Are you interested in the ancient world of Greece and Rome? You can study the history and literature and archaeology of Greece and Rome here in UCD School of Classics.

The first year of the Greek and Roman Civilisation programme consists of 4 introductory courses, to give you an overview of classical antiquity. They are


Introduction to Ancient Rome

Introduction to Classical Mythology

Introduction to Ancient Greek Literature and History

Introduction to Classical Art and Archaeology

Together these provide a comprehensive introduction to the worlds of Greece and Rome and prepare you for the second and third years where you can choose from a range of topics which include Alexander the Great, Homer and the Age of Heroes, Virgil’s Aeneid, The Roman Republic, Cicero’s speeches, the Archaeology of Athens and Attica, Ovid and Myth, Greek Tragedy and Myth, Spartacus and the slave wars, the Art and Architecture of Pompeii, Nero and the Roman Empire, Exile in Latin Literature, Using and Abusing Antiquity, and Eating and Drinking in Classical Antiquity.

rch of Athens & Attica - Prospective Students
A tutorial for "GRC20180 Archaeology of Athens and Attica" includes handling session with artefacts in the Classical Museum.


There is also the opportunity to take the study tour module, where you go to Greece for two weeks and have a guided tour to a whole series of ancient sites and museums and another module where you write your own thesis on a topic of your own choice, but guided by a specialist in the field.

IIHSA Study Tour - Prospective Students
Students from UCD School of Classics and other Irish universities visiting a tholos tomb at Mycenae as part of the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens annual study tour to Greece.


At the same time you can also begin to learn one or both of the ancient languages, Greek and Latin. Learning a language is not compulsory but students who study them find that it deepens their knowledge of the ancient world immeasurably.

The study of the ancient world was the basis of education for our western civilization until the middle of the last century. To understand the formation of the characters of the leading figures in most historical periods since antiquity, an understanding of the classical education is essential.

Past students have gone on to become barristers, judges, diplomats, teachers; they work in IT, finance, banking, social work, the media, UN's international terrorism section, civil service; they are academics, librarians, journalists, an Olympic athlete, a composer (of music), opera singers, archaeologists and some have their own businesses in tourism, dog grooming, catering, and fashion.

Excavation at Priniatikos Pyrgos, Crete - Prospective Students
Students working on the excavation at Priniatikos Pyrgos, Crete, co-directed by Dr Jo Day.


Famous people who studied classics include: James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney, Ryan Tubridy, Caroline Casey, Maeve Binchy, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse, JK Rowling, Boris Johnson and Chris Martin of Coldplay.

The works we study were considered over the centuries to be the best ever produced (the word ‘classic’ means ‘the best’), the high points of the most creative and imaginative cultures the world has ever seen, and the products of the most highly educated and reflective individuals. So their works have vast funds of wisdom that are still helpful today.

One historian Thucydides said, in fact you might say boasted (except that it turned out to be true), that his history was not only for the people of his day but a work for all time. There were human beings in antiquity like us: the nature of human error and success does not change, whether in politics, government, war, or peace. The Greeks and Romans wore different clothes, spoke different languages, had different technologies and different religions and fought with different weapons, but the motivations and ambitions that drove them are the same that we face today: lust for power, control, defeat, jealousy, hatred, revenge, love, and the pursuit of happiness. And the ancient Greeks and Romans knew that: they saw that human nature was unchanging in the midst of the chaos of rising and crumbling empires and political careers, warring nations and booming and slumping economies.

They captured this in what they wrote, thus many of their written works have a timeless quality. We can learn a lot from reading about their past, particularly because they documented it so well. That’s one of the reasons why the study of Classics is relevant. Another is that it has constituted the mainstay of education systems in western Europe for centuries, and has driven the forging of our national and individual identities in strong and very subtle ways.

We welcome mature students who’ve often picked up from whatever else they’ve been doing that the ancient world is still incredibly relevant today. So many subjects have their origins in antiquity, that doing Classics gives you a real all round education and a confidence to approach new areas. One student took Classics after she retired and did her BA, MA and PhD and published her thesis as a book at the age of 73.

Photo Workshop - Prospective Students  
Miranda Driscoll (Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology) leads a workshop in the Classical Museum on artefact photography.