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Classical Civilisation A Level


A level Classical Civilisation

Step back in time to explore the ancient Greco-Roman world through the eyes of Homer, Virgil and Sophocles in our A level Classical Civilisation online course.

Are you a state sector school teacher looking to study A level Classical Civilisation? The Classical Association is offering five full bursaries to support teachers who want to study this subject. For more information click here. To apply click here.

Multi-buy A levels:

Purchasing more than one A level? Use voucher code ALMB10 to receive 10% off at checkout.

The ancient Greeks and Romans created a legacy that has shaped the literature, language, arts, politics and philosophy of the western world. Our A level Classical Civilisation online course invites you to step back in time to develop a critical approach to literature and culture of this fascinating period in history.

Supported by a personal tutor, you’ll study poetry, plays, comedy and themes such as cults, rituals and religion. As you progress you’ll make an informed analysis of the issues and values that shaped classical civilisation.

Through this course you’ll learn to develop and present coherent, well-evidenced arguments. You’ll also sharpen up your analytical and critical thinking, skills that are vital for higher education and valuable in the workplace.

Why study Classical Civilisation?

Study A level Classical Civilisation online and let Homer’s Odyssey; Vergil’s Aeneid and the works of Euripides, Sophocles and Aristophanes transport you to a different world. Along the way you’ll make fascinating connections to the politics, culture and society of ancient Rome and Greece.

You’ll have the flexibility to fit study around your lifestyle, learning at your own pace. Like many NEC students, perhaps you’ll go on to study classical civilisation at university, or use your qualification to support your next career move?

Our Classical Civilisation A level course is ideal if you:

  • Are keen to study classics at degree level.
  • Want to gain a deeper understanding of life in ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Enjoy learning about different historical periods and their influence on today’s world.
  • Wish to develop your skills in presenting well-evidenced, clear, concise arguments.
  • Would like to build key employability skills, such as logical thinking, evaluation and clear oral and written communication skills.

Future opportunities

  • Studying a classics course at university.
  • A wide range of rewarding career paths in fields such as heritage and museums, law, PR, accountancy, politics, education, journalism, information management and research.

Course content

Section 1: Homer’s world of the hero – The Odyssey, 1

  • Who was Homer?
  • Beginning The Odyssey – Book 1
  • Odysseus, Calypso and Nausicaa
  • The Phaeacians
  • The missing years

Section 2: Homer’s world of the hero – The Odyssey, 2

  • Homecoming
  • A beggar at the palace
  • The battle for Penelope
  • Narrative techniques and themes

Section 3: Virgil’s world of the hero – The Aeneid, 1

  • Beginnings
  • Characters and themes
  • The fall of Troy
  • Dido
  • The Underworld

Section 4: Virgil’s world of the hero – The Aeneid, 2

  • A vision of Rome
  • War
  • Endings
  • The context of The Aeneid
  • Techniques, values and themes

Section 5: Greek theatre – Oedipus the King

  • Ancient Greek theatre
  • Greek tragedy
  • Sophocles’ Oedipus
  • Events and characters
  • Themes in Oedipus

Section 6 : The theatre of Dionysus – Bacchae

  • Bacchae: The plot
  • Bacchae: Close reading
  • Character and Bacchism
  • Themes

Section 7:  Old comedy – The Frogs

  • Old Comedy
  • Frogs: Close reading 1
  • Frogs: Close reading 2

 Section 8: The Greeks and their gods

  • The Olympian gods
  • Cults and oracles
  • Religion and society

 Section 9: Sanctuaries, ritual and philosophy

  • The Athenian Acropolis
  • Delphi and Olympia
  • Rituals and priests
  • Religion and philosophy

Study A level Classical Civilisation with us and benefit from:

  • Flexible learning
  • Support from a personal tutor by email, phone or Skype
  • Any time enrolment
  • Our exam booking service
  • Assignments with tutor feedback
  • Ongoing support from Student Support
  • Forums to discuss your course with other students


Choose when and where you access your course, using learn@nec our 24/7 learning platform.

This easy-to-use learning platform includes interactive checkpoints, quizzes and activities to help you evaluate your progress.

Your tutor

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.

Meet Ed who is just one of our first-class classical Civilisation tutors

Ed Piercy studied classics at Dublin and Cambridge, and taught Latin and Greek at schools, colleges, and universities for over four decades. Now retired from classroom teaching, he uses this new spread of time to read all the classical works he previously did not have the opportunity for.

What you need to know

Exam board

  • OCR H408


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 250-300* hours plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 300 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 300 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 5 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 10 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade


  • OCR Classical Civilisation AS and A level Components 21 and 22, R Hancock, J Renshaw and L Swift, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017
  • OCR Classical Civilisation A level Components 31 and 34, A Mitropoulos, T Morrison, J Renshaw and J Steinhauer, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017
  • The Odyssey, Homer (EV Rieu, D Rieu and P Jones), Penguin Classics, 2003
  • The Aeneid, Virgil (D West), Penguin Classics, 2003
  • The Three Theban Plays: ‘Antigone’, ‘Oedipus the King’, ‘Oedipus at Colonus’, Sophocles (R Fagles), Penguin Classics, 1984
  • Bacchae, Euripides (D Franklin), Cambridge University Press, 2000
  • Frogs, Aristophanes (J Affleck, C Letchford and J Harrison), Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials (including ebook versions of textbooks where specified) that you need to complete the course
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments carefully designed to prepare you for exams
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
  • Extensive feedback to all assignments that will support your learning
  • NEA (coursework) marking and authentication
  • Marking for one examination paper (from a previous year)
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading or set texts

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques
  • Help with your UCAS application service

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Related blog posts

Exams and assessment


Exams (three):

  • 40% of marks  (2 hours 30 minutes)
  • 30% of marks  (1 hour 45 minutes)
  • 30% of marks (1 hour 45 minutes)

There is no non-exam assessment (NEA) for this course

Additional support if you’re under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience learning online works best when either a parent or guardian are involved. This is why NEC has developed our unique Progress Tracker to help you to support your child.

NEC’s Progress Tracker will allow you to easily track your child’s progress across their subjects and gain insight to how well they are doing through access to their assignment grades and tutor feedback.  

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.

Arrange a callback with a member of our Course Advice Team.

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!