Final award (BSc, ma etc)

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Programme title:

MA Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

Final award (BSc, MA etc):

(where stopping off points exist they should be detailed here and defined later in the document)


UCAS code:
(where applicable)


Cohort(s) to which this programme specification is applicable:

(e.g. from 2016 intake onwards)


Awarding institution/body:

University College London

Teaching institution:

University College London, in collaborations with King’s College London, Royal Holloway, University of London, and the Institute of Classical Studies, London


Social and Historical Sciences

Parent Department:
(the department responsible for the administration of the programme)


Departmental web page address:

(if applicable)

Method of study:



Criteria for admission to the programme:

Upper second in a relevant degree (or equivalent Overseas qualification); in addition candidates are expected to be able to use authors and sources in one or more ancient languages.

Length of the programme:

(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such as study abroad or placements in industry)

1 calendar year (full-time)

2 calendar years (part-time)

Level on Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)

Masters level (Level 7)

Relevant subject benchmark statement (SBS)
(see Guidance notes)

N/A - None yet available at MA level

Brief outline of the structure of the programme and its assessment methods:

(see guidance notes)

The structure comprises

i. a mandatory taught language acquisition or research skills module(s): 40 credits, assessment varies according to module

ii. optional taught modules (listed in syllabus): 80 credits, assessment varies according to module

iii. a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words on an aspect of late antique and Byzantine studies: 60 credits

Board of Examiners:

Name of Board of Examiners:

Joint Board of Examiners for the MA in Ancient History, MA in Classical Art and Archaeology, MA in Classics, and MA in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

Professional body accreditation

(if applicable):

Date of next scheduled accreditation visit:

(a) to provide students with a thorough grounding in key aspects of and approaches to late antique and Byzantine studies; (b) to introduce students to research skills essential to, or highly desirable, for almost all fields of late antique and Byzantine studies; (c) to offer them practical training in those research skills; and (d) to introduce students to specific aspects of the late antique and Byzantine worlds at an intellectually demanding level. In sum, it aims to equip students with the tools for further research in late antique and Byzantine studies by developing their critical and conceptual understanding of the field.

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

A: Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and understanding of:

1. How to assess evidence critically, synthesize data from printed, manuscript, archaeological, numismatic, epigraphic, and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate source materials and interpretative studies, use research resources (particularly research library catalogues, digital data bases, other traditional and digital resources, and major archives relevant to late antiquity and the Byzantine period).

2. Subject specific research skills, for instance, epigraphy, papyrology, palaeography, manuscript transcription, facility with ancient and medieval languages.
3. Specific aspects of late antique and Byzantine political, social, economic, religious, and intellectual history.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Acquisition of 1 through the Methods and Techniques seminars and dissertation workshops of the compulsory LABSGA99: Research Methods and Dissertation module in the autumn, spring and summer terms. The broad spread of teachers on this module, as well as the chronological range will expose students to diverse case studies, media, and methods of analysis. Students will be required to attend all seminars, study extensively on their own and, on several of the optional modules, prepare non-assessed oral presentations and coursework assignments regularly.
Acquisition of a range of 2 though the mandatory and optional language and research skills acquisition modules.

Acquisition of a range of 3 through the optional modules.


Students will be assessed by a variety of methods: ‘unseen’ examinations, coursework essays, and the mandatory dissertation.

B: Skills and other attributes

Intellectual (thinking) skills:

The programme aims to enable students:

(a) to engage in analytical and evaluative discussion of a range of late antique and Byzantine materials, i.e. to be precise and to be cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what the evidence can and cannot tell us;
(b) to discriminate between opposing theories and interpretations (such as setting ‘decline’ against ‘transformation’ approaches to the difference between antiquity and the Byzantine period);
(c) to formulate and present judgements, both orally and in written form, on the basis of evidence and argument;
(d) to question interpretations, however authoritative, and, reassessing evidence for themselves, to follow original lines of thought and investigation, and propose new hypotheses as appropriate.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Acquisition of these intellectual research skills is fostered in all modules offered in the Programme in that all introduce information that needs to be assessed critically and demonstrate how conflicting interpretations arise from the same information, but these research skills are explicitly emphasised in the Methods and Techniques seminars and dissertation workshops of the compulsory LABSGA99: Research Methods and Dissertation module. Acquisition of these research skills is developed through formal teaching, participation in oral presentations singly and in pairs or teams, through independent research, informal activities, individual supervision, formal assessment and feedback.


Through ‘unseen’ examinations, coursework essays, and the mandatory dissertation.

C: Skills and other attributes

Practical skills (able to):

(a) gather, organise, and analyse evidence and information, and make judgements in the absence of complete data

(b) deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, showing critical judgement and applying appropriate methodologies

(c) present (non-assessed) seminar papers

(d) listen and respond to the ideas of others in an advanced research context

(e) choose their own coursework essay and dissertation topics

(f) maintain a constant and responsive rhythm of learning and research, adapting coursework essay and dissertation topics to the information that they discover while working on them.

(g) use databases, digital resources and word-processing programmes

(h) practise research techniques in a variety of specialised libraries and research institutes that they will not have used as undergraduates

(i) acquire and/or improve an ancient or medieval language

(j) acquire and/or improve ability to transcribe and edit manuscript or epigraphic material.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Delivery of:

  • (a) to (d) through weekly seminar discussions, the production of regular seminar presentations and coursework and teachers’ one-to-one feedback on them, and dissertation supervision -- all of which contribute to a critical dialogue between student and teacher;

  • (e) and (f) through guidance in class and dissertation supervision -- in all aspects of the teaching and learning process, stress will be placed on the importance of innovative and original thinking about ancient history, and on self-motivation;

  • (g) and (h) through practical instruction and visits to libraries such as the Combined Library of the Institute of Classical Studies with the Joint Library of the Societies for the Promotion of Hellenic and of Roman Studies (Senate House);

  • (i) and (j) through practical instruction in the mandatory language or research skills acquisition module and a range of optional modules.


‘Unseen’ examination, coursework essays, and the mandatory dissertation

D: Skills and other attributes

Transferable skills (able to):

(a) communicate material effectively in written form, with discrimination and lucidity in the use of language, professional referencing, and clear layout

(b) acquisition and/or improvement of scholarly languages

(c) use computer resources and information technology

(d) communicate material orally in a clear, effective and persuasive manner

(e) listen and contribute in seminar classes

(f) reflect on their own ideas by becoming acquainted with ideas and practices foreign to them

(g) work constructively and adaptably with others

(h) act autonomously in planning, timing, and implementing tasks

(i) display the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Transferable research skills are acquired through

  • participation in seminars and practical sessions

  • feedback from teachers on coursework

  • feedback from teachers on oral seminar presentations

  • dissertation preparation and supervision

  • ‘hands-on’ instruction, library or gallery visits

and applied in

  • autonomous study

  • writing and submission of word-processed coursework essays

  • seminar presentations (delivered singly and in pairs or teams) and discussion

planning, development, and production of one extended piece of work, the dissertation.


‘Unseen’ examination, coursework essays, and the mandatory dissertation

The following reference points were used in designing the programme:

  • the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications:


  • the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements:


  • the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);

  • UCL teaching and learning policies;

  • staff research.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in the departmental course handbook. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by UCL and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Programme Organiser(s) Name(s):

Dr Paola Ceccarelli

Date of Production:

November 2008

Date of Review:

November 2016

Date approved by Chair of Departmental Teaching Committee:

November 2016

Date approved by Faculty Teaching Committee

29 November 2016

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