Classical Studies MA (Hons) 2019 entry

The MA (Hons) in Classical Studies includes the study of Greek and Roman literature alongside social and cultural history, philosophy, religion and art. The course encourages new ways of seeing the classical and modern worlds. All Classical Studies modules use English texts.

Classical Studies at St Andrews allows you to discover and debate the nature of Athenian democracy, the power of Greek tragedy, the purpose of ancient erotic fiction, the imposing beauty of Roman sculpture or the twists and turns of Platonic dialogue.

At all stages during your time studying Classical Studies at St Andrews there is the opportunity to study complementary subjects such as ancient history and ancient philosophy. 

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UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 9 September 2019
  • End date: 30 June 2023

If you started this programme in 2018, you can find information about 2018 entry on the 2018 Classical Studies MA (Hons) page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAA
IB points 36, including three subjects at HL6

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 Classical Studies is necessary, but competitive applications will have previous experience of studying a modern or ancient foreign language at National 5, GCSE level or equivalent.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. 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 webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.


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 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 explore some of the most dynamic literary and artistic achievements of archaic and classical Greek and Roman culture, ranging from Homer’s epic poetry, the art, drama and philosophy of classical Athens, to the glories of Augustan Rome.

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 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 more about how academic years are organised.

At Honours level, you will be able to branch out and study modules across a range of genres which reflect your own particular interests. A wide selection of other historical, philosophical and cultural topics can also be studied. Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • ancient religion and magic
  • Greek and Roman art
  • Greek philosophy
  • Greek theatre
  • major genres of Greek and Roman literature, from epic to history, rhetoric and novels
  • the reception of Greek and Roman culture from the Renaissance to the present, in theatre, novels, education and film.

A wide range of other modules is available to complement Classical Studies and suit your interests. For example, Ancient History, Modern Languages, Mediaeval History, English Literature and Philosophy.

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 webpage.

Find out more about studying Classical Studies at St Andrews.


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. Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

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:

  • Images of Augustan Rome: studies a range of literary works that were written during the lifetime of the first emperor of Rome, Augustus, and that react in different ways to the new regime that he established. 
  • 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.

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: sets the main literary texts of the Late Roman Republic against the broader backdrop of Roman art, culture and social life. All prescribed texts will be studied in translation.
  • Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy: explores the diversity of early Greek thought at the crossroads of poetry and philosophy, starting with Hesiod’s struggle to reorder the world of gods and humans.

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 choose further modules for more advanced study of ancient texts, discourses and images.

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

  • Greek Theatre
  • Art of the Roman Empire
  • Religions of the Greeks
  • Pleasure, Goodness and Happiness: Hellenistic Ethics
  • Roman Praise
  • Herodotus
  • Greek Painted Pottery
  • Magic in Greco-Roman Literature and Life
  • Animals in Greco-Roman Antiquity
  • Modern Classics: Classics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

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 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 sub-honours modules listed here are typical modules that students take 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 available for the current academic year can be found in the the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (60 to 80 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.

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.

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 webpage.


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

  • research essays
  • learning diaries
  • oral presentations
  • literary criticisms.

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 of Classics provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

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 visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 25 September 2019
  • Wednesday 2 October 2019
  • Wednesday 16 October 2019
  • Wednesday 23 October 2019
  • Wednesday 30 October 2019


Tuition fees for 2019 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £22,350

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 such as the British Schools in Athens and Rome.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

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

It is also possible to combine a degree in Classical Studies with two modern languages. Any combination of ArabicFrenchItalianPersian and Russian is available.

Your future


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 work
  • 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
  • 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.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

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 Classical Studies may be interested in joining the following student societies:

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

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.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

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).