To study Classics in the original languages of Latin and Greek is to engage with a literature which shaped the intellectual life of western Europe over many centuries and which continues to influence western culture profoundly today. 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, arguments and problems in our own culture too.
The course will require you to engage in depth with a wide range of texts from classical antiquity. It involves study of the many different genres of ancient Greek and Latin literature from epic poetry and tragedy to historiography and philosophy. You will be required to develop skills of reading and understanding these texts in the original language. In the process, you will also gain a broad understanding of ancient social, cultural and political history. During your time studying Classics at St Andrews, there will be opportunities to study complementary subjects such as Ancient History and Archaeology.
More information for 2020 entry will be available in September 2019. For information on the current year of entry for this course see the 2019 page.
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, including B in a foreign language
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.
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.
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.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
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 web page.
St Andrews students 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.
The School of Classics at St Andrews has an international reputation for the diversity of teaching programmes offered. The School has expertise in history and archaeology from the archaic Greek period to Late Antiquity. It also has expertise in literature from the Greek classical and imperial periods to the Later Roman Empire, including the Greek literature of the Roman Empire, and later engagement with the Classics from the Renaissance to the modern day.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2018 as 94% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
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:
A degree in Classics 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
better understanding of modern languages
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.
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.
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 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.
“Taking Ancient Greek has made my understanding of both the classical world and the foundation of European culture so much better. The language contact time has been fast-paced but very enjoyable. The teaching is of a high quality and the lecturers’ enthusiasm and enjoyment of their subject is infectious!”
Hugh (Berkshire, England)
School of Classics University of St Andrews Swallowgate Butts Wynd St Andrews KY16 9AL
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).