Classics at Cambridge
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.
We off er a three-year course and a four-year course. The three-year course is usually for students with A Level/IB Higher Level Latin or equivalent (regardless of whether they have Greek). We off er an intensive ancient 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 (or equivalent) Classical 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).
Facilities and resources
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.
Additional course costs
There are no compulsory additional course costs for Classics. However, the majority of students find it convenient to purchase a grammar and a dictionary for both languages. Excellent and rapidly developing smartphone apps are available, and the combined cost will probably not exceed £15-20. Many 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 £5-20 in Part 1A and, depending on the modules chosen, up to £100 in Part 1B. New students will be provided with a recommended list of texts. Please contact the Faculty (see fact file, right) for further advice and details. Please also note that many Colleges have a book grant scheme and students should contact their Director of Studies for advice.
Although it's possible to change course after Year 2 (Part I), in practice most of our students appreciate the breadth of the subjects offered and the opportunity to define their own course of study.
Likewise, the broad scope of papers available makes Classics Part II (Year 3) an attractive option after Part I of another course (certain combinations of Part II papers may be taken without knowledge of Greek and Latin).
Several other options are available, including combining Classical Greek or Classical Latin with a modern language (see Modern and Medieval Languages).
To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.
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.