Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 2 Classical Studies

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mrs G. Fernandez.

Recommended Prior Learning

10 credits in any Level 1 subject, or by HOD approval.

Classical Studies is about the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The course is both challenging and exciting and is designed to interest students of different abilities and educational / cultural backgrounds.

It focuses on:

  • Famous people who influenced the ideas and values of ancient society and shaped the world we live in.
  • Classical mythology: stories about gods and heroes, including their purpose and relevance to modern society.
  • Significant events and their impact on our lives and the lives of ancient people.
  • Artworks and buildings that reflect the creativity and ingenuity of ancient societies and form the basis for modern art and architecture. 


Classical Studies is a suitable subject for students who enjoy variety in their learning. It is engaging and relevant for our students and the global world we live in.

It provides:

  • Cultural enrichment 
  • Understanding of the origins of western civilisation.

It also helps develop skills, including:

  • Literacy
  • Communication, organization and research
  • Critical and creative thinking

In conclusion:

Classical Studies enhances personal growth and prepares students for a wide range of careers.


In 2024 students will learn about:

  • Homer's Odyssey: We follow the adventure-filled journey of the egotistical but lovable Odysseus. We encounter giants, monsters and nymphs and learn about the ideas and values that were fundamental to classical society.
  • Heroes and Hollywood: why and how major motion pictures are still inspired from ancient legendary heroes (Achilles and Perseus) and ancient historical events (Leonidas and his '300').
  • Destruction of Pompeii: The iconic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the subsequent burial of Pompeii and what its remains convey about life in the Roman Empire.
  • Art and Architecture: The glorious stories and people behind some of the most famous artworks and their contributions to both ancient and modern society. In addition, why ancient art and architecture continues to inspire and influence modern practices.

"Classics is about building knowledge and developing critical thinking, not passing on information" 

Associate Professor of Classics, Canterbury University

2023 Classical Studies Educational tour to Greece and Italy - Amphitheatre in Pompeii

Learning Areas:

Social Science

Assessment Information

1) Examine how a significant event opens a window into Roman society of the 1st century AD: Students will carry out research, analyse primary visual and literary resources and write a report in which they explain how the eruption of mount Vesuvius provides knowledge and understanding of Roman society.
2) Examine how classical mythology has influenced modern Hollywood movies : Students will carry out research, analyse primary visual and literary resources and write a report in which they explain the nature of the classical hero and how (and why) he is portrayed in modern Hollywood movies.
EXTERNAL Assessments:
Students will have a 3 hour examination to write extended paragraphs on the two Achievement Standards studied during the year (The ideas and values of Homeric society and Art and Architecture).
They will be provided with 4 questions on each Achievement Standard and will be asked to respond to ONE of these questions.


NCEA Level 3 Classical Studies

Classical Studies students are well prepared to enter a wide range of careers and courses.
Our past students are now employed in a huge variety of careers. For example:
Marketing, digital technology, journalism, law, architecture, travel and tourism, broadcasting, publishing, human resources, art galleries & museums, teaching, theater/performance, banking, diplomatic service, and SO MANY MORE

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Costs: Possibly $20-40 for field trip.
Stationery: Ring-binder, refill and clear copysafe pockets.