Classical Civilisation A Level

An A level in Classical Civilisation will enable you to gain a knowledge and understanding of the classical world through the study of a diverse range of ancient literature, thought and culture. You'll cover both social and historical contexts in order to understand the legacy of the classical world.

This course is one of our new Gold Star A levels. Find out more about them here.



Course requirements

A general education up to GCSE level or equivalent is recommended for this course, and a GCSE in English Literature would be very useful. This is an online course so you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

It's really up to you but, as a guide, an A level course takes about 250-300 hours plus extra time for assignment work you submit to your tutor. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 24 months from the date of enrolment. Many students allow 18-24 months to complete an A level, but some complete the course within a year.


This course follows specification H408 from the awarding organisation OCR. Full details of the specifications can be obtained from OCR's website.


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
  • TBC

Section 6 - The theatre of Dionysus: Bacchae
  • TBC

Section 7 - Old comedy: Frogs
  • TBC

Section 8 - The gods
  • TBC

Section 9 - Greek worship, sacrifice, festivals and oracles
  • TBC

Section 10 - Sanctuary sites: Acropolis, Delphi and Olympia
  • TBC

Exams and assessment

Three exams:
  • 2 hours 20 minutes, 40% of marks
  • 1 hour 45 minutes, 30% of marks
  • 1 hour 45 minutes, 30% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):
  • None


Assignments do not contribute towards your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to gauge your progress as you work through the course.

This course has:
  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 10 assignments

Set texts and resources

Additional texts:
  • 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

Using learn@nec

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser

  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above.
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team.
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

Paying in instalments

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:
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Total repayable:  
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The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

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A Level Classical Civilisation Course Sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

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What our students say...

"NEC have made this course very accessible and it is a very enjoyable and well-written study. The texts are superb. Personally I can’t recommend this course enough!"
— Robin Beers