Part of the statue Laocoön and His Sons, showing the head of Antiphanes
Detail of a statue in the Ashmolean Museum.
(Image credit: Richard Watts).

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

Course overview

UCAS code: VV14
Entrance requirements: AAA
Course duration: 3 years (BA)

Subject requirements

Required subjects: Not applicable
Recommended subjects: Not applicable
Helpful subjects: A classical language, Classical Civilisation or Ancient History

Other course requirements

Admissions test: AHCAAT
Written Work: Two pieces

Admissions statistics*

Interviewed: 91%
Successful: 18%
Intake: 24
*3-year average 2021-23


Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288391
Email: [email protected]

Unistats information for this course can be found at the bottom of the page

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

About the course

The course combines study of the history, archaeology and art of the classical world. It looks at the societies and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, through written texts, visual art and material remains. The course has at its centre the two classical cultures of Greece and Rome.

The course is aimed at anyone interested in investigating ancient civilisations and their remains: from Greek temples and Roman amphitheatres to wall paintings and the poignant residues of everyday life.

While it is primarily a historical and non-linguistic degree, ancient languages can be used and learned as part of the course.

The degree is taught through a mixture of tutorials, lectures and classes. Some cover specifically archaeological or historical approaches to ancient Mediterranean cultures, but the degree is unique in also offering courses that combine both approaches.

In every year of the course there are classes led by both an archaeologist and a historian, which are designed to give an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the topics studied.

The University’s resources for this combined subject are excellent. The expertise, range and number of post-holders in the two fields are unique. Oxford has some of the best library facilities for the study of classical archaeology and ancient history in the world (especially the Bodleian Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library). The Ashmolean Museum also contains wide-ranging collections of art and artefacts from classical cultures.

Fieldwork/international opportunities

There are two practical elements to the course:

  • two weeks at the end of the first year spent on an archaeological field project or a practical museum placement
  • the preparation of a report in the second and third years focusing either on a particular ancient site, or on an artefact or set of artefacts in a museum of your choice.

Fieldwork projects recently attended by Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (CAAH) students include:

  • Birdoswald Roman Fort, Cumbria
  • Dobra, Albania
  • Fregellae, Lazio, Italy
  • Populonia, Tuscany, Italy
  • Halaesca, Sicily, Italy
  • Sanisera Field School, Menorca, Spain 
  • Thouria, Kalamata, Greece
  • Demetrias Field School, Grees
  • Carnuntum, Austria.

Faculty financial support is provided for fieldwork. 

Unistats information

Discover Uni course data provides applicants with Unistats statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford for a particular undergraduate course.

Please select 'see course data' to view the full Unistats data for Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. 

Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.

Visit the Studying at Oxford section of this page for a more general insight into what studying here is likely to be like. 

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

A typical week (Year 1)

  • Lectures (4-6 per week)
  • Team-taught classes (one per week for the first two terms)
  • Tutorials (one every one to two weeks) and/or language classes

A typical week (Years 2-3)

You will take six options and produce a site or museum report. Currently, the options are chosen from:

  • Integrated classes, bringing together historical and archaeological approaches to a particular period
  • Core papers, which deal with central topics in Greco-Roman studies
  • Further papers, which allow you either to build up concentrated expertise in some central areas and periods or to extend into earlier and later periods, and into non-classical cultures
  • Greek or Latin language papers.

Tutorials are usually two students (possibly three) and a tutor; a larger group is normally defined as a class.

Where options are taught in classes, the class size will depend on the options you choose. They would usually be no more than 10 students. For the core papers the class size is usually eight or less.

Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by staff who are tutors in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research.

Some teaching may also be delivered by postgraduate students who are studying at doctorate level. To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.

Course structure

Year 1



Four courses are taken
Core elements:

  • Aristocracy and democracy in the Greek world, 550–450 BC
  • Republic to empire: Rome, 50 BC to AD 50

Current optional elements:

  • Archaeology: Homeric archaeology and early Greece from 1550 to 700 BC; Greek vases; Greek sculpture c600– 300 BC; Roman architecture
  • History: Thucydides and the West; Aristophanes’ political comedy; Cicero and Catiline; Tacitus and Tiberius
  • Ancient Languages: Beginning Ancient Greek or Latin; Intermediate Ancient Greek or Latin; Advanced Ancient Greek or Latin

First University examinations: four written papers

Years 2 and 3



Six courses are taken from a wide choice of options. These currently include:

  • Rome, Italy, and the Hellenistic East, c300-100 BC
  • Imperial culture and society, cAD 50-150
  • The Greeks and the Mediterranean world, c950-500 BC
  • Greek art and archaeology, c500-300 BC
  • Art under the Roman Empire, AD 14-337
  • Roman archaeology: cities and settlement under the Empire
  • Alexander the Great and his early successors
  • The Greek city in the Roman world from Dio Chrysostom to John Chrysostom
  • Thucydides and the Greek world, 479-403 BC
  • Republic in crisis, 146-46 BC
  • The archaeology of Minoan Crete, 3200-1000 BC
  • Etruscan Italy, 900-300 BC
  • Science-based methods in archaeology
  • Greek and Roman coins
  • Mediterranean maritime archaeology
  • The archaeology of the late Roman Empire, AD 284-641
  • Athenian democracy in the Classical Age
  • Cicero: politics and thought in the late Republic
  • Religions in the Greek and Roman world, c31 BC-AD 312
  • Sexuality and gender in Greece and Rome
  • The Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BC
  • St Augustine and the last days of Rome, AD 370-430
  • Epigraphy of the Greek and/or Roman world, c700 BC-AD 300
  • Intermediate Ancient Greek or Latin
  • Advanced Ancient Greek or Latin
  • Research for a site or museum report

For more information, visit the Classical Archaeology and Ancient History website.

Final University examinations: six written papers; one site or museum report

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

Academic requirements 





Advanced Highers:                    


International Baccalaureate (IB):

39 (including core points) with 666 at HL                                                                          

Any other equivalent qualification:

View information on other UK qualifications, and international qualifications

Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.

Read further information on how we use contextual data.

Subject requirements


A classical language, Classical Civilisation or Ancient History can be helpful to students in completing this course, although they are not required for admission.

If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

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


All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown on our Applying to Oxford pages.

The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.

Admissions tests

There will be a new admissions for this course in 2024.  Further information will be provided on the AHCAAT page at the earliest opportunity. 



Test date:

22 October 2024

Registration window:                   

15 August to 4 October 2024

Written work


Two pieces which have been recently marked in the normal process of school or college work.

Submission deadline:  

10 November 2024

Read further guidance on the submission of written work.

What are tutors looking for?

Tutors are looking for intellectual potential, the specific visual, textual and reasoning abilities required for this course. They are also looking for serious interest in and commitment to both classical archaeology and ancient history.

Tutors will consider all the available information to assess your potential to benefit from the course, to be a good tutorial student, and to attain good results in examinations. This includes:

  • past and predicted examination results
  • the UCAS personal statement
  • academic reference
  • submitted written work
  • interviews.

Visit the Classics website for more detail on the selection criteria for this course.


Some CAAH graduates go on to further study and research to become professional archaeologists and historians. Others move into different areas, including museum curation, heritage management, education, finance, advertising, publishing, the Civil Service and the law.

Recent CAAH graduates include a financial adviser, a teacher and a curator.

Sarah became a personal adviser. She says: ‘My degree at Oxford provided the challenging environment in which I developed the skills I later needed to successfully complete Reed’s rigorous application procedure.’

Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2024. Course fee information for courses starting in 2025 will be updated in September.

We don't want anyone who has the academic ability to get a place to study here to be held back by their financial circumstances. To meet that aim, Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages available for UK students and this may be supplemented by support from your college.


Fee status

Annual Course fees


Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

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.

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 2024 are estimated to be between £1,345 and £1,955 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 tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK, Irish nationals and other eligible students with UK citizens' rights - see below*) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree**, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.

In 2024 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £50,000 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £32,500 or less. The UK government also provides living costs support to Home students from the UK and those with settled status who meet the residence requirements.

*For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status.

 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 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 Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

At the end of the first year, CAAH students are required to undertake fieldwork or alternatively a practical museum placement. Fieldwork projects recently attended by CAAH students include:  

  • Birdoswald Roman Fort, Cumbria
  • Dobra, Albania
  • Fregellae, Lazio, Italy
  • Populonia, Tuscany, Italy
  • Halaesa, Sicily, Italy
  • Sanisera Field School, Menorca, Spain
  • Thouria, Kalamata, Greece 
  • Demetrias Field School, Greece
  • Carnuntum, Austria 

Museum placements included the Ashmolean Museum, Copenhagen Glyptothek (Denmark), Beazley Archive (Oxford) and others. 

You can choose an alternative location if you wish, subject to the approval of the CAAH standing committee. The cost of participating in fieldwork will depend on your choice of fieldwork project, but will typically vary between £500 - £1,200. All CAAH students starting in 2024 will receive a fieldwork grant of up to £1,000 from the faculty; opportunities exist for receiving additional support from your colleges.

Contextual information

Unistats course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about a particular undergraduate course at Oxford. For a more holistic insight into what studying your chosen course here is likely to be like, we would encourage you to view the information below as well as to explore our website more widely.

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 tutorials will be doing the same course as you. 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.

Read more about Oxford colleges and how you choose