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Study Classics, why & how to study

A degree in Classics will introduce you to the past cultures, languages and literature of some of the most important civilisations in world history.

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CONTENTS

  1. What’s Classics?

  2. What Classics degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Classics degree?

  4. What topics does a Classics degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Classics?

  7. What do Classics graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Classics graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Classics

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Classics?

Classics covers a broad range of subjects, including the drama of Euripides; the poetry of Homer and Virgil; the histories of the Athenian and Persian empires; and the art and archaeology of the Roman Empire. Ancient Greece and Rome have had a profound influence on culture in the West, so you’ll gain a better understanding of how the world became what it is today.

Studying Ancient Greek or Latin can form an important component of a degree in Classics. Still, it’s also possible to study Classics without prior knowledge of these languages.

What Classics degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Classics include:

  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History BA
  • Classical Studies and Comparative Literature BA
  • Classics BA

Classics subjects are frequently available in combination with other subject areas. Options may include an integrated foundation year or study abroad.

What do you need to get onto a Classics degree?

Most undergraduate Classics courses ask for 104–165 UCAS points. Not every university will base their offer on UCAS points and some courses may have lower or higher requirements. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: A*AA–ABB
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–DDM (A Levels may also be required)
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–ABBBB (Advanced Highers: AAA–AB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 42–32

Good subjects to have studied include:

  • Latin or Greek at A Level (or equivalent) may be required by some universities
  • History or other essay-based subjects or modern languages will be helpful

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Extra reading into the subject and associated texts; check university reading lists and the website of the Classical Association for resources
  • Entering essay competitions in the classics
  • Attending free lectures, taster days or taking an online university course or MOOC
  • Listening to a classics podcast – there are a few available
  • Summer schools, if eligible, such as those run by the Sutton Trust or UNIQ

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities

What topics does a Classics degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Archaeology
  • Comedy and tragedy, laughter and sorrow
  • Greek and Latin language work
  • Interpreting Greek tragedy today
  • Key themes in Roman history
  • Language, translation and interpretation
  • Love and sex in ancient poetry
  • Rome and its empire from Augustus to Commodus
  • The Hellenistic world
  • The literature and language of ancient Babylon

How will you be assessed?

Assessments are usually carried out by a mixture of the following, and will vary from module to module:

  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Group work
  • Oral presentations
  • Performances
  • Project work
  • A dissertation is usually a final year option

Why study Classics?

Study Classics, and you'll learn about systems and values that underpin society even now – and you’ll also gain transferable skills that will help you across a range of careers.

Career-specific skills:

  • Knowledge of Greek and Roman civilisations and their relationship to the modern world
  • Greek and Latin language skills and the analysis of Greek and Latin texts

Transferable skills:

  • Articulate communication
  • Critical reasoning
  • IT literacy
  • Linguistic skills
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Synthesising information
  • Time management

The very foundations of so many modern concepts lie in these cultures, but what makes it more thrilling and beautiful are those concepts which are now alien to us, like the religious systems, the slavery, the unashamed debauchery.

I have a thirst for knowledge, and so what better project to fill my time than a field where so much is translucent and still up for debate.

Will, University of Bristol

What do Classics graduates earn?

Classics graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £18,000–£25,000.

If you seek a career closely related to your degree, you might work in the heritage sector. Starting as assistant curator your salary could be £18,000, rising to £40,000 for lead curator or head of collections.

In other fields, you could earn £35,500 as a journalist or periodical editor. Or, as a barrister in the employed bar your income could be from £60,000–£90,000, depending on your geographical location.

What jobs can you get as a Classics graduate?

Many classicists become teachers, museum curators, heritage professionals, archivists or librarians.

Others seek a career in the legal profession, communications and marketing, civil service, charitable sectors, journalism, publishing or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Roles could include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Auction house cataloguer
  • Barrister
  • Civil servant
  • Communications manager
  • Fine art and jewellery insurance broker
  • Investment banking analyst
  • Journalist
  • Marketing account manager
  • Museum curator
  • Teacher
  • Theatre director

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Postgraduate opportunities in this subject area are available in the UK and beyond. You could take a taught or research master's in Classics or ancient history, or in a more specialised area such as classical art, ancient archaeology or classical reception studies.

Examples of postgraduate degrees include:

  • Classical Languages and Literature DPhil
  • Classics and Ancient History MA/PhD
  • Classics MA/MSc/PhD
  • Greek and Latin MPhil/PhD

Similar subjects to Classics

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

If you’ve got any questions about studying Classics, you can email our experts at ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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