Classics and English appeals to those interested in the interactions of historically diverse literary cultures. English may be taken with Latin or Greek or both. For candidates with an A-level or equivalent in either Latin or Greek or both, this is a three-year course (Course I). For those who have not had the opportunity to study either language at school or college there is a preliminary year in which they learn Latin or Greek alongside some study of classical literature; for them the course lasts four years (Course II).
Oxford has a long and distinguished tradition of research and teaching in both Classics and English, and possesses remarkable library provision in both subjects.
The first year of the course (which follows the preliminary year of language learning for those taking Course II) is divided between the classical and English elements. The highlight of the Classics and English course is the link papers, which are studied over the second and third years. They provide an opportunity to compare texts from both sides of the course and to study classical influence. Further papers are also chosen from each of the ‘parent’ subjects.
Many graduates in Classics and English have entered fields such as teaching, the media, management, advertising and librarianship, or have continued to further study in their subject.
Philip is now a writer. He says: ‘Since graduating I have embarked on a career in writing and journalism. I have published two novels, and 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.’
A typical weekly timetable
Students usually have two tutorials a week, plus language classes. They are often (but not always) working on two papers simultaneously. Most students attend three to four lectures a week and produce around twelve pieces of written work during a term.
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.
Five papers are taken:
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.
|2nd and 3rd years|
CoursesSeven papers are taken:
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.
- A-levels: AAA (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken)
- Advanced Highers: AA/AAB (with As in Latin and Greek, if taken)
- IB: 39 (including core points) with 666 at HL (with an aggregate of 12 in Latin and Greek, if taken)
- Or any other equivalent
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. Applicants for Course I would be expected to have Latin and/or Greek to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. Course II is designed for candidates with no experience of studying the classical languages.
All candidates must also take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) as part of their application. Please see how to apply for further details.
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.)
These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2016.
Total annual fees
& Isle of Man)
Living costs for 2016/17 are estimated to be between £970 and £1,433 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.
A full loan is available from the UK government to cover tuition fees for students undertaking their first undergraduate degree*, so you don’t need to pay your tuition fees up front.
In 2016 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to those on a family income of £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 grants and loans. See further details.
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:
Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford support 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
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.
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.
Candidates are normally expected to submit two pieces of written work, where possible one relevant to Classics and one to English, by 10 November 2016. Candidates will preferably not submit short, timed essays or exercises answering questions on a short passage of text.
All candidates must take both the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) and the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT), normally at their own school or college, on 2 November 2016.
Please refer to the pages for Classics and for English Language and Literature for further details.
Separate registration for each test is required. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for these tests.
What are tutors looking for?
Successful candidates will be expected to display competence in Latin or Greek (or general language aptitude if applying for Course II). They will have read widely in English and classical literature (in the original or translation), and will enjoy talking and writing about literature and approaches to it. Shortlisted candidates may be asked to discuss a piece of prose or verse, supplied before or in the interview.
Jennifer Peng, Visiting Student from John Hopkins University
Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.
Emma, 3rd year
'The tutors really put me at my ease during my interview. My experience is definitely that they would rather have someone who is passionate about a subject they don’t know very much about, than someone who knows a lot but isn’t interested in discussing and learning.
I had applied for Latin, but after I compared Aristophanes to Blackadder in the interview they persuaded me that I really wanted to study Greek. They were definitely right! Now I’m studying literature that I love, in the original language.
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.
As a state school student from a small village who’d never studied Classics before, I feel it’s important that I do a lot of Access work. I’ve also been involved in my Junior Common Room Committee, the college choir (non-auditioning, thank God!), the college netball team, OUSU women’s campaign … This term, I’m also fashion editing The Cherwell (student newspaper), which involves recruiting photographers, models, locations, clothes, and the graphic design of the page. I also have plans for a blog about ethical, affordable fashion.
I’d really recommend that anyone comes and spends some time in Oxford to get a feel for the place. The pay-off for all this hard work is getting to play about with some fantastic traditions, but you don’t have to buy into them or take them seriously if you don’t want to. I like being part of traditions, but I don’t let them define me. My tutor always says ‘Oxford doesn’t make you – you make Oxford what it is’.
Philip, who graduated in 2000
He is now a writer. He says:
‘Since graduating I have embarked on a career in writing and journalism. I have published two novels, and 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.’
The Key Information Sets provide a lot of numbers about the Oxford experience – but there is so much about what you get here that numbers can’t convey. It’s not just the quantity of the Oxford education that you need to consider, there is also the quality – let us tell you more.
Oxford’s tutorial system
Regular tutorials, which are the responsibility of the colleges, are the focal point of teaching and learning at Oxford. The tutorial system is one of the most distinctive features of an Oxford education: it ensures that students work closely with tutors throughout their undergraduate careers, and offers a learning experience which is second to none.
A typical tutorial is a one-hour meeting between a tutor and one, two, or three students to discuss reading and written work that the students have prepared in advance. It gives students the chance to interact directly with tutors, to engage with them in debate, to exchange ideas and argue, to ask questions, and of course to learn through the discussion of the prepared work. Many tutors are world-leaders in their fields of research, and Oxford undergraduates frequently learn of new discoveries before they are published.
Each student also receives teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. But the tutorial is the place where all the elements of the course come together and make sense. Meeting regularly with the same tutor – often weekly throughout the term – ensures a high level of individual attention and enables the process of learning and teaching to take place in the context of a student’s individual needs.
The tutorial system also offers the sustained commitment of one or more senior academics – as college tutors – to each student’s progress. It helps students to grow in confidence, to develop their skills in analysis and persuasive argument, and to flourish as independent learners and thinkers.
The benefits of the college system
- Every Oxford student is a member of a college. The college system is at the heart of the Oxford experience, giving students the benefits of belonging to both a large and internationally renowned university and a much smaller, interdisciplinary, college community.
- Each college brings together academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and college staff. The college gives its members the chance to be part of a close and friendly community made up of both leading academics and students from different subjects, year groups, cultures and countries. The relatively small size of each college means that it is easy to make friends and contribute to college life. There is a sense of belonging, which can be harder to achieve in a larger setting, and a supportive environment for study and all sorts of other activities.
- Colleges organise tutorial teaching for their undergraduates, and one or more college tutors will oversee and guide each student’s progress throughout his or her career at Oxford. The college system fosters a sense of community between tutors and students, and among students themselves, allowing for close and supportive personal attention to each student’s academic development.
It is the norm that undergraduates live in college accommodation in their first year, and in many cases they will continue to be accommodated by their college for the majority or the entire duration of their course. Colleges invest heavily in providing an extensive range of services for their students, and as well as accommodation colleges provide food, library and IT resources, sports facilities and clubs, drama and music, social spaces and societies, access to travel or project grants, and extensive welfare support. For students the college often becomes the hub of their social, sporting and cultural life.