Classics and English | University of Oxford
bookcase
Enormous, elaborate and highly decorated, the Great Bookcase was made to hold art books in the London office of William Burges (1827–81), the eminent Victorian architect and designer.
(Credit: Ashmolean Museum)

Classics and English

mortar boardUCAS code

QQ38 (Classics and English)
QQH8 (Classics II and English)

calendarDuration

3 years (Course I BA)
4 years (Course II BA)

pencilEntrance requirementsAAA (in Latin and Greek if taken)HeadSubject requirements  Latin and/or Greek (for Course I only), English Literature or English Language and Literature 
tickAdmissions test(s)

ox.ac.uk/cat
ox.ac.uk/elat

tickWritten workTwo pieces
bar chartAdmissions statistics*

Interviewed: 84%
Successful: 27%
Intake: 10
*3-year average 2016-18

phoneContact

+44 (0) 1865 288372
Email Classics
+44 (0) 1865 271055
Email English

Subject requirements:       Essential       Recommended       Helpful – may be useful on course

The Classics and English degree at Oxford gives students the opportunity to study the literature and culture of the ancient and modern world, both separately and in comparison; to trace ideas, forms, and genres across cultures and time; and to think about continuities and change in how people think, write, and imagine their world. All students study either Latin or Greek or both, so that they can encounter ancient literature in the original language(s). Course I is a three-year course for candidates with an A-level or equivalent in either Latin or Greek; Course II is for those who have not had the opportunity to study either language at school or college and includes a preliminary year, in which students learn Latin or Greek alongside some study of classical literature, making it a four-year course.


You can choose to specialise in what you find most interesting from each side of the course, taking a range of options in English literature, and in ancient literature, history, philosophy, and linguistics. But the degree also integrates the two sides of its course, offering several papers designed specifically for the kind of comparative work that the course encourages. In the first year (second, for Course II), students take a paper in English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – the period during which writers were most consistently and intensely engaged with the languages and literatures of ancient Greece and Rome. Among the highlights of the latter two years are the four ‘link papers’: all students take Epic, and read and compare authors such as Homer, Virgil, Milton, Alice Oswald, and Derek Walcott; and then choose to take either Comedy, Tragedy, or Reception (in which you study the reception of ancient literature in 20th-century poetry). (Students who choose to take up a second classical language in their second (third for Course II) year only take Epic.) The dissertation allows students to pursue an independently devised topic with an expert supervisor, which may combine the subjects or focus on an aspect of one of them. All of the courses allow students to pursue the twists and turns of literary genres across time.

Oxford has a long and distinguished tradition of research and teaching in both Classics and English, and possesses remarkable library provision in both subjects. Oxford has the largest Classics department and programme of courses in the world, with outstanding teaching, library and museum resources, including the Sackler  and Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and a designated Classics Centre. The English Faculty is the largest English department in Britain. All Oxford colleges have tutors in English who are responsible for tutorial teaching (in groups of three students or fewer) in their own college. Many also give lectures to all students in the English Faculty. You therefore have the opportunity to learn from a wide range of specialist teachers. Library provision for English at Oxford is exceptionally good: all students have access to the Bodleian Library (with its extensive manuscript collection), the English Faculty Library, their own college libraries, and a wide range of electronic resources.

 students at a college Inside a library students

“I was able to learn Ancient Greek from scratch here. It didn’t come naturally to me, but with an hour-long class every day for a year I was doing prose composition by my third term. Doing a joint honours course allows you to bring different perspectives to all of your subjects. Thinking about Renaissance literature with knowledge of the Classics means you have a very different perspective from someone studying straight English, for example. It’s a unique kind of literary criticism. If you think idiosyncratically and are interested in everything, then this is definitely the course to do.” 
EMMA

“Classics & English at Oxford is an excellent course for those who have a real interest in how the two subjects interact; not only through the fascinating range of link papers available, but also through the number of other papers associated with only one half of the course. There is so much choice, and such personalised teaching due to the small year size, that there are always opportunities to specialise in your own interests, which is a real privilege. I have also been able to study both Greek and Latin from scratch since starting at Oxford, which makes for a deep understanding of classical and modern languages, and a far richer understanding of literature.”
INDIA
“The Classics and English link papers really set the course apart from equivalent courses at other universities, allowing you to get a real sense of how classical texts have influenced English ones, and how writers in English have responded to classical texts. My favourite paper was probably one that focused on classical receptions in twentieth-century poetry, for which I wrote an extended essay on 1960s plays by Nigerian playwrights that were adaptations or translations of Greek plays, which really brought home to me the persistent relevance of classical literature and the continuing power of the classical world to express and explore modern tensions.”
FRANCESCA

A typical week

A typical week is structured around two tutorials in different subjects, with the rest of your time divided between lectures, classes (including languages classes) and private study. Most of your work will be preparation of essays for tutorials (you will be expected to produce between eight and twelve pieces of written work during a term), however, language-learning and reading will also require considerable time. Much of your teaching will take place in your college, but you will attend three to four lectures a week in either faculty. 

Tutorials are usually up to three students and a tutor. Class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose. There would usually be no more than around 15 students. Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by academics who are specialists in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by qualified postgraduate students studying at doctoral level.

This table is a summary of Course I. In Course II students have a preliminary year studying Latin or Greek, and then follow the structure outlined below. To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

YEAR 1

COURSES

Five papers are taken:

  • Introduction to English language and literature
  • Literature in English 1550–1660
  • Unseen translation for Classics
  • Greek and/or Latin literature (two papers)
Note: Course II students spend an additional preliminary year learning Latin or Greek, alongside some study of classical literature.

ASSESSMENT

Four written papers form the first University examination, together with a submitted portfolio of two essays for Introduction to English language and literature. All exams must be passed, but marks do not count towards the final degree.

YEARS 2 AND 3

COURSES

Seven papers are taken:
  • Two link papers, one compulsory (Epic), and a choice from Comedy, Tragedy, Reception
  • Two papers from the English single honours course, including one period paper not taken in the first year
  • One core paper in Latin or in Greek literature
  • One Classics option
  • Dissertation of 8,000 words, either interdisciplinary or focused on English or Classics
A full list of current options is available on the Classics course website and on the English department website.

ASSESSMENT

Up to three papers examined as coursework (extended essays and dissertation). The remaining papers will then be examined by final written examinations.

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.

Academic requirements 

A-levels:AAA (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken)
Advanced Highers:    AA/AAB (with A in Latin, if taken)
IB: 39 (including core points) with 666 at HL (and an aggregate of 12 in Latin and Greek, if taken)   
Or any other equivalent (see other UK qualifications, and international qualifications

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.  (See further information on how we use contextual data.) 

Subject requirements

All candidates (Course I and II)
 Essential:Candidates are expected to have English Literature, or English Language and Literature, to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. 
Course I only
 Essential:  Candidates should normally have Latin and/or Greek to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or equivalent.

If, and only if, you have chosen to take any science A-levels, we expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement.

If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.

Applying

All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown in applying to Oxford. The information below gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions test

Test: CAT and ELAT
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline:                   6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      

All candidates must take the relevant section(s) of the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) as part of their application. Separate registration for each test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for these tests. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. Everything you need to know, including guidance on how to prepare, can be found on the CAT page and the ELAT page

Written work

Description: Two pieces of written work, where possible one relevant to Classics and one to English. Candidates will preferably not submit short, timed essays or exercises answering questions on a short passage of text.
Submission deadline:  10 November 2019

For general guidance, see our further guidance on the submission of written work.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for curious, independent students with a real commitment to the wide-ranging study and comparison of literatures. The English Literature Admissions Test and written work help us to gauge your analytical skills, and your writing. Successful candidates will also either demonstrate a strong potential for language-learning, if applying for Course II, or existing competence in Latin or Greek, for Course I: these skills are tested by the Classics Admissions Test.

Interviews allow us to explore your enthusiasm for literature and the comparative aspects of the course, your response to new ideas and information, and your independent thinking and reading. We expect you to have read widely in English and classical literature (in translation or in the original), and to have an appetite for talking and writing about literature and approaches to it. However we are not looking for any reading in particular: we are interested your own ideas, interests, and in seeing how you think. 

For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Classics and English websites.

Careers                   

Many graduates in Classics and English have entered fields such as teaching, the media, management consultancy, the law, finance, advertising, journalism, writing, librarianship, or have continued to further study in one or both subjects.

Philip, now a writer, says: ‘Since graduating I have embarked on a career in writing and journalism. I have published two novels, write for a wide range of magazines and papers, and am a Contributing Editor to Literary Review, the Periscope Post and Port. My degree helped me develop the analytical, presentational and linguistic skills that are paramount in the media world.’

Oxford University is committed to recruiting the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. We offer a generous package of financial support to Home/EU students from lower-income households. (UK nationals living in the UK are usually Home students.)

Fees

These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2019.

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU£9,250
Islands
(Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,250
Overseas£26,235

For more information please refer to our course fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Living costs

Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.

Living costs for the academic year starting in 2019 are estimated to be between £1,058 and £1,643 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.

Financial support

Home/EU

A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK)/EU students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2019 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to those from households with incomes of £16,000 or less. This support is available in addition to the government living costs support.  See further details.

Islands
(Channel Islands and Isle of Man)

Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.

Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:

States of Jersey
States of Guernsey
Isle of Man

Overseas

Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.

*If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Classics and English

There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.

For KIS data for this course  please see Classics and English.

Contextual information

The Key Information Sets provides applicants with statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford. But there is so much more to an Oxford degree that the numbers can’t convey.

The Oxford tutorial

College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.

During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your college tutorials will be from your year group, doing the same course as you and will normally be at your college. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education

College life

Our colleges are at the heart of Oxford’s reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

  • At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
  • Each college has a unique character, but generally their facilities are similar. Each one, large or small, will have the following essential facilities:
    • Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
    • Dining hall
    • Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
    • Student accommodation
    • Tutors’ teaching rooms
    • Chapel and/or music rooms
    • Laundry
    • Green spaces
    • Common room (known as the JCR).
  • All first year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
  • All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
  • While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.

More about Oxford colleges and how you choose

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