Classics | University of Oxford
statues
The Cast Gallery within the Ashmolean Museum.
(Credit: Ashmolean Museum)

Classics

mortar boardUCAS code

Q800 (Course I)
Q810 (Course II)

calendarDuration4 years (BA)
pencilEntrance requirementsAAA (in Latin and Greek if taken)HeadSubject requirements  Latin and/or Greek (for Course I only)
tickAdmissions test(s)ox.ac.uk/cattickWritten workTwo pieces
bar chartAdmissions statistics*

Interviewed: 96%
Successful: 38%
Intake: 116
*3-year average 2016-18

phoneContact

+44 (0) 1865 288372
Email Classics

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

Classics (Literae Humaniores) is a wide-ranging degree devoted to the study of the literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It is one of the most interdisciplinary of all degrees, and offers the opportunity to study these two foundational ancient civilisations and their reception in modern times. The degree also permits students to take extensive options in modern philosophy, a flexibility which makes Oxford’s Literae Humaniores different from most other Classics courses.

Oxford has the largest Classics Faculty 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 course involves extensive study of ancient languages, with a view to studying texts in the original. Applications are welcomed from candidates with and without prior knowledge of Greek and/or Latin. The breadth of courses available means you can study papers ranging from Homeric archaeology to Byzantine literature, while the length of the course allows students to explore the various disciplines within this vast subject and to engage with their particular interests within the classical world in real depth.

The Philosophy Faculty is the largest in the UK, and one of the largest in the world, with more than 70 full-time members and a worldwide reputation. Each year the faculty admits around 450 undergraduates to read the various degrees involving Philosophy.

Fieldwork/international opportunities

Fieldwork is not a requirement in any part of the course, but some undergraduates may participate in archaeological excavations.

 students Sackler Library students taking notes
“Classics is a fabulous course in part because there is something for everyone. Even in Mods [Year 2 exams], we get to choose two of our five options. When it comes to Greats [final exams], though, everything is open to us – I think there are about 80 options, of which we can only choose eight.This means that, although when I arrived here I thought I'd be a literature buff, I actually have become a "philosopher" of sorts. I have been able to take five philosophy options ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Theory of politics and Philosophy of language, and I've loved it!”
HEATHER
“I was attracted to the Classics course at Oxford because of its diversity and commitment to learning both Latin and Ancient Greek. During the first two years, as well as intensive language classes designed to advance your ability quickly to read texts in the original language, I had the opportunity to choose from options covering topics from philosophy to ancient art. I have particularly enjoyed being on the Undergraduate Joint Consultative Committee, in which faculty members consult undergraduates for their input on the workings of and changes to be made within the department.”
LAURA

“Studying Classics prepared me for managing an enormous and varied workload. Picking apart essays with my tutors prepared me for editing other people's writing. It also gave me a good foundation of knowledge for publishing translations.”
EMMA
   

A typical week

Your time is divided between lectures, tutorials and private study. The working week is typically structured around two tutorials in different subjects. Most of your independent work will be in preparation of essays for your tutorials, although systematic language-learning and reading of texts will also require considerable time and effort. Much of the teaching will take place in your college, but lectures are given in the Classics Faculty and the Examination Schools, and for particular subjects you may also work with tutors from other colleges. For more information, visit the Classics website.

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. Some classes are jointly taught by two tutors at the same time. For centrally organised language classes in Classics, there are usually 8-10 students in a group. Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by senior staff who are active researchers in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may be delivered by postgraduate students at doctorate level. 

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

Course structure

COURSE NAMETERMS 1-5
COURSES
TERMS 1-5 
ASSESSMENTS

Course IA
(Latin and Greek, for those who have studied Latin and Greek to A-level or equivalent)

Course IB
(Latin and Greek, for those who have studied only Latin to A-level or equivalent)

Course IC
(Latin and Greek, for those who have studied only Greek to A-level or equivalent)

  • Homer’s Iliad
  • Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Texts and contexts: integrating literary/ archaeological material
  • A special subject in Philosophy (ancient or modern)
  • A classical special subject: historical, archaeological or philological
  • Greek and Latin language work

First University examinations IA: ten papers, including four language papers (Latin and Greek)

First University examinations IB: ten papers, including four language papers (Greek language work at a less advanced level than IA, Latin at the same level as IA)

First University examinations IC: ten papers, including four language papers (Latin language work at a less advanced level than IA, Greek at the same level as IA)

Course IIA 
(Latin only, for those who have not studied Greek or Latin to A-level or equivalent)
  • Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Special subjects and Texts and contexts (as Course I)
  • Latin language work
First University examinations IIA: seven papers, including two language papers
Course IIB
(Greek only, for those who have not studied Latin or Greek to A-level or equivalent)
  • Homer’s Iliad
  • Special subjects and Texts and contexts (as Course I)
  • Greek language work
First University examinations IIB: seven papers, including two language papers 
COURSE NAMETERMS 6–12
COURSES
TERMS 6-12
ASSESSMENTS

Course IA
(Latin and Greek, for those who have studied Latin and Greek to A-level or equivalent)

Course IB
(Latin and Greek, for those who have studied only Latin to A-level or equivalent)

Course IC
(Latin and Greek, for those who have studied only Greek to A-level or equivalent)
Choose eight options from more than 80 in the following subjects (no area is compulsory; it is usually possible to offer an undergraduate thesis in place of one paper: 
  • Greek and Roman history (up to five): some are period papers, others topic-based
  • Philosophy (up to five): numerous ancient and modern options; up to four can be in modern Philosophy
  • Greek and Latin literature (up to five)
  • Greek and Roman archaeology (up to two, plus a thesis if you wish)
  • Philology and Linguistics (up to two, plus a thesis if you wish)
  • Second classical language: Course II students can take up the second classical language if they wish (will count as two papers in the final exam)
Eight exam subjects taken, with the possibility of offering one paper as a thesis. For some literature options: instead of a three-hour paper, assessment involves the composition of one long essay over a three-week period

The options listed here are illustrative and may change. A full list of current options is available on the Classics website.
Course IIA 
(Latin only, for those who have not studied Greek or Latin to A-level or equivalent)
Final University examinations: as Course I, but Latin only, unless you take optional second classical language
Course IIB
(Greek only, for those who have not studied Latin or Greek to A-level or equivalent)
Final University examinations: as Course I, but Greek only, unless you take optional second classical language

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

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 tests

Test: CAT
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) as part of their application. Separate registration for the CAT 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

Written work

Description: Two pieces (either essays or commentaries). Normally these will be in areas relevant to Classics. They should preferably not be short, timed essays or exercises answering questions on a short passage of text.
Submission deadline:  10 November 2019

See 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 are also looking for potential and an enquiring mind, and a real commitment to this wide-ranging subject. For more detail on the selection criteria for this course, please see the Classics website.

Careers

The breadth of subjects studied and variety of skills learned to a high level leave Classics graduates in high demand among employers. Careers for recent Classics graduates include teaching, the Civil Service, the media, film production, the law, publishing, and further classical study.

James works for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He says: ‘Following four years of excellent teaching in an astoundingly varied field, the intellectual rigour developed at Oxford has taken me from negotiating for the UK at the United Nations to learning Mandarin and representing the UK in China. Classics provided me with the perfect platform, and more importantly gave me four wonderful years steeped in the fascinating classical world.’

Menai is a project manager for Kent County Council. She says: ‘I joined Kingfisher Retail and subsequently WHSmith. I then worked for a charity and finally moved to local government. The training in logical thinking and a questioning approach I developed while studying for my degree have been invaluable.’

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

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

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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