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Guide to studying Classics

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

Statue S.P.Q.R. IMP CAESAR Augustus PATRIAE PATER

CONTENTS

  1. What's Classics?

  2. Why study Classics?

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

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

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 the cultures that inhabited the Mediterranean basin next to and after them. So the study of Classics will give you a better understanding of how the world became what it is today.

Studying Greek or Latin can form an important component of a degree in Classics. Still, it’s also possible to study a range of subjects within the area without taking a language at all.

Similar courses for Classics include: 

  • Latin Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Classical Languages

Why study Classics?

Study Classics, and you'll gain transferable skills such as the ability to analyse and solve problems, interpret information critically, and present clear and persuasive arguments. These skills are central to many professions.

Read our six reasons to study Classics for more information on why you might choose to study this subject area.

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

Temple of Poseidon at Sounio in Attica

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).

What qualifications do you need?

Usually, no specific subjects are specified for entry, although some universities will ask for Latin or Greek.

It may be useful to have studied History, a classics subject, an essay-based subject or a modern language.

Grades and other requirements vary depending on the university you apply to and the programme you want to study.

What degrees can you study?

You'll typically be able to study Classics as a stand-alone degree programme.

Some universities offer specialised programmes in Greek or Latin or a classical studies degree that allows you to combine various aspects of the study of the ancient world.

Alternatively, you may choose to undertake a joint degree in Classics and another subject, such as History, Philosophy, English Language or Linguistics, or a modern language such as Italian or French. Most universities offer BA (Hons) and MA (Hons) qualifications.

How will you be assessed?

You’ll learn through lectures, tutorials and independent study. Assessment is likely to include written exams and coursework but may also involve group work, oral presentations, performances or special projects.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

A range of postgraduate opportunities in this subject area is available in the UK and beyond. You could take either a taught or research master's course in Classics or ancient history, or a postgraduate degree in a more specialised area, such as classical art, ancient archaeology or classical reception studies.

There are plenty of opportunities to pursue further specialised study at PhD level.

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