Classics at Cambridge isn’t just studied as a period in the past, it also looks at how classical culture, language and philosophy have affected the history of Western civilisation right up to the present day.
The Faculty of Classics is one of the most dynamic of its kind, with an exceptional reputation for teaching and research.
Our course encompasses the history, culture, archaeology, art, philosophy and linguistics of classical antiquity and the study of original texts and artefacts. You can either specialise in a particular field or retain the breadth with which the course starts.
The Faculty’s facilities include a well-stocked library and our own Museum of Classical Archaeology. In addition, you have access to the holdings of the Fitzwilliam Museum, where some classes take place. There’s a thriving student society and the renowned Cambridge Greek Play, produced in the original language, is regularly staged by a professional director. We also offer various undergraduate prizes, bursaries and travel grants.
The three-year course is usually for students with A Level/IB Higher Level Latin (regardless of whether they have Greek). We offer an intensive Greek programme for those with little or no Classical Greek.
The four-year course is for those with little or no Latin, and offers a preliminary year which focuses on Latin language and Roman culture. Years 2, 3 and 4 are identical to the three years of the three-year degree.
If you have A Level/IB Higher Level Greek but not Latin, you may be advised to take the four-year degree (depending on circumstances – please contact the Faculty/a College admissions office for guidance).
There are no compulsory additional course costs for Classics. However, the majority of students prefer to purchase their own copies of certain texts relevant to the papers they take. The Faculty estimates the cost of this is approximately £100 per year, and provides new students with a recommended list of texts. Please contact the Faculty (see fact file, right) for further advice and details.
Employers have a high opinion of Classicists because they’re hard-working, articulate, accurate and efficient, take new tasks in their stride and can master situations intelligently.
Some graduates go into research and teaching in schools and universities, or work in libraries and museums. But most go into other careers – in law, the media, accountancy, the Civil Service, industry and business. Our graduates include bankers, barristers, solicitors, actors, musicians and theatrical artistic directors.
During Part I, you have an average of 12 lectures a week, and two or more language classes (as needed). You also have at least two supervisions a week in which you discuss your work.
In Part II, you may have Faculty seminars as well as lectures, while your College supervisions give you the opportunity to research essay topics of your choice in depth.
Assessment is by end of year exams.
You learn to read Latin confidently through language study and the reading of texts from the Roman world. You also study Roman culture, submit essays for assessment, and undertake some preparatory work for taking up Ancient Greek at the beginning of the next year.
Written texts are a major source of evidence for classical antiquity, so you study texts in the original Greek and Latin from the most familiar periods of ancient literature by central authors such as Homer, Euripides, Plato, Virgil, Ovid and Cicero.
You also study elements of ancient history, archaeology, art, philosophy, philology and linguistics to build the broadest possible understanding of the ancient world and our relationship to it. Reading and language classes directed by specialist language teachers, as required, extend your knowledge of the ancient languages. End of year exams test your linguistic and literary comprehension and essay writing skills.
You take six papers, including a paper from each of the following four compulsory groups:
The remaining two papers are chosen from four on other subjects:
Further optional papers on prose or verse composition in both languages are available if you wish to develop your confidence and creativity in manipulating language.
You can specialise within one discipline (eg archaeology) or construct a wide-ranging course particular to your individual strengths and interests. You choose four papers from a broad range of options, including:
At the end of the year, you take exams in these subjects or you can substitute one paper with a dissertation on a subject of your choice within the field of Classics. Past dissertations have covered:
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
Your living expenses may be higher than for a Home student (eg if you stay in Cambridge/the UK during vacations). The minimum resources needed in Cambridge for the year (excluding tuition and College fees) are estimated to be approximately £10,080 in 2017-18 and £10,310 in 2018-19, depending on lifestyle (you should allow for increases in future years).