Classics isn’t just the study of ancient literature; it is one of the most interdisciplinary courses that institutions offer. A degree in classics will allow students to study languages, history, literature and philosophies of the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. Ancient Greece and Rome have had an influence on the cultures that have come after them, and the study of classics gives individuals a better understanding of our identities within the global community.
Classics may be the ideal subject for those students who cannot choose between studying literature, philosophy, history and sociology.
Where certain institutions won’t request specific subject grades for entry, it may prove useful to have studied classics subject, or history, or a modern language beforehand to show that students have acquired similar skills. University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge will ask for high-grade requirements, generally AAB-AAA. However, other institutions offer flexibility ranging from BBB and upwards.
Students are advised to check with their chosen universities and degree courses to establish the entry requirements stated for successful admission.
Classics and Ancient History will be available as standalone degree programmes as well as offered as a joint programme (Learn more – Choosing a degree course). Certain universities will have specialised programmes in Greek or Latin for those interested in the ancient languages.
Alternatively, candidates may choose to study a joint honours degree including; History, Philosophy, Linguistics, English Language, or a Modern Language.
This type of degree is a three-year course when studied full-time at university; however, some universities offer a longer course with an extra preliminary or foundation year – this extra year is beneficial for those who have not previously studied Latin. The foundation degree offers students a year before starting their degree to gain a grounding in the language before starting the degree officially.
Each Classic and Ancient History degree will differ in the modules that they have on offer; however, students may expect to study Greek or Latin, or another language.
Studying this degree allows students to study a broad range of subjects, from the drama of Euripides, the history of the Athenian, the poetry of Homer or Virgil, Roman and Persian empires, or the art and archaeology of the Roman Empire.
Candidates will learn through tutorials, lectures and independent study. Assessment will typically include written examinations, coursework, group work and presentations.
Graduates of classics and ancient history are equipped with transferable skills such as the ability to analyse and solve problems, to present clear and persuasive argument and able to interpret information critically.
Classics isn’t solely the study of ancient civilisations but also includes how ancient cultures have shaped the way society lives today. This degree will appeal to individuals who want to explore both the past and the present and is ideal for those who don’t want to limit themselves and their studies to just one or two subjects.
Although a classics degree doesn’t necessarily offer a direct route into any particular career, there is still a range of different employment opportunities which graduates can apply their skills to. Classics graduates use their knowledge of history and ancient culture to begin their careers in the art gallery and museum management and curation industries, as well as work as inspectors or conservationists for the English heritage and the National Trust.
Other graduates may use their language skills to work in Journalism, PR, or become authors. Furthermore, students may wish to study further and become a teacher of philosophy, history, Latin or classics itself.
Classics and ancient history offer a wonderful perspective and a historical awareness to graduates, although no direct job route. This degree will be helpful in certain careers as listed above, or even in archaeology or a museum
Classicists become Teachers, Heritage Professionals, Archivists, Librarians and Museum Curators. However, these employment areas are competitive, and students are advised to conduct research into the career sector of their choice to ensure a classics and ancient history degree will aid their aspirations. Also, graduates with work experience or specialisation within a certain area may find themselves able to secure employment better.
A variety of postgraduate opportunities is available for those wishing to continue their studies, from Classics, Ancient History, Classical Art and Archaeology, Classical Reception studies, and to study even further at PhD level thereafter.
C.S Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, studied Classics, as well as John Layfield (WWE wrestler) who studied Ancient History at Abilene Christian University. Porter Goss, who was the former head of the CIA had a degree in Ancient Greek from Yale University. J.K Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, studied Classics at the University of Exeter!
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