,
Andronicus
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Old September 6th, 2016, 04:20 PM   #2

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Hey, I've just finished an undergraduate degree in ancient history at Cardiff University, and I'm going to the University of Birmingham in a few weeks to begin a Masters.

I'd recommend that you research anywhere you're interested in online, and find out what languages they offer. If you can't find anything on their websites, just email the Classics department. All that said, I suspect that a lot of departments would recommend that you stick just to Latin and Greek, at least for your first year or two; the more obscure language modules are often only available to postgraduate students. Again, however, that'd be something worth emailing the department about; if you've already done plenty of Latin and Greek then they might be happy to let you study something else.

Finally, you said you're that hoping to study ancient history. I'm not sure how specific you meant to be, but - in general - ancient history degree will have far less focus on languages than classics degrees. Most ancient history degrees at undergraduate level won't have any languages as obligatory modules; they'll just be optional. Classic degrees, on the other hand, will have obligatory language modules, typically around two-thirds of your workload (i.e. one-third Latin, one-third ancient Greek, and one-third ancient history).
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Old September 7th, 2016, 08:14 PM   #3

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Pretty much what Thaladan said, most run of the mill universities won't offer many ancient language modules at undergraduate level, at least from what I've seen in the UK. However, some universities will have credited modern language classes you can sit outside of your department. So you could study a Classics degree and learn modern Arabic at the same time - I'm guessing you could use a modern language as a foundation for learning its ancient forms. At the very least you could pick up a research language like French or German if you need it.

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Originally Posted by Thaladan View Post
Hey, I've just finished an undergraduate degree in ancient history at Cardiff University, and I'm going to the University of Birmingham in a few weeks to begin a Masters.

...

Most ancient history degrees at undergraduate level won't have any languages as obligatory modules; they'll just be optional.
Did you get on to an ancient history MA program with no Greek/Latin skills? Or do you already read them? Just curious. I'm applying for my MA this year and most departments really emphasize research languages.
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Old September 8th, 2016, 03:25 AM   #4

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Did you get on to an ancient history MA program with no Greek/Latin skills? Or do you already read them? Just curious. I'm applying for my MA this year and most departments really emphasize research languages.
Yes. My understanding is that most universities in Britain (with the exception of Oxford and perhaps a few others) are happy to accept you for MA Ancient History degrees even if you haven't done any Greek or Latin previously. However, they would expect you to begin studying Greek and/or Latin during your Masters.

If you're planning to subsequently undertake a PhD, however, it is essential to have a good understanding of Latin and Greek. American universities also tend to demand that you can read two out of French, German, and Italian (this definitely helps when applying for PhDs at British unis, but it's not necessarily essential).

All this means that if you delay learning languages until your Masters, you'll probably have to take a year or two out between finishing the Masters and beginning a PhD, so you can develop your language skills.

I myself have selected several Greek language modules for my Masters, and will also be undertaking a 'Reading French' extracurricular course. If I do decide that I want to do a PhD after my Masters, I will have to wait a few years to work on my Latin and either Italian or German.
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Old September 8th, 2016, 08:20 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaladan View Post
Yes. My understanding is that most universities in Britain (with the exception of Oxford and perhaps a few others) are happy to accept you for MA Ancient History degrees even if you haven't done any Greek or Latin previously. However, they would expect you to begin studying Greek and/or Latin during your Masters.

If you're planning to subsequently undertake a PhD, however, it is essential to have a good understanding of Latin and Greek. American universities also tend to demand that you can read two out of French, German, and Italian (this definitely helps when applying for PhDs at British unis, but it's not necessarily essential).

All this means that if you delay learning languages until your Masters, you'll probably have to take a year or two out between finishing the Masters and beginning a PhD, so you can develop your language skills.

I myself have selected several Greek language modules for my Masters, and will also be undertaking a 'Reading French' extracurricular course. If I do decide that I want to do a PhD after my Masters, I will have to wait a few years to work on my Latin and either Italian or German.
Thanks for the reply Seems your field is a bit more language intensive than mine, but it's interesting to know the demands at different levels.
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Old September 12th, 2016, 04:04 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, guys!
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