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Classics MA (Hons) 2021 entry

Greek and Latin literature is some of the most moving and thought-provoking writing produced in any world culture. To study it in the original languages is to enter the thought-world of two vibrant societies which have profoundly influenced cultures around the world. The MA (Hons) in Classics will develop your Latin and Greek language skills. It will also develop skills of literary and cultural analysis which are powerful tools for understanding complex texts and problems in today’s world .

The course will challenge you to engage in depth with a wide range of Greek and Latin texts, from epic poetry and tragedy, to historiography, philosophy, satire and love elegy. You will develop the skills to read and understand these texts in the original languages. In doing so, you will learn about the society, culture, politics and philosophy of the Greeks and Romans. You will also have opportunities also to study complementary subjects such as Ancient History and Archaeology.

How to apply Register your interest

Key information

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 June 2025

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. 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.

    • Standard entry grades: AAAB, including A in a foreign language
    • Minimum entry grades: AABB, including B in a foreign language
    • Gateway entry grades: BBBB
    • Standard entry grades: AAA, including A in a foreign language
    • Minimum entry grades: ABB, including B in a foreign language
    • Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5), including HL6 in a foreign language
    • Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL5 in a foreign language

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

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 entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of classics, Latin or Greek is necessary, but you must have studied a modern or ancient foreign language at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

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

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.


St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Classics is a four-year course run by the School of Classics.  You can take this degree whether or not you have studied Latin or Greek before. There are beginners’ courses in both Greek and Latin for those who have not studied the languages before or who have only studied them a little. These courses quickly build a solid foundation in each language so that you will rapidly become confident in analysing literature.

If you have already studied one or both languages at a higher level, you will undertake more advanced study in your first year in both language and literature, in modules that integrate analysis of literary texts with linguistic and translation exercises. If you are starting one or both languages at beginners’ level, you will spend your first year intensively studying the language to build your confidence and ability to read original texts.

In the second year, all students are brought together to take modules that extend and refine their knowledge of Latin and Greek literature and its background, covering both prose and poetry from the archaic period right through to late antiquity, while continuing to incorporate progressive work on Greek and Latin language skills in preparation for Honours-level study.

If you have not studied either language before and will be starting both languages as a beginner, you may defer the start of your studies in one of the languages to your second year. Students who take this option go on to take specially-adapted modules in their third year. These allow them to complete their linguistic training while studying literature at Honours-level.

In addition to studying Greek and Latin, you have the opportunity in your first two years to take another subject each semester. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised

The skills you gain in analysing original Greek and Latin texts in your first two years will prepare you for exploring an even wider range of texts at a more advanced level in your third and fourth years. You will also be encouraged to delve deeper into a specialist topic of your choice in writing a dissertation during your fourth year.

All of the School’s Honours modules are inspired by the research expertise of the members of staff who teach them, and expose you to the latest debates and developments in the discipline. They cover a wide range of genres and themes. Examples of recent topics include:

  • Greek poetry, including epic and tragedy
  • Greek historiography, including authors like Herodotus and Thucydides
  • Greek rhetoric
  • Greek philosophy
  • Greek literature in the Roman Empire
  • Latin prose writing, including philosophical writing, oratory, letter writing, historiography and biography
  • Latin poetry, including didactic poetry, lyric, satire and epic
  • Late antique Latin literature
  • Renaissance reception of Latin literature.

There is a wide choice of other modules available to complement classics and suit your interests. Popular choices include Classical Studies, Ancient History, English Literature, Modern Languages, Medieval and Modern History, Philosophy and Divinity.

Graduates in classics from St Andrews can expect to have developed a wide knowledge of Greek and Latin literature and culture and a high level of competence in Greek and Latin language.

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

Find out more about studying classics at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take three modules per semester: Greek, Latin and one other subject. Over the two Honours years, you will take at least three modules in each language. Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take two Greek modules and two Latin modules. The modules you take are dependent on your knowledge of Latin and Greek prior to the course.


Beginners in Greek will take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Greek Language for Beginners: provides a thorough grounding in the Greek language for beginners or near beginners.
  • Greek Literature for Beginners: designed to follow Greek Language for Beginners, this module prepares students for the challenge of reading and interpreting Greek literature.

Students who have studied Greek to SQA Higher level, A-level, or equivalent will take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Greek Language and Literature 1: involves detailed study of a range of set texts and linguistic and translation exercises designed to enhance students' knowledge of Greek and confidence in reading Greek literature in its historical and cultural context.
  • Greek Pastoral and Passion: introduces students to the thematic connections between bucolic or pastoral poetry and the Greek novel and involves detailed study of set texts and linguistic and translation exercises.


Beginners in Latin will take the following two modules:

  • Elementary Latin 1: provides an introduction to the Latin language for beginners, concentrating on morphology, vocabulary, and basic syntax.
  • Elementary Latin 2: builds on work from Elementary Latin 1 and develops knowledge of Latin language and enables the reading of Latin texts for beginners.

Students who have studied Latin to SQA Higher, GCE A-level or equivalent will take the following two modules:

  • World of Latin 1: enhances understanding of Latin language and literature through study of verse and prose set texts, including non-canonical and popular texts, and regular language classes.
  • World of Latin 2: builds on work from World of Latin 1 and introduces students to a wider range of Latin literature.

Students will take two Greek modules and two Latin modules. The modules you take are dependent on your knowledge of Latin and Greek prior to the course.


Ex-beginners in Greek will take the following two compulsory modules:

  • The Landscape of Greek Prose (B): designed for students to follow on from Greek Literature for Beginners, this module examines a wide range of Greek prose texts and enhances Greek language skills through regular language classes.
  • The Landscape of Greek Poetry (B): following on from The Landscape of Greek Prose (B), this module covers a diverse range of ancient poetry in the original Greek, starting with Homer’s Iliad, and enhances Greek language skills through regular language classes.

Students who have studied Greek to SQA Higher, GCE A-level or equivalent will take the following two compulsory modules:

  •  The Landscape of Greek Prose (A): designed for students to follow on from Greek Pastoral and Passion, this module examines a wide range of Greek prose texts and enhances Greek language skills through regular language classes.
  • The Landscape of Greek Poetry (A): following on from The Landscape of Greek Prose (A), this module covers a diverse range of ancient poetry in the original Greek, starting with Homer’s Iliad, and enhances Greek language skills through regular language classes.


Ex-beginners in Latin will take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Latin in Progress 1: building on work covered in Elementary Latin 1 and 2, this module examines a wide range of texts in both prose and verse from the Republican period, and enhances Latin language skills through regular language classes.
  • Latin in Progress 2: building on work from Latin in Progress 1, this module examines a wide range of texts in both prose and verse from the imperial period, and enhances Latin language skills through regular language classes.

Students who have studied Latin to SQA Higher, GCE A-level or equivalent will take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Latin Language and Literature 1: building on World of Latin 1 and 2, this module examines a wide range of texts in both prose and verse taken mostly from the Republican period, and enhances Latin language skills through regular language classes.
  • Latin Language and Literature 2: building on Latin Language and Literature 1, this module examines a wide range of texts in both prose and verse from the Roman Imperial period, and enhances Latin language skills through regular language classes.

If you decide to take Classics in your third and fourth years, you will do a minimum of three modules in Greek and three in Latin, and then you can focus the rest of your Honours modules on one classical language or the other, or balance your programme with a mixture of both.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Floating Words: Anonymous Writing in Ancient Rome
  • Greeks and Barbarians
  • Greeks on Education
  • Greek Tragedy
  • Imagining the Symposium
  • Latin Letters
  • Lies, History and Ideology
  • Roman Biography
  • Roman Comedy
  • Roman Epic
  • Roman Satire
  • ‘Satire’, sex and society: Greek ‘Old Comedy’
  • Senecan Tragedy
  • Texts and Objects in the Greek World
  • The Art of Translation: Ovid in English
  • The Gods of Greek Literature
  • The History of Ancient Greek from Homer to the New Testament
  • Violence in Early Greek Poetry
  • Women in Myth.

In fourth year, students may undertake a 10,000-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 format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, language classes and set-text reading classes (10 to 40 students).

In addition to these classes, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom.

At Honours level, teaching is delivered through seminars (10 to 20 students), with a strong emphasis on students’ own contributions in informal class discussion and in group or individual presentations.

When not attending lectures, tutorials and reading classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

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

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

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

In addition to your studies in the School of Classics, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

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.


Almost all of the modules in classics are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • literary criticism and commentary exercises
  • class tests, including unseen translation and grammar exercises.

In addition, 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. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students.

Virtual visiting days


Our spring 2021 visiting days have now passed. Dates for our Autumn 2021 visiting days will be available in early summer.


Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Home-funded £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
EU and overseas £25,100

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

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.

Classics bursaries

The School of Classics offers bursaries for travel (including internships) to archaeological sites, summer schools, museums, and other institutions like the British Schools in Athens and Rome, or to attend approved Latin or Greek summer schools.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Classics as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

In taking a joint degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

Your future


Classics 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 classics graduates have moved into careers in:

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

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

  • flexible thinking
  • understanding a range of viewpoints and critical approaches
  • exercising reflection and critical judgment
  • gathering, memorising, organising and deploying information
  • better understanding of modern languages
  • 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.

Study abroad

Classics students may 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.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of classics may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • History Society hosts talks with guest speakers on a variety of topics as well as social events including pub nights, garden parties and trips abroad.
  • The Bacchae Society is the student society for everyone interested in all things classical.

The School of Classics is housed in Swallowgate, an attractive building which overlooks the sea and is close to the University Library and St Salvator's Quadrangle. Students will attend tutorials, seminars, lectures and individual meetings with tutors in this building.

The Swallowgate building also houses the School of Classics’ class library. The class library contains books that supplement the extensive holdings in the main Library and closely support the School’s undergraduate programmes. It is a lovely additional study space for students in the School.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. Find out more about the town of St Andrews.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


School of Classics
University of St Andrews
Butts Wynd
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2600

School of Classics website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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