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Classics - Course Outline

Part First

A Course of Enquiry

Preliminary Year (for the four-year course)

In the part first, students get to learn Latin confidently through texts reading and the language study from the Roman world. Students also learn Roman culture. They learn some initial preparatory work for taking up ancient Greek at the beginning of the succeeding year.

Year First

In this year, students study approximately twelve 'target texts' from the renowned periods of ancient literature by famous authors such as Euripides, Homer, Cicero, Ovid, Virgil and Plato. Students also study aspects of ancient philosophy, history, archaeology, art and linguistics. Language and reading classes are conducted by expert language teachers.

Year Second

In the second year, students need to choose from the next year selection of literary authors such as Plutarch, Sophocles, Tacitus, Aeschylus, etc. and determine other two out of four disciplines (philosophy, philology, archaeology and history) they wish to focus on. The optional papers in verse or prose composition may enhance students' creativity and confidence in manipulating language.

Part Second

Year Third

Students need to choose four papers from a wide variety of options. They need to take five papers if part second is taken two years after part first. These papers cover:

  • The culture and literature of the classical world
  • Papers from another degree course
  • Cultural studies using Classics as a preliminary point

Past topics are available that may range from Vindolanda Roman Fort through cross-dressing in antiquity to the occurrence of Asterix and classical influences on modern American poetry. Students have to appear for the exam in these subjects at the end of the year. Students have flexibility as they can alternate a thesis of their own devising on any subject within the area of classics for one paper.

Course requirements

Classics (a three-year course)

Students who wish to pursue education in classics, a three-year course, need to have Latin or Greek at 'A' level or equivalent. Almost all colleges require the above-discussed eligibility criteria excluding Girton and Gonville and Caius where Latin is necessary and Greek is regarded a helpful addition. Subjects that offer a firm foundation and enhance skills required for the course such as history, languages, literary criticism, essay-based subjects and history of art are helpful.

Classics (a four-year course)

There is no particular 'A' or equivalent subjects are required for the classics, a four-year course. However, for most of the colleges Latin or GCSE Greek is helpful. Upon successful completion of the course, students have a wide career prospect. They may get into various fields. Cambridge provides students all facilities in order to enhance their skills and develop their knowledge. Students get thorough understanding of the subject by way of performing practical exercises. After completing the course, students are able to describe classics.


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