Classics is a wide-ranging degree devoted to the study of literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Oxford has the largest Classics department in the world, with outstanding teaching, library and museum resources, including the Sackler and Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and designated Classics Centre. The University’s Classics II degree is aimed at encouraging students who have not previously studied Ancient Greek or Latin at school, but are interested in the subject at a Higher Education level.
The first part of the course (lasting five terms) has a literary and linguistic focus, with papers on Homer and Virgil, but students also offer a special subject in ancient history or art, archaeology and philosophy (both ancient and modern options are available). Besides this, there is a compulsory paper, ‘Texts and Contexts’, that offers the chance to integrate literary, historical, and archaeological approaches to Greek and Roman culture.
In the second part of the course (lasting seven terms), you can choose from a wealth of options from the full range of classical disciplines. You have to offer eight papers in all. Options in literature include papers on literary genres like Greek Tragedy and papers devoted to single authors like Ovid. In ancient history, you can study historical periods as well as topics like Alexander the Great and Sexuality, and Gender in Greece and Rome. A wide range of ancient and modern philosophy papers is also available, as well as some papers in art and archaeology and in philology. You can also offer a 10,000 word thesis as one paper. Any teacher or pupil seeking information about Classics at Oxford is welcome to write to us.
St Hugh’s has a strong tradition as a classical college and we admit between 4-6 undergraduates a year to read Single and Joint Honours Classics. We accept students applying for the majority of schools, including, Classics I, Classics II, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages and Classics and Oriental Studies. Our Classics Tutorial Fellow, Professor Tim Rood, has recently been awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Research Grant for a project entitled ‘Anachronism and Antiquity.’ The College library has been carefully maintained over the years and is well stocked to meet the needs of undergraduates. The first Classics Tutor at St Hugh’s, Annie Rogers, headed at seventeen the list of successful candidates in the Oxford Local Examinations, thus qualifying for an entrance exhibition to Worcester, which, as a woman, she was unable to take up. As a fellow of St Hugh’s, she was, initially, tutor to all the women studying Classics in Oxford and took a leading part in the campaign for the full admission of women to the university. One of St Hugh’s renowned alumni is the writer Mary Renault. The College have recently established the Mary Renault Prize; funded by the royalties from her novels, the prize is for the best Classical Reception essay from a year 12 or 13 applicant. Please see the webpage for further details.
What we look for in potential applicants is the ability to think independently, a willingness to argue, a real interest in ideas, and a commitment to the subject. We have no preference for particular subjects at A-level, International Baccalaureate or Pre-U, welcoming both pre- and post- qualification applications.