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Core Course: Classics Now!


Admission requirements

All students admitted to the MA Classics are admissible. BA Classics is an admission requirement. Research MA students are admissible, but this course is extra curricular for them, since it is not aimed at acquiring Research MA level research skills.


Why do we study Classics in the modern world? In what ways can we use ancient texts as ‘tools for thinking’ to analyze current affairs and societal problems? We will study the debate on the usefulness of Classics and look at a number of currrent issues, such as the refugee crisis, the dangers of playing computer games or reading Homer, debates about the nature of art, combat trauma and the ancient Greeks and several other topics.

Course objectives

The course is designed to be useful for future teachers, but also for everyone who will use their MA Classics title to pursue other, extra-academic, careers. It is meant to strengthen the coherence and profile of the Classics track of the MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations in Leiden. It is the core course of this track, compulsory for all students.

At the end of this course:

  • Students will have acquired insight into the (historical) debate over the usefulness or relevance of the study of Classics, and learned to formulate their own position in this debates;

  • Students will be aware of the pitfalls and theoretical backgrounds to using historical evidence in contemporary debates;

  • Students will have acquired writing skills in sub-academic genres, like the essay, or the ‘letter to the editor’ (op-ed pieces), or a blog or other social media in their potential to spread ideas based on academic research;

  • Students will have familiarized themselves with possible roles of classical texts in a number of contemporary debates.


Please consult the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar. For this class, attendance is compulsory; preparation and active participation are part of the grade.

Course Load

Total course load 5 ec x 28 hours= 140 hours; or 10 ec x 28 hours= 280 hours:

  • Lectures: 13 × 2 = 26 hours;

  • Study of compulsory literature: 54 hours;

  • Assignment(s): 60 hours, including several writing and presentation assignments and oral exam.

When taken for 10 ec: additional 25 pages of Greek/Latin OCT; written paper (= 140 hours).

Assessment method

When taken for 5 ec:

  • Writing assignments (%);

  • Presentations (%);

  • Oral exam (%).

When taken for 10 ec:

  • Writing assignments (%);

  • Presentations (%);

  • Oral exam (%);

  • Paper (%).


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the overall mark is unsatisfactory, students can take a resit of those parts that were insufficient. There is no resit for the oral presentations.



Reading list



Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Research MA Students in Classics are most welcome to attend the course (extra curricular), but students who are registered for the one-year MA in the Classics specialization have priority in registering for this course.


Mw. Prof. dr. A.B. Wessels