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Classics at Corpus Fact File

Typical offer: A*AA in A Levels (or equivalent)

Required subjects for 3-year course: Latin A Level (or equivalent). Greek A Level (or equivalent) may be accepted as a substitute for those who do not study Latin.

Required subjects for 4-year course: none

Typical number of Classics undergraduates admitted per year: 2-4 (numbers include both the 3-year and the 4-year course)

Submitted written work requirements: see our Written Work webpage

Admissions assessment: College-registered assessment

Classics at Cambridge

Classics at Cambridge involves the study of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and their continuing influence on the modern day. The subject has a broad scope: it encompasses the history, culture, archaeology, art, philosophy, literature and linguistics of classical antiquity. In your final year, you also have the opportunity to branch out into related subjects, such as Modern Greek and Babylonian.

The University's Faculty of Classics is housed in a spacious, modern building that is only a five-minute walk away from Corpus.

The Classics course (or ‘Tripos’) is either a three-year or four-year degree, depending on which subjects you have studied at school. You don’t need to have studied Latin (or Greek) at school to study Classics at Cambridge; you simply need to be passionate about the ancient world.

Go to the University webpage to find out more about the structure of the Classics Tripos.

Why study Classics at Corpus?

Corpus is a special place to study Classics. What sets us apart is our vibrant Classics community, the wide range of our Fellows’ expertise, and the wealth of resources available to our students. A lot of the supervision teaching at Corpus can be done ‘in house’, so Fellows get to know each student well and can tailor their teaching to best suit each individual’s needs. 

We meet regularly through the year to hear presentations from undergraduate and postgraduate students on the research they are conducting. Undergraduates have the opportunity to discuss aspects of the ancient world alongside postgraduates and Fellows in a friendly and relaxed environment. We also have at least one big social event each term, bringing together the whole community. These include tea and drinks, an annual dinner, a tour of the Parker library, and a post-exam celebration in the summer.

Thanks to a significant benefaction from a former Fellow (Perceval Maitland Laurence), the College can provide substantial support to its Classics students:

  • Dictionaries: All undergraduate classicists are loaned a copy of Liddell & Scott Greek Lexicon and the Oxford Latin Dictionary for their own private use throughout their studies.
  • Library: The College library has a particularly well-stocked and up-to-date Classics collection. It is also able to buy new books on request.
  • Travel funds: The College supports those who wish to gain first-hand experience of the Classical world on an archaeological dig, or simply by visiting the Mediterranean.

Corpus also boasts a unique collection of rare books and old manuscripts in its Parker Library. These include many important Classical texts. Corpus Classicists can enjoy a special behind-the-scenes tour of the collection, as well as opportunities to study the original manuscripts as part of their studies.

Corpus Classicists go on to a wide range of good jobs, including: Accountancy Banking and corporate finance, Civil service, Journalism, Law, Management consultancy, Media. A steady number of our students stay on at Corpus to pursue their research interests further by working towards a higher degree (MPhil or PhD), or by pursuing a teaching qualification (PGCE).  All find that employers are very interested in Classicists, and that they greatly value a degree in Classics as a clear indication of a good all-round education, strong linguistic ability and a high degree of intellectual sophistication.

What do we look for in applicants

We are looking for students who have an enthusiasm for learning more about the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and their ongoing legacy. The range of subdisciplines in the course is very wide and we do not expect applicants to have explored all of them but reading outside and beyond material for school exams is important. Students will have to study Latin and Greek during the degree will need to show they have an aptitude for learning languages.

Super-curricular resources

There is no required reading for Classics applicants, but if you’d like to do some further reading about the Classical world, we recommend the following online resources:

We also recommend the following books for further general reading:

  • Literature: W. Allan, Classical Literature: A Very Short Introduction (2014); T. Whitmarsh, Ancient Greek Literature (2004); S. Braund, Latin Literature (2001).
  • Philosophy: J. Warren, Presocratics (2007); J. Cooper (ed.), Plato: the complete works (1997).
  • History: C. Kelly, The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction (2006); P. Cartledge, The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others (2nd edn. 2002); M. Beard & M. Crawford, Rome in the late Republic (1999).
  • Art and Archaeology: A. Schnapp, The Discovery of the Past (1996); R. Osborne, Archaic and Classical Greek Art (1998).
  • Linguistics:  G. Deutscher, The Unfolding of Language (2005); S. Pinker, The Language Instinct (1994).

You can also watch our 2021 Classics Masterclass with Dr Jo Willmott