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

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 (approximately two-thirds of the degree) and the second subject is an additional subject (approximately one-third of the degree).


Oxford is ideally placed for the combined study of Classics and Oriental Studies, not least in the numerous and varied teaching staff in each faculty, and the resources of the Ashmolean Museum and the Sackler Library.

COS Careers

Students develop good linguistic and analytical abilities and will thus be very attractive to employers from a wide variety of sectors. Knowledge of a modern language opens up opportunities for careers with international companies or organisations. The Languages Work website has further information about such careers.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider other Classics courses or other Oriental Studies courses.

Classics with Oriental Studies
1st year, 2nd year (terms 1–5)2nd, 3rd and 4th years (terms 6–12)


Follow the course for Classics (refer to Classics page)


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.

First University examinations in Classics (refer to Classics page)


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

Oriental Studies with Classics
1st year2nd year (for languages with a year abroad)2nd and 3rd year (for languages without a year abroad)or 3rd and 4th year (for languages with a year abroad)


Select main language:

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


Year abroad: approved course of language instruction.


Carry on with Oriental Studies options and choose classical language:

  • Greek
  • Latin
A full list of current options is available on the Classics and Oriental Studies websites.

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


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.

  • 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 and an aggregate of 12 in Latin and Greek, if taken
  • Or any other equivalent

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.

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 2017.

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

(Channel Islands
& Isle of Man)

For more information please refer to our tuition 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 on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of 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 2017 are estimated to be between £1,002 and £1,471 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


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

Tuition fee support arrangements for EU students commencing their studies in 2017 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. Information will be updated on this page as soon as it is announced.

In 2017 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 living costs support.  See further details.

(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


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

Fees, Funding and Scholarship search

Additional Fees and Charges Information for Oriental Studies

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.

Written work

Candidates are expected to submit two pieces of written work by 10 November 2016. For those taking one or more classical subjects already, at least one of these should be on a classical topic. For further details, see the Classics and the Oriental Studies pages.

Written test

All candidates for Classics with Oriental Studies (Q8T9) must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT), normally at their own school or college, on 2 November 2016. Please see the separate entry for Classics for further information.

Candidates for Classics with Oriental Studies (Q8T9) intending to study Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, or Persian should always take ‘Part B’ of the CAT (in addition to any other parts required), which is a test of language aptitude.

All candidates for Oriental Studies with Classics (T9Q8) intending to study Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew or  Persian must take the Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT), normally at their own school or college, on 2 November 2016.  For details please see the separate entry for Oriental Studies

Separate registration is required for both tests and the final deadline for entries is 15 October 2016. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure they are registered for the appropriate test.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are keen to find out about your linguistic ability and commitment to a wide-ranging course. Ability to sustain an argument is also important.

Selection criteria

Candidates may wish to refer to the selection criteria for Classics and for Oriental Studies.

Suggested reading

Please see the information for Classics and for Oriental Studies.


Watch a series of short videos of students talking about some aspect of their time at Oxford.

Clare, 3rd year

'I’m a third year studying Classics and Arabic, and absolutely love both my college and my course. I came from a girls’ school with a small sixth form, so I wanted to be somewhere a lot bigger. The size of my college means that you don’t know everyone there, but it makes for a great relaxed and open atmosphere, and there’s always the chance to meet new people.

Classics is fantastic if you’re not quite sure what you like: you can do literature, philosophy, history, and some fairly hardcore 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! It’s really exciting to learn something so completely new – and the Oriental Institute has a great tearoom!

When I’m not rushing between departments, or trying to remember which direction to write in, I’m usually singing in the college’s chapel choir, working as the college’s Environment and Ethics officer, or relaxing at the University Poetry Society.'

Tikva, who graduated in 2007

She is now a teacher. She says:    

‘After graduating, I initially worked as a Classics teacher at Clifton College, Bristol, before taking up my current position at Beth Jacob Grammar School as an English Teacher. I also work as a Classics tutor during the evenings and at weekends.’

For KIS data for this course please see Classics and Oriental Studies.

Contextual information

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.

More information about tutorials

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.

More about Oxford’s unique college system and how to choose a college