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Classical Civilisation International Baccalaureate *Fees payable* at Brentwood School

Course description

What is Classical Civilisation?

Classical Civilisation is the study of the worlds of Greece and Rome from their origins to the end of the Classical period. This study includes aspects of their Archaeology, Architecture, Art, History and Politics, Literature and Philosophy. Because Classical Civilisation is limited only by time rather than any subject division, it is a subject of extraordinary breadth and depth. As a student of the Classical world, you engage with the study by reading primary sources in English — no Latin or Greek is involved!

What skills will you develop?

 Classical Civilisation will encourage you to develop:

  • Your interest, knowledge and understanding of the Classical world
  • An awareness of how institutions and ideas in the modem world have developed
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate sources
  • Research and independent study skills
  • The ability to form structured and persuasive arguments.

A wide range of courses involving Classical Civilisation is delivered by UK and overseas universities. This can involve Classical Civilisation and Literature, Ancient History, and Archaeology. Students can also choose to study a 'Classics' course, which involves study of Latin and/or Greek, or study Classical Civilisation alongside another subject such as English or a Modern Language.

In the Classics department, we often help students to gain acceptance for Ancient History/Classical Civilisation courses at highly ranked universities, including Liverpool, Nottingham, London, Exeter, Newcastle and Oxford.

There are many students who take Classical Civilisation. Many students have successfully gone on to study subjects such as English, Politics, Modem Languages or History at university. University admissions tutors highly respect Classical Civilisation for the strong analytical skills that it gives to students. 

Course content

Classical Greek and Roman Studies is available at Standard Level only. 

The following topics will be studied:

Greek culture: 

  • Greek Epic - An in-depth study of Homer's Iliad 
  • Alexander the Great OR Athenian Vase Painting. Roman culture: 
  • Roman Epic - An in-depth study of Virgil's Aeneid. 
  • Augustan Rome. 

Course Specific Objectives

Classical Greek and Roman Studies is a Group 2, Individuals and Societies, subject in the IB Diploma Programme. The course has the following specific aims. Students will: 

  • Become involved in interpreting and communicating a range of aspects of Greek and Romancivilisation 
  • Examine these aspects in social, political, and cultural contexts 
  • Understand that the nature and diversity of sources may lead to different ways of seeing the past 
  • Develop critical insights into the structure and impact of diverse forms of cultural, social and political expression 
  • Foster an awareness of Greek and Roman thought and a deeper awareness of their own and other histories and cultures.

How the course is taught

IB Classical Greek and Roman Studies is taught by one teacher. There is a balance of reading and textual analysis, discussion and independent work. Work in the classroom fosters intellectual inquiry and debate. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessment. 


Teachers set regular homework tasks which might require students to research a question, answer questions on a text being studied, or prepare an essay or presentation for the class. In addition to set tasks, students are expected to read around their subjects independently and prepare ahead. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to take responsibility for their learning.

The Extended Essay

 IB students have to write an Extended Essay; they choose the title, research and write it by themselves. Candidates can choose any of their six subjects as the focus of this essay. The classical world offers a particularly rich field for an Extended Essay and candidates can opt to research and write about any aspect of Greek or Roman literature, philosophy, history or culture that appeals to them. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a grade B at GCSE Classical Civilisation is required if studied If you have not studied Classical Civilisation, you must have achieved a B in English Literature instead. 


Internal Assessment

 Research dossier. An annotated collection of 7-12 primary source materials relating to a topic in classical history, literature, language, religion, mythology, art, archeology or some aspect of classical influence. This is worth 20% of the overall mark

External Assessment

Paper 1 (an extended-response paper on Greek Epic and Roman Epic): lhr 30mins 40%.

Paper 2 (a short-answer paper on Alexander the Great OR Athenian Vase Painting and Augustan Rome): lhr3Omins 40%. 

Future opportunities

Anything and everything is possible. Since Classics and Classical Civilisation degrees are so well-respected by future employers, students tend to gravitate toward the professions: accountancy, law, banking, teaching, journalism, publishing and the Arts generally

Further information

Sixth Form opportunities

The Classics department at Brentwood School is one of the largest in the UR and has a thriving extra-curricular life. We take an annual overseas trip to Italy, Greece or Turkey, visit theatres, museums and lectures and hold activities at school for pupils of all ages. These activities include visiting speakers, play readings, and the Dionysia evening of Classical entertainment.

As a Sixth Form Classicist, you can get involved in as few or as many of these as you wish. You can attend the Senior Classics Society, and help to organise advertise and run events; you can come on our trips; you can also help with the Junior Classics Society and with Classics further down the School. 

Preparatory Work

 All students complete summer work before entering the Lower Sixth and this provides them with an excellent introduction to the topics that we study. We encourage you to read around the subject as much as you can - both for enjoyment and for an academic boost.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Brentwood School directly.

Last updated date: 04 January 2017

Key information