Classics and Joint Schools

BA Hons Classics (Literae Humaniores)

Image of Athena overlooking Plato by Sébastien Bertrand via Wikimedia Commons

Average intake at Wadham: 8 (including Joint Schools)

The Course: BA Hons Classics (Literae Humaniores)

Explore the languages, literature and history of the Ancient Mediterranean, as well as the archaeological and philosophical remains of the Classical world. Classics offers you a great opportunity to study a vast range of subject areas focusing on the Graeco-Roman world and its reception into modern times.

The traditional 4-year course ('Mods', and 'Greats' or 'Literae Humaniores') is one of the most widely respected degree courses in the world, and perhaps the most famous in Classics. It remains rigorous; but it is also extremely flexible, allowing students to take up to 5 of their 8 final papers in Ancient History, Greek and Latin Literature, or Philosophy (including modern Philosophy), and up to 2 in Philology and Archaeology.

Moreover, versions of the course are open not only to those with only one classical language at A-Level (Mods IB if it is Latin, IC if it is Greek), but also to those who have not had the opportunity to study either language at A-Level (Mods IIA for those who choose to concentrate on Latin, IIB for Greek). Candidates for courses IB, IC and II will be expected to have acquired before they start some knowledge of the language they will be learning intensively for Mods. In some cases this will be at GCSE level, but it might also be such as can be gained at one of a number of summer schools.

Classics at Wadham

Wadham is one of the colleges most committed to Classics. We typically have three teaching fellows, and about 32 undergraduates taking the range of classical courses. In addition there are usually around 6 to 8 graduates. The College has funds dedicated to classical study, e.g. by supporting attendance at Summer Schools and providing Greek and Latin dictionaries; and we admit students for all the undergraduate courses involving Classics or Ancient History. The Faculty of Classics is only a five minute walk from the college.

There is an excellent tradition of integration across courses and years, promoted through joint classes as well as regular social and academic events through the year. The college also has a distinctive commitment to outreach; our students are regularly involved in teaching Latin in local schools through the Iris project, and we host the East London Classics Summer School.

Joint Schools

Classics & Modern Languages combines the study of a modern language and literature with Latin or Greek or both. Classics & English involves distinctive ‘Link’ papers, which pursue genres such as Epic and Tragedy from their origins to the present day. Wadham has also had a stream of students taking Classics with Oriental Studies: the languages most commonly studied with Classics are Sanskrit, Arabic and Egyptian, but others are possible.

Students can also take Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, which requires closely interrelated study of the history and material remains of the ancient world. Ancient and Modern History provides the chance to study both the ancient and the modern world, and can, but need not, involve use of the classical languages.

A Student's Perspective

I chose classics because it was the perfect combination of all the things I love: Languages, Literature and History as well as offering me the chance to study philosophy. There are two courses: one for those with an A Level or equivalent in Latin or Ancient Greek and one for those without any ancient languages at all. The first two years of the course are split pretty equally between the different subject areas but in the last two years we are given the chance to focus on the subject areas we particularly enjoy.

What makes my degree enjoyable is the fact that it is really broad so you can never really get bored of it! It’s also very useful in understanding the modern world and modern literature. The tutors at Wadham make it a great place to study classics. Our tutors are amazing academics as well as amazing tutors. They are really friendly, incredibly keen to help out with any issues and constantly push us to achieve our best – it’s always nice to have someone who believes in you, even when you can’t believe in yourself!

We have Wadham Classics socials at least twice a year which are incredibly fun and also offer you the opportunity to get to know your tutors and fellow students – especially those in the year above. This is extremely useful especially when you’re stuck on one of your essays or just need some advice.