Classical Studies MA (Honours) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The MA (Hons) in Classical Studies is a degree of remarkable range and depth. It includes not only the study of Greek and Roman literature but also the social and cultural history of the classical world, its philosophy, religion and art, and the reception of Greek and Roman culture in the modern world. Classical studies at St Andrews will allow you to discover and debate – among many other things – the power of Greek tragedy, the imposing beauty of Roman sculpture and the twists and turns of Platonic dialogue. The course encourages new ways of seeing both the classical world and the world of today.

All classical texts are studied in English translation. There is no requirement for ancient languages. There are opportunities to learn both Latin and Greek at beginner’s or more advanced levels and to take them further if you wish to. You will also be able to supplement your classical studies courses with complementary subjects such as ancient history, archaeology, and ancient philosophy.

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of Classics
“I enjoyed how broad the degree structure was in the first two years. I was able to enhance my knowledge of the ancient world with modules in Ancient History, Biblical Studies and Hebrew. The St Andrews experience is truly unique and I cannot imagine anywhere else that balances such a strong community with top-tier academics so well.”
- Herefordshire, England

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject-specific entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
  • Standard entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,6,5)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of classical studies is necessary.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Gateway programmes

Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades but meet the University's contextual criteria may be interested in the Gateway to Arts programme.

Study abroad

Classical studies students can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

he MA (Hons) in Classical Studies is a four-year course run by the School of Classics.  The first two years focus on Greek and Roman literature, art and culture.

In your first year, you will start by exploring some of the most dynamic literary and artistic achievements of archaic and classical Greece, ranging from Homer’s epic poetry to the art and drama of classical Athens and the philosophy of Plato. You will learn how the Greeks used art, drama, myth and religion to express their sense of community and to navigate the turbulent world they inhabited. Then you will turn to the art and literature of Augustan Rome and learn how art, literature and the fabric of the city of Rome itself were reinvented by, and in response to, the new regime of the first Roman emperor.

In your second year, you will take modules that further extend and refine your knowledge of Greek and Latin literature. This year covers the art, literature and philosophy of two periods of dramatic social and political change, early Greece and the Late Roman Republic.

Rome in the Late Republic (first century BCE) experienced a series of brutal civil wars that tore the city and its empire apart and ushered in the age of the emperors. Yet the same period also produced some of Rome’s finest literature, from the seething passions of Catullus’ poetry to the slick rhetoric of Cicero’s speeches. You will study key authors of the period in their social, political and intellectual context, to learn – among other things – how they used their writing to work out what it meant to be Roman in such turbulent times.

To round off your second year, you will go back to the very beginning of the western tradition by studying the works of the earliest Greek poets and philosophers. You will learn how they sought to bring order to the human and divine worlds of the earliest Greek city-states, and how they used their works to explore themes of justice, love and relationships and to attack their enemies.

There is no compulsory language element in the Classical Studies MA (Hons), although you can choose to study Latin or Greek through optional modules. The classical studies programme is extremely flexible and also allows you to take sub-honours modules from the Ancient History (MA) programme, which will deepen and broaden your understanding of the historical background to Greek and Roman culture.

The analytical skills you gain in your first two years will prepare you to continue exploring a wide range of texts and topics at a more advanced level in your third and fourth years (Honours level). 

Alongside classical studies, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually continue to study at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.  

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), you will take the required modules in classical studies alongside modules in at least one other subject.

The Classical Studies programme is very flexible and can incorporate modules in ancient history, Latin and Greek alongside or even in place of specialist classical studies modules (though there are some minimum requirements), so that you can pursue your interests in the Greeks and Romans wherever they lead. 

In the first year, most students take: 

  • Myth and Community in Ancient Greek Literature and Culture: explores some of the most dynamic literary and artistic achievements of archaic and classical Greek culture, from Homeric epic to Athenian tragedy, comedy and philosophy. 
  • Images of Augustan Rome: studies the works of art and literature that were produced during the lifetime of the first emperor of Rome, Augustus, and that react in different ways to the new regime that he established.  

 You can also choose from first-year modules in ancient history, Greek and Latin. 

In the second year, most students take: 

  • Culture and Thought in the Late Roman Republic: studies the art and literature of Rome in the Late Republic (first century BCE). Key literary texts, such as the passionate poetry of Catullus and the stylish rhetoric of Cicero, are set against the broader backdrop of Roman political, cultural and social life in this turbulent period of civil war and dictatorship. 
  • Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy: studies the earliest phases of the Greek literary and philosophical tradition in the archaic and early classical Greek world. It explores the diversity of early Greek thought through the poetry and philosophy of the period, and explores themes of conflict, justice, love and the relationship between mortals and gods. 

 You can also choose from modules in ancient history, Greek and Latin. 

If you decide to take Classical Studies in your third and fourth years, you will take a compulsory third-year module, Classical Studies: Interpretations and Receptions, and then choose further modules that allow you to follow your own interests.
Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years: 

  • After Virgil: The Aeneid and its Reception  
  • Animals in Greco-Roman Antiquity 
  • Art of the Roman Empire 
  • Classics for the Modern World: Interventions and Applications 
  • Fame, Tradition and Narrative: Homer's Iliad
  • Gender and Sexuality in Greek Literature 
  • Greek Painted Pottery 
  • Justice, politics and the good life: Plato's Republic and its critics in the ancient world
  • Modern Classics: Classics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries 
  • Pleasure, Goodness and Happiness: Hellenistic Ethics 
  • Roman Praise 
  • Travels and Marvels in the Graeco-Roman World 
  • Women in Ancient Societies. 

You will also have access to Honours modules from the Ancient History and Ancient History & Archaeology programmes. 

In fourth year, students also have the opportunity to undertake an 8,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees. 

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (60 to 100 students) and small group tutorials (8 to 12 students). Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by an expert tutor.

At Honours level, students are taught through seminars (10 to 20 students), with an emphasis on students’ own contribution in informal class discussion and in group or individual presentations. 

In addition to lectures and tutorials, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom. Typically, this will involve:

  • reading ancient texts in translation 
  • reading journal articles and books 
  • working on individual projects 
  • undertaking research in the library 
  • preparing coursework assignments and
  • presentations 
  • preparing for examinations. 

Most modules in classical studies are assessed by a combination of 50% coursework and 50% examination. Coursework includes:

  • research essays 
  • learning diaries 
  • oral presentations 
  • creative projects 
  • literary criticisms 
  • analysis of art.

Most modules include a written examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of classical studies. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module coordinator. 

You can find contact information for all classics staff on the School of Classics website

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.



England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Classical Studies as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Classical Studies (With Integrated Year Abroad)TV86
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and ClassicsQ815
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Classics (With Integrated Year Abroad)Q816
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and Classical StudiesQV83
Master of Arts (Honours) Biblical Studies and Classical StudiesVQ68
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Comparative LiteratureQ890
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and EnglishQQ38
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Film StudiesQP83
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and FrenchRQ18
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and French (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQC8
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and GreekQQ87
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and International RelationsLQ28
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and ItalianRQ38
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQJ8
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and LatinQQ86
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and MathematicsQG81
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Medieval HistoryQV81
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Middle East StudiesQT86
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Modern HistoryQVV1
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and PersianQT87
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and PhilosophyQV85
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Scottish HistoryQVV2
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Social AnthropologyLQ68
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Theological StudiesQV86
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and Comparative LiteratureQ990
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and EnglishQP6T
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and FrenchQR81
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and French (With Integrated Year Abroad)QR8C
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and ItalianQR83
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQH8
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and ManagementNQ28
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and Modern HistoryQ8V1
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and PersianQR88
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and PhilosophyQ8V5
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and Social AnthropologyQ8L6
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and SpanishQR84
Master of Arts (Honours) Classics and Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad)RQ48

Joint degrees taken with French are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'.


Classical studies students at St Andrews have traditionally moved into a very wide range of careers upon graduating. Some continue their academic careers via a postgraduate training degree or doctoral study either in St Andrews or at another university. Other students have often progressed to postgraduate qualifications in teaching, law or finance.

Recent classical studies graduates have moved into careers in:

  • law 
  • marketing 
  • museums and heritage 
  • journalism 
  • the theatre 
  • civil service 
  • teaching 
  • finance 
  • applied computing.

A degree in classical studies will provide you with transferable skills that will equip you for a future career in many sectors. These skills include:

  • understanding a range of viewpoints and critical
  • approaches 
  • flexible thinking 
  • exercising reflection and critical judgment 
  • gathering, memorising, organising and deploying
  • information 
  • time management 
  • project planning 
  • independent work 
  • group work 
  • oral and written expression. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

What to do next

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Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2600
School of Classics
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

School of Classics website

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