Classical Studies – Bachelor of Arts

Study the past, understand the present and help build the world of tomorrow.

Where you can study

Auckland campus
Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand, or studying on-line out
Note: Not all courses are available in any one year.

Specialise in Classical Studies for your Bachelor of Arts at Massey

Gain a deep understanding of 21st century culture

Knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome is essential for an understanding of our own modern civilisation. The Greeks and Romans had a profound and lasting influence on world culture in the areas of:

  • language
  • philosophy
  • science
  • medicine
  • law
  • political institutions
  • art and architecture.

They also created and developed nearly every genre of Western literature.

With a Massey Bachelor of Arts (Classical Studies) you can trace meaningful connections between classical antiquity and our own 21st-century civilisation.

Follow your passion and enhance your future

Classical studies is interdisciplinary - you can study what you enjoy and focus on subject areas that spark your interest. You can explore the classical world from many angles: literature, history, art, mythology, religion, war, sexuality, and interaction with other civilisations such as Egypt.

Our evidence for the ancient world is challenging; it is sometimes fragmentary, sometimes obscure, often biased or distorted. With a Massey BA (Classical Studies) you will make sense of it through argument and interpretation, thus acquiring and developing a sought-after range of skills.

World-class learning

Massey offers passionate and friendly lecturers, a world-class distance-learning programme and multimedia learning materials.

A Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies is a good fit if you:

  • want to gain an insight into two of the most fascinating civilisations in history
  • are interested in the ancient roots of modern Western civilisation
  • want a rich and challenging classical education that will make you very appealing to employers.

Planning information

If you study full time, in the first year you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school if you wish. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

You need to pass five courses at 300-level for your BA. One of these (230310) is in the compulsory core and three are required for your major. If you are not taking a double major or a minor, you will need to take one 300-level elective course to meet this requirement.

About this major

A major consists of 120 credits (eight courses) from the schedule.


Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Arts (Classical Studies) with a minor

You may choose a minor from any university undergraduate degree that has recognised minors. If the minor is from another undergraduate degree, the regulations of that qualification will apply.

A classical studies minor (for students who are studying a different degree) 

If you are not studying towards a BA (Classical Studies) and wish to complete a minor in classical studies see the BA regulations for requirements.  

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Subject courses

Choose at least 15 credits from
Course code: 201112 Greek History 15 credits

This course provides a survey of Greek History from the Bronze Age to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.

View full course details
Course code: 201113 Greek Mythology 15 credits

A study of the nature and uses of Greek mythology in ancient Greek literature and art.

View full course details
Course code: 201114 The Roman Republic 15 credits

This course provides an introduction to Roman history, from its mythical beginnings to the battle of Actium in 31 BC.

View full course details
Course code: 201115 Introductory Latin 15 credits

An introduction to the grammar and translation of Latin. No prior knowledge of Latin assumed.

View full course details
Course code: 201117 Greek and Roman Warfare 15 credits

An introduction to warfare in antiquity, in its social and political contexts, with an examination of weapons, tactics, strategy, famous battles and generals.

View full course details
Choose at least 30 credits from
Course code: 201201 The Pursuit of Happiness in the Classical World 15 credits

This course explores views of happiness in the ancient Greek and Roman world from Homer to Marcus Aurelius.

View full course details
Course code: 201211 Love and Sexuality in Ancient Greece 15 credits

This course offers a systematic study of ancient Greek attitudes and practices relating to love and sexuality as reflected in history, literature, art, and philosophy, and against the background of the family and society at large.

View full course details
Course code: 201212 Intermediate Latin 15 credits

A development of reading proficiency in classical Latin by increasing core vocabulary key grammatical concepts and translation.

Prerequisites: 201115, or demonstration of a comparable level of Latin skills attained at the secondary or tertiary level Restrictions: 201116

View full course details
Course code: 201216 The Trojan War 15 credits

A comparative examination of the Trojan War in Greek and Roman literature.

View full course details
Course code: 201218 Greek and Roman Religion 15 credits

A study of the religion of the Greeks and Romans, approached through both literary and archaeological sources. The course focuses on cult practices and their impacts on the societies of the time.

Restrictions: 201318

View full course details
Course code: 201219 Greek Art and Society 15 credits

A survey of techniques, developments and achievements in Greek architecture, sculpture, wall- and vase-painting, set in their archaeological and social contexts. The period covered is from the Bronze Age through to Late Classical times.

Restrictions: 201319

View full course details
Course code: 201231 Leaders and Leadership in the Classical World 15 credits

A study of leadership in the Classical world from the point of view of the leaders themselves and from those they led.

Restrictions: 201316

View full course details
Choose at least 45 credits from
Course code: 201313 Greek Tragedy, Then and Now 15 credits

This course examines ancient Greek tragedy in translation. It looks at the transformation of myth into tragedy in the fifth century BCE and reflects on why these classical dramas remain popular today.

Restrictions: 201213

View full course details
Course code: 201314 Imperial Rome 15 credits

A study of the first 200 years of Roman imperial rule, from the time of Augustus to the death of Marcus Aurelius.

Restrictions: 201214

View full course details
Course code: 201317 Ancient Multiculturalism: Egypt, Greece and Rome 15 credits

The study of cultural exchange between the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Jewish civilizations over the thousand years of classical antiquity, focusing on interactions in literature, art, religion, philosophy, economy, and politics.

Restrictions: 201230

View full course details
Course code: 201318 Greek and Roman Religion 15 credits

A study of the religion of the Greeks and Romans, approached through both literary and archaeological sources. The course focuses on cult practices and their impacts on the societies of the time.

Restrictions: 201218

View full course details
Course code: 201320 Roman Art and Society 15 credits

A detailed survey of techniques, developments and achievements in Hellenistic and Roman architecture, painting, mosaics and sculpture, set in their archaeological and social contexts. The period covered is from the Hellenistic Age through the Republic down to the Late Empire.

Restrictions: 201220

View full course details

Subject elective courses

Course code: 134309 Ancient Philosophy 15 credits

An examination of ancient philosophies, particularly those of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level 134 prefix course or 201201 Restrictions: 134209

View full course details
Course code: 201103 Magic and Witchcraft 15 credits

A multidisciplinary study of magic and witchcraft in selected societies in different time periods.

Restrictions: 135103

View full course details

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for a Bachelor of Arts (Classical Studies), outside of university admission regulations.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Can't meet the entry requirements?

If you need to do a course before you start your qualification, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

The study of classics fosters critical thinking, research skills, and organisational techniques, together with the broader understanding of our culture. These skills can lead to careers in any of the fields below, as well as many others:

  • drama
  • foreign affairs
  • journalism
  • libraries
  • museums
  • public relations
  • teaching
  • trade and industry
  • university administration.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Related study options