Knowledge of Greek is the key not only to a literature of enormous richness but also to in-depth understanding of a fascinating culture. The MA (Hons) in Greek will develop your Greek language skills and will also develop skills of literary and cultural analysis which are important for understanding complex texts, arguments and problems in our own culture too. It will require you to engage with a wide range of texts from classical antiquity.
The course involves study of the many different genres of ancient Greek literature from tragedy and epic 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.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Greek MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
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 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.
The University publishes its expected timetables before the advising process, and aims to provide each student with a personalised timetable once module choices have been made and confirmed during matriculation.
The School of Classics at St Andrews has an international reputation for the diversity of teaching programmes offered. The School has expertise in literature and history from the Greek classical period to Late Antiquity, as well as later engagement with the Classics from the Renaissance to the present day.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% 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.
The MA (Hons) in Greek is a four-year course run by the School of Classics. In the first year, if you have not studied Greek previously, you will be introduced to Greek language and literature from scratch. If you have already studied Greek at a higher level, in your first year you will undertake more advanced study in language and literature in modules that integrate the study of literary texts with linguistic and translation exercises.
Alongside Greek, 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. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.
In second year, all students are brought together to take modules that extend and refine their knowledge of Greek literature and its background, covering both prose and poetry from the archaic to the imperial period, while continuing to incorporate progressive work on Greek language skills in preparation for Honours-level study. Extra support classes are provided for ex-beginners.
The skills you gain in analysing original Greek texts 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. Topics may include:
Greek poetry, including epic and tragedy
Greek historiography, including authors like Herodotus and Thucydides
Greek literature in the Roman Empire
Greek prose composition.
A wide choice of other modules is available to complement Greek and suit your interests. Popular choices include Classical Studies, Ancient History, English Literature, Modern Languages, Medieval and Modern History, Philosophy and Divinity.
Students wishing to study both Greek and Latin should consider choosing Classics MA (Hons) instead.
Graduates in Greek from St Andrews can expect to have developed a wide knowledge of ancient Greek literature and culture and a high level of competence in Greek 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 webpage.
Students will take two first-year modules depending on their knowledge of 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, GCE 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 as well as 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.
Students will take two second-year modules depending on their knowledge of 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 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 (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.
If you decide to take Greek in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options.
Here is a sample of Honours modules that have been offered in previous years:
Greeks and Barbarians
Greeks on Education
Imagining the Symposium
Lies, History and Ideology
Narrating War in Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius
Texts and Objects in the Greek World
The Gods of Greek Literature
The History of Ancient Greek from Homer to the New Testament.
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 available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, language classes and set-text reading classes (10 to 30 students).
At Honours level, all 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.
In addition to these classes, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom. Typically, this will involve:
reading Greek 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 Greek and 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 Greek 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.
Almost all modules in Greek are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. Coursework includes:
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 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.
The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.
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, or to attend approved Latin or Greek summer schools.
Traditional Classical Greek courses have provided an entry to a wide range of careers and positions since employers have placed a premium on the combination of intellectual flexibility and rigour of Greek graduates.
Students who graduate with Classical Greek degrees typically do well in the graduate employment market, while some choose to continue their academic careers via a postgraduate training degree to doctoral study either in St Andrews or at another university.
Graduate destinations include:
marketing and management
civil and armed services
museums, heritage and conservation
libraries and information management
further research or study.
A degree in Greek 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
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.
Students studying Greek 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 Greek may be interested in joining the following student societies:
The Bacchae Society is the student society for everyone with an interest 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 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).