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Classical Civilisation A-Level at Priestley College

Course description

The Classical World was, in many ways, the basis of our modern one.  From the ancient Romans and Greeks we have drawn our alphabet, many of our words and much of our mathematics, philosophy and culture.  These people dominated huge swathes of the world and you will be able to study fascinating aspects of their society and culture, their leaders, their writings and their wars and conflicts.

Course content

Classical Civilisation in a non-linear A-Level. The AS course contains two units: one on ancient society and culture and one on important ancient historical events.  You will learn about the role and position of women in Athenian and Roman culture, how society viewed the status and expectations of women and how diverse and fascinating the real situation was for women in these ancient societies.  You will also learn about one of the most dramatic conflicts of the ancient world, one which decided the fate of Western Europe and pitched the growing Roman state against the great sea and trading power of Carthage and their outstanding general Hannibal.  At A2 you will study two further units.  You will study the story of Augustus the first Roman Emperor and how he founded the Empire itself and transformed the course of history in both Europe and the world.  This course will cover how Augustus was able to bring an end to the incessant civil wars and disputes raging in the Late Republic, create a new system of government and then reshape the whole Roman world through his social and religious policies and his public works; as well as looking at how an Imperial family was developed and the succession arranged.  Finally you will study Alexander the Great, one of the most romantic and exciting figures in history: his amazing military campaigns, his destruction of the Persian Empire, his march to India and his premature death.  As well as considering his campaigns and military capabilities you will also look at how Alexander was as a ruler and a man, his religion, his reforms and his relationship with other Greeks. In all these units you will be able to study the ancient writings of historians and use a range of other materials to access these topics.

Entry requirements

You should have good written and communication skills and be comfortable completing extended pieces of written work. Most importantly, you need to have a genuine interest and enthusiasm for studying the Ancient Past and reading and learning about it.

Our minimum entry requirements remain 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, however there are now a number of restrictions on the type/range of programmes you can take at Priestley which will reflect your overall GCSE grade profile.

If you do not have a GCSE Grade 4 or the old Grade C in English Language and/or Mathematics by the time you join Priestley you will be required to continue working to improve in these subjects so you may find your programme options more limited.


In the AS course, Units 1 and 2 are both assessed via a written examination. Each examination is one and half hours long and consists of source questions and a short essay.  Both exams are worth 50% of the AS Level and 25% of the overall A-Level.  At A2 both Units 3 and 4 are also assessed by examination. There will be questions based on source material and an essay on each examination.  These two units are both worth 25% of the final A2 mark.

Future opportunities

Students who have studied Classical Civilisation at A-Level will be able to progress onto a wide range of university courses and careers. It is a subject that shows you have the ability to use source material, reach judgements and to write extended essays – skills that are relevant and transferable in a wide range of jobs.

Further information

There are lots of opportunities to get involved in additional activities – there will be a chance to take part in an overseas trip and other study visits within the local area such as a trip to Chester.  Students will be able to take part in writing articles for the History Society magazine which is published throughout the year. An essay competition that is judged by universities runs each year, and students are encouraged to attend lectures and events on aspects of the past.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Priestley College directly.

Last updated date: 10 October 2016
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