Classics and Oriental Studies | University of Oxford
Classics and Oriental Studies
Detail of a statue in the Ashmolean Museum.
(Image credit: Richard Watts).

Classics and Oriental Studies

mortar boardUCAS code

Q8T9 (Classics with Oriental Studies)
T9Q8 (Oriental Studies with Classics)

calendarDuration4 years (BA)
pencilEntrance requirementsAAA (in Latin and Greek if taken)HeadSubject requirements  Latin and/or Greek 
tickAdmissions test(s)

ox.ac.uk/cat
ox.ac.uk/olat

tickWritten workTwo pieces
phoneContact Classics+44 (0) 1865 288372
Email Classics
phoneContact Oriental Studies

+44 (0) 1865 278312
Email Oriental Studies

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

This course allows you to combine the study of an Oriental language and culture with Latin and/or Greek and the study of the ancient world. There are two options: Classics with Oriental Studies (Q8T9) and Oriental Studies with Classics (T9Q8). In each case the subject mentioned first is the main subject (about two-thirds of the degree) and the second is an additional subject (about one-third of the degree). This joint honours degree provides an exciting opportunity for students who want to focus on interdisciplinary studies. It enables students to explore the cultural development and crossover in places such as Iran, Egypt and India. You will study the relationship between the languages and cultures of the great monotheistic religions within their various Greek and Roman contexts.



Oxford is ideally placed for the combined study of Classics and Oriental Studies, not least due to the numerous and varied teaching staff in each faculty, and the resources of the Ashmolean Museum, the Sackler Library and the China Centre. The Bodleian Oriental Institute Library has core collections comprising Islamic, South Asian and Jewish Studies. Oxford has the largest Classics faculty and programme of courses in the world, with outstanding teaching, library and museum resources and a designated Classics Centre.

students socializing students socializing
“The Classics and Oriental Studies course is an enriching opportunity to broaden the usual frontiers of the study of Classics, by adding to it one language considered to be culturally external to the Greek and Roman civilisations. The languages to choose between are numerous, each of which has the potential to change your perspective both of Classics and of the world. On the other hand, the study of Classics will teach you a lot about how to look at the language of the Oriental Studies part. I am reading Classics IB with Arabic. Having chosen a linguistics paper for Mods (second-year examinations), which focuses on Indo-European, the study of Arabic, a Semitic and unrelated language, is fascinating. In many ways, this course can be remarkably stimulating for students who wish to learn about linguistics. You can choose to take Sanskrit or Armenian, for example, both instrumental in understanding Indo-European.”
DOMINIQUE
 

“I’m a third year studying Classics and Arabic, and absolutely love both my college and my course. Classics is fantastic if you’re not quite sure what you like: you can do literature, philosophy, history, and some fairly hard-core linguistics along the way. I did a linguistics paper and a modern philosophy paper for my second year exams, as well as studying the Iliad and the Aeneid. After those first exams, I chose five Classics papers from a vast range of options, alongside my three Arabic papers. I’m focusing on Greek history and Latin literature, though I’m considering a Byzantine paper as well. The Arabic classes are two hours long, three times a week. This was a bit of a shock to start with but it is really satisfying to come away knowing so much more after each class. Arabic grammar is fiendish, but I haven’t come across anything as bad as Greek -mi verbs yet!” 
CLARE

A typical week

Your time will be divided between lectures, tutorials (typically two a week, in different subjects) and private study. Most of your work will involve preparing essays for your tutorials, although systematic language-learning and reading of texts also require considerable time and effort. Much of the teaching will take place in your college, but lectures are given in the Classics Faculty, Oriental Institute and the Examination Schools, and for particular subjects you may work with tutors from other colleges.

Tutorials in colleges usually involve up to three students and a tutor. Class sizes will vary depending on the options you choose, and there are usually 5-20 students in a class. 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.

To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

Course structure (Classics with Oriental Studies)

YEARS 1-2 (TERMS 1–5)YEARS 2, 3 AND 4 (TERMS 6–12)

COURSES

Follow the course for Classics (refer to Classics page)

COURSES

Carry on with Classics options and start with chosen Oriental language from:

  • Akkadian
  • Arabic
  • Aramaic and Syriac
  • Armenian
  • Coptic
  • Egyptian
  • Hebrew
  • Old Iranian
  • Pali
  • Persian
  • Sanskrit
  • Turkish
The options listed here are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Classics and Oriental Studies websites.
ASSESSMENT

First University examinations in Classics (refer to Classics page)

ASSESSMENT

Final University examinations: eight written papers (five in Classics, three in Oriental Studies); one paper may be substituted by a thesis.

Course structure (Oriental Studies with Classics)

YEAR 1YEAR 2 (with year abroad)YEARS 2 AND 3 (without a year abroad) OR
YEARS 3 AND 4 (with a year abroad)

COURSES

Select main language:

  • Akkadian
  • Arabic*
  • Egyptian
  • Hebrew
  • Persian*
  • Sanskrit
  • Turkish*
*These languages include a year abroad in Year 2.

COURSES

Year abroad: approved course of language instruction

COURSES

Carry on with Oriental Studies options and choose either Greek or Latin

A full list of current options is available on the Oriental Studies websites.
ASSESSMENT

First University examinations in Oriental Studies (refer to Oriental Studies page)

 ASSESSMENT

Final University examinations: eight to ten written papers (five to seven in Oriental Studies, three in Classics)

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

Candidates for Classics with Oriental Studies without an A-level or similar qualification in either Greek or Latin will follow Classics Course II – please see Classics page for details.

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

Classics with Oriental Studies - Q8T9
Test: CAT (candidates intending to study Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, or Persian must take Part 3 within the CAT in addition to other parts required)
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline: 6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      
Oriental Studies with Classics - T9Q8 (Candidates intending to study Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, or Persian ONLY)
Test: OLAT
Test date:30 October 2019            
Registration deadline:6pm 15 October 2019                                                                                                      

All candidates for Classics with Oriental Studies (Q8T9) must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) as part of their application. All candidates for Oriental Studies with Classics (T9Q8) intending to study Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish must take the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT) as part of their application. 

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 respective OLAT and CAT pages. 

Written work

Description: Two pieces of written work. For those taking one or more classical subjects already, at least one of these should be on a classical topic. For those who are not taking a classical subject at school, the written work can be drawn from any subject(s): it is intended to show how you construct an argument and express your ideas in English, so the particular topic of your essay and the A-level (or equivalent) subject from which it is drawn are not important. Please contact the admissions office at your chosen college if you have any further questions about the submission of written work. For further details, see the Classics and the Oriental Studies pages.
Submission deadline:  10 November 2019

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

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). Tutors in both Classics and Oriental Studies are also looking for potential and an enquiring mind, and a real commitment to this wide-ranging subject. The ability to sustain an argument is also important. 

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

Careers

Students develop good linguistic and analytical abilities and will be very attractive to employers from a wide variety of sectors. Knowledge of a modern language opens up opportunities for careers with international companies and organisations. 

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.)

Latest information for UK undergraduates who will begin their course in 2020 can be found here. Arrangements for EU students starting in 2020 have not yet been confirmed. Read the latest information.

The fees and funding information below relates to those who will start at Oxford in 2019.

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 Oriental Studies

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 Oriental Studies.

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