Ancient World Studies Major

Bachelor of Arts, 3 years full-time, Parkville. CRICOS code: 002167E

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On successful completion of this major, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the literary and material cultures of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilisations, including Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Greece, and Rome; and
  • apply appropriate critical skills and methodologies (including historical, literary, and archaeological) to the research and analysis of ancient histories, cultures and societies; and
  • identify and engage critically with primary sources for the interpretation of ancient histories, cultures and societies; and
  • identify and engage critically with scholarship in the field of ancient world studies; and
  • approach all evidence about ancient histories, cultures and societies with intellectual honesty and a respect for ethical values; and
  • work effectively, in groups and independently, to identify, discuss and critically analyse key issues in the interpretation of ancient histories, cultures and societies; and
  • communicate interpretations of ancient texts and artefacts effectively, both orally and in writing

Course Description

Offered by the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Ancient World Studies embraces the broad study of Classical Greece and Rome, as well as Egypt and the Near East from 3000 BCE to the 4th century CE. Students can choose a variety of subject streams, which combine the study of ancient languages and/or texts in translation such as myth, literature, history, and philosophy with the study of archaeology, art, and architectural monuments. In addition, students can focus on a particular time period, geographic region, technical specialisation such as myth or ceramics, or thematic area of study. Students will gain insight into and understanding of contemporary society by exploring how ancient cultures have contributed to the development of our modern world, with regard to gender and ethnic identity, warfare, colonialism and imperialism, the propagandistic power of literary and visual imagery, and technology and economy. They will develop skills in research, writing, analysis, and communication that promote career flexibility.


  • Archaeology and history
  • Classics and teaching
  • Curatorship, heritage and tourism
  • Librarianship and archival work
  • Academic and research
  • Government and policy formation
  • Management and administration
  • Business and finance

Access Object-Based Learning 

As part of Ancient World Studies, you will have the opportunity to experience Object-Based Learning (OBL) throughout your studies.

Object-Based Learning encourages you to engage directly with cultural objects in a manner that moves away from the traditional, passive approach to imparting knowledge.   With access to two Object-Based Learning labs equipped with in-built display cases, you will have the opportunity to engage directly with cultural objects to closely assess and analyse how these objects relate to theory.  

The integration of objects into subjects taught in the Bachelor of Arts is made possible by drawing on the University’s vast cultural collections.

Photo credit: John Gollings
Photo credit: John Gollings

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