The National Extension College
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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.
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?
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
- A beggar at the palace
- The battle for Penelope
- Narrative techniques and themes
Section 3: Virgil’s world of the hero – The Aeneid, 1
- Characters and themes
- The fall of Troy
- The Underworld
Section 4: Virgil’s world of the hero – The Aeneid, 2
- A vision of Rome
- 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
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
Section 10: Sanctuary sites: Acropolis, Delphi and Olympia
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 Cambridge, taught Latin and Greek at universities for decades and currently teaches Religious Studies and Latin at a sixth form college.
What you need to know
- 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.
- 11 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
Our course fees are open and honest to help you plan for any additional costs.
Your course fee includes:
- Access to learn@nec
- All the course materials you need to complete the course
- Support from a personal tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
- Assignment marking
- Coursework marking and authentication
- Marking for one past paper
- Guaranteed exam place
- NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
- Time planner to help you plan your study timetable
- Information on how to apply for exams
- Academic references if needed
Your course fee does not cover:
- Exam entry fees
- Additional textbooks
- Additional past paper marking
- Revision tutorial
- Optional tutorial
- Additional review
Exams and assessment
- 40% of marks (2 hours 20 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 the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.
- Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
- Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
- You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
- Dedicated Parent Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.
- Access to the Kudos career platform for young learners to explore career choices.
Who is this course for?
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.
- A general education up to GCSE level or equivalent is recommended, and a GCSE in English literature would be useful
- An ability to read and write in English
- 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.
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