Classical Civilisation is the study of the Ancient World and the impact of its culture on society today. This course offers learners the opportunity to study elements of the literature, visual/material culture and thinking of the ancient Greeks and Romans and acquire an understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts.  Students will study Greek and Latin epic poetry in translation, the propaganda of the first Roman emperor and Greek religion.

Students will explore the legacy of the Ancient World and learn to critically interpret, analyse and evaluate a range of source material to make their own judgements using reasoned arguments. 

Students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of study days, including a visit to the British Museum and an annual trip to either Greece or Italy.

Classical Civilisation complements a wide range of subjects including: 

  • English
  • History
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Art (Fine Art)

Students of Classical Civilisation will be able to progress to a vast range of degree courses. Those which relate directly to Classical Civilisation include: Classics; Archaeology; Ancient History and Classical Studies, all of which can be studied at degree level without prior knowledge of an ancient language.

The study of Classical Civilisation is highly regarded among employers, businesses and academic institutions. The transferable skills it teaches are considered second to none and thus Classical Civilisation students are found and sought after in many walks of life including: Journalism, Law, Business Management, Civil Service, Politics, Teaching, Academia, the Creative Arts and any profession which requires the ability to analyse, argue, write effectively and have a wide and intelligent understanding of the world we live in.

See what some of our former Classical Civilisation students have gone on to do.

Find out about some possible directions Classics A Level can take you, courtesy of the Classical Association.

The course covers the following topics:

  • The World of the Hero: The study of Greek and Roman epic poetry
  • Imperial Image: An exploration of how Emperor Augustus used propaganda to support his regime
  • Greek Religion: An in-depth study of the religion of the Ancient Greeks

Course Specific Trips & Visits

Classical Civilisation students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related trips. In recent years, these have included:

The department also organises visiting speakers from UK universities and offers the opportunity to learn Ancient Greek and Latin as part of the Activities Programme.

In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.

This course is 100% examination based.

The exam board for this A Level is OCR.

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:  

  • Grade 5 in English Language

No previous knowledge of the Classical World is needed, just a desire for new knowledge and an interest in History and Civilisation in general.

Students will do well on this course if they enjoy:

  • Learning about the origins of civilisation
  • Looking at and analysing exceptional works of art, architecture and sculpture
  • Exploring different philosophies
  • Studying literature, exploring and interpreting themes and characters in context
  • Communication through speech and writing
  • Planning their own learning

What is Classical Civilisation?

It’s the study of the ancient world, looking specifically at the Ancient Greeks and Romans. It covers a broad range of subjects including ancient literature, art, architecture, philosophy, myths, legends, their society, government and culture.

For more information visit the course pages and our department page on Instagram: reigateclassciv

Is it like History?

Yes and No.  It is more of a study of a culture and civilisation than a study of key figures and events. There are historical elements to learn, but the subject is much more about the way the ancient Greeks and Romans lived. What did they believe? What art and literature did they produce and why? What was daily life like? How were they governed?

Can I take it as an A Level even though I’ve never studied it before?

Absolutely! Most of our students have never studied the subject previously. One of the great things about the College is that we can offer subjects that are not available in many state schools.

Do I need to know Latin or Ancient Greek?

No, not at all. We study texts in translation throughout the course. However, if ancient languages are something that interest you, then you can do Ancient Greek and Latin as part of our Activities Programme. Both are very informal and are a great introduction to the languages.

Do I have to be really good at reading and writing?

You just have to enjoy a good story – of which there are lots in Classical Civilisation! There is quite a bit of reading involved, but this is done with lots of support to help you get to grips with the texts.

The exam is essay based, so you will have to be comfortable with writing for a period of time. This is why a GCSE Grade 5 in English Language is an entry requirement.

Are there any trips?

Yes, students have the opportunity to go on a residential trip to either Greece or Rome. There are also trips to the British Museum and University Classics Days. In addition, we invite external speakers in to talk to our students.

What do students with A Level Classical Civilisation go on to do at University?

Our students go on to study a wide variety of subjects. Of course, some fall in love with Classics and go on to study subjects such as Ancient History, Archaeology, Classical Studies, or one of these combined with another subject. However, last year students also went on to study: Sociology and Criminology, Geography, Psychology, History, Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Drama and English and Architecture among other things.

What subjects does it go well with?

Our students study a range of different subjects. As the content of the curriculum is so varied, it goes particularly well with other humanities subjects such as History, English, Politics and Philosophy. However, the subject also attracts a lot of students studying creative subjects, as well as those who are looking for something completely different to add to their programme of study.

Is it all about Greek myth?

We do cover Greek myth in some units of the course. However, this is not the main focus of study.

Will I have to learn lots of dates?

There are dates to learn, but not as many as you might expect.

What do students like about it?

Students like studying something completely different, which they have not had the opportunity to explore before. They also like seeing both how similar and different the ancient world was to our own. For instance, how can the civilisation that invented democracy have also had slavery? They also enjoy the variety in the course and the extra opportunities for further study in the department.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2024

Please apply (from 19 September 2023) via the link on this page:

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

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