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Major: Ancient History - Egypt and Near East

Major Details

Ancient History - Egypt and Near East


Department of Ancient History
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and the Near East (3)
Egyptian Archaeology: An Introduction (3)

200 level

6cp from
From Ur to Babylon: A History of Israel from Abraham to the Babylonian Exile (3)
The New Testament in its Times (3)
Pagans, Jews and Christians: Athens and Jerusalem (3)
The Historical Geography of Biblical Lands (3)
Egypt in the First Millennium CE (3)
Ancient Egyptian Literature (3)
Ancient Egyptian Culture and Society (3)
Ancient Egyptian Art (3)

300 level

Capstone Unit: Egypt and the Near East (3)
9cp from
Women and Gender in the Ancient World (3)
Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age (3)
Rome's Persian Wars (3)
Early China: History and Archaeology (3)
Religions along the Silk Road (3)
Archaeological Field Work (3)
Early Christian Literature and Thought (3)
Ancient Israel in its Near Eastern Context (3)
A History of Magic: From the Magi to Merlin (3)
Dialogue of Civilisations: The Near East and Egypt (3)
Material Culture and Museum Studies (3)
Archaeology of Early Egypt (3)
Egypt in the Old Kingdom (3)
Egypt in the Middle Kingdom (3)
Egypt in the New Kingdom (3)
Ancient Egyptian Religion (3)
Scientific Archaeology and Ancient Egypt (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program This major offers the comprehensive study of the history, society, religions, material culture and languages of ancient Egypt and the Near East. A critical interdisciplinary approach integrates ancient history subjects with the disciplines of archaeology, ancient languages, art history, epigraphy, papyrology and numismatics to provide the knowledge and skills required for subsequent learning and research at postgraduate level. The structure of the major is flexible to allow students to shape the major and tailor their studies to suit their personal interests. Students may enrol in the program in internal or external modes. Learning is enhanced by practical experience provided through artefact analysis and archaeological fieldwork, which complements theoretical training and utilises resources from the Macquarie Museum of Ancient Cultures. The major reflects the diversity of subject areas available in the Department of Ancient History, which covers the pre-, proto- and historic cultures of Egypt and the Middle-East, capitalising on the expertise at Macquarie University to offer the only extensive program in Egyptology in New South Wales.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. demonstrate a broad and coherent body of knowledge, with depth in the underlying principles and concepts of branches of ancient world studies pertinent to ancient Egypt and/or the Near East (K, A)
2. illustrate knowledge of historical developments, research principles and discipline specific methodologies relevant to ancient Egypt and/or the Near East in one or more of the disciplines: archaeology; art and architecture; epigraphy; language and literature; material culture; numismatics; and papyrology (K)
3. explain the principles and processes by which data from ancient Egypt and/or the Near East is analysed, evaluated and interpreted (K, T)
4. illustrate awareness and respect for professional (academic), ethical and sustainability principles and values (E, A)

5. conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate historical information and relevant theoretical concepts about ancient Egypt and/or the Near East, gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication (K, T)
6. integrate knowledge and imagination (looking at ideas and concepts from meaningful original perspectives), and evaluation (employing critical thinking) as a foundation for developing creative learning behaviour (K, T, I)
7. present a clear, coherent, evidence-based exposition of knowledge and ideas about ancient Egypt and/or the Near East in audio, digital, oral, visual and/or written form (C)

8. examine and critically evaluate historical data with initiative and judgement and illustrate competency through devising and sustaining arguments and solving problems associated with the study of ancient Egypt and/or the Near East (K, J, P)
9. independently design, execute and document a coherent research-based project (P, J)
10. engage with contemporary cultural perspectives and practices and contextualise historical knowledge (personalities, events, periods) and issues (ideologies, philosophies, traditions) according to intellectual and/or methodological and/or ethical conventions (A, J, E).
Learning and Teaching Methods We expect our students to engage with learning and achieve the learning outcomes through:
• production of assessment tasks designed to develop and integrate knowledge and skills and support their application [acquisition]
• independent and in-class practice to reinforce knowledge and skills [practice]
• teacher-led discussion of key historical features and themes pertaining to the study of ancient Egypt and/or the Near East [discussion]
• collaboration in group activities [collaboration]
• critical engagement with primary/secondary evidence and material culture (especially at advanced levels) [production]
• inquiry within the research component of assessment tasks (especially at advanced levels) [inquiry].

Across this program we employ blended learning to support these processes. Production of assessments, collaborative work, and discussions of historical features and themes pertaining to the study of ancient Egypt and/or the Near East are coordinated using iLearn sites in combination with class-room teaching and, where appropriate, practical work (handling of artefacts and/or fieldwork).

We consider that the study of the history of ancient Egypt and/or the Near East is a key component in the investigation of ancient cultures. We focus on ancient evidence as artefacts, incorporating extensive analysis of archaeological data, documentary materials (inscriptions, papyri, ostraca , etc.), and art history. This broad spectrum of information provides the basis for critical engagement and inquiry into the significance of historical features and themes for the study of relevant ancient cultures, which is pursued especially at advanced levels of this program.
Assessment This major offers the comprehensive study of the history, society, religions, material culture and languages of ancient Egypt and the Near East from the Predynastic Egypt (c. 3000 BCE) to the Near East and Late Antiquity, including the origins of Christianity and Judaism (c. 600 CE). Students will study events and personalities and engage in a study of the cultural patterns and traditions that make up our modern understanding of the ancient world.

The methods used to assess the learning outcomes vary in some respects according to the special demands of individual units. The methods employed across the program (not at every level for every unit) may be summarised as follows:
• Tests on historical information assess foundational knowledge and skills.
• Formal tutorial preparation (incorporating directed discussion of questions set for each meeting or online forum) as well as individual and/or group presentations/discussions assess the integration of foundational knowledge and skills.
• Evidence-based analysis and essays (especially at the higher levels) test not only the integration of foundational knowledge and skills, but also foster the creative application of historical research skills, analysis and evaluation data from ancient cultures.
• Final examinations allow students to demonstrate their overall command of unit content.

Assessment tasks are carefully graduated to guide and focus engagement with the learning outcomes. Carefully scaffolded and sequenced assessment tasks are a feature (including low-risk activities, a quote of formal weighted tasks, and/or a final examination), encouraging regular practice and reinforcement of knowledge and skills and their integrated application. Students can also closely monitor their own learning throughout the session and staff can identify and address potential learning difficulties. Modified development of content across assessments is also important to this program’s methodology, with a view to systematic development of control over the learning outcomes.

The assessment regime is designed to account for both assessment of learning and assessment for learning.
• In-class or online quizzes periodically test student control over foundational knowledge and skills.
• Evidence-based oral and/or written exercises provide both a process by which students can learn to integrate the foundational knowledge and skills and an opportunity to assess their competency in this area.
• Textual, documentary and material analyses and essays continue to assess foundational knowledge and historical skills. They also require students to put these skills to new uses by formulating arguments and applying their communicative and analystical skills creatively in a broader context.
• Final examinations provide a summative assessment of command over unit content.

This assessment regime encourages and rewards regular and systematic learning. Specific assessments also foster independent investigation, the development of research and critical thinking skills, and foster reflection on the significance of historical features and themes for the study of relevant ancient cultures. Regular practice and revision of knowledge and skills are crucial. The program deploys early low-risk assessments, major research-based assessments and final overview assessments.

Students need to be alert to the value of working regularly and systematically to gain maximum benefit from units (nine hours per week per unit, as per the University’s expectations). For staff the effective teaching of ancient world studies pertaining to ancient Egypt and the Near East is inevitably labour-intensive. The program addresses this by mixing automated quizzes (where appropriate) with traditional marking practices. A central aim of this major is to harmonise excellence in learning and teaching with the balancing of workload pressures.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability The major endows our graduates with transferable knowledge and skills (i.e. research, communication, critical thinking) and enables them to pursue a career in education, tourism, media and in the library sector and/or prepares students for further study in ancient history and related fields.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148