Latin MA (Hons)
2017 entry

Knowledge of Latin is not only essential to any in-depth understanding of ancient Roman culture, it is also the key to an enormously rich body of literature. The MA (Hons) in Latin will develop your Latin language skills. It will also develop skills of literary and cultural analysis which are important for understanding of 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 Latin literature from epic poetry and elegy to historiography and letter-writing. 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.

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 36

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.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Latin is necessary, but experience in studying a modern or ancient foreign language at National 5 or GCSE is recommended.  

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.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

In the first year, if you have not studied Latin previously, you will be introduced to Latin language and literature from scratch. If you have already studied Latin at a higher level, during first year you will undertake more advanced study in language and literature in integrated modules working with literary texts and linguistic and translation exercises.

In second year, all students take modules that extend and refine their knowledge of Latin literature and its background, covering prose and poetry both from the Republic and from the imperial period, while continuing to incorporate progressive work on Latin language skills in preparation for Honours-level study.

The skills you gain in analysing original Latin texts will prepare you to explore 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. Special subjects include (but are not limited to):

  • Latin prose writing, including philosophical writing, oratory, letter writing and biography
  • Latin poetry, including didactic poetry, lyric, satire and epic
  • Late antique Latin literature
  • Latin prose composition
  • Renaissance reception of Latin literature.

There is a wide choice of other modules available to complement Latin and suit your interests: popular choices include Ancient History and Archaeology, English Literature, Modern Languages, Medieval and Modern History, Philosophy and Divinity.

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

Find out more about studying Latin at St Andrews.


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

Typically, you will take one Latin module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take two compulsory first-year modules depending on their knowledge of Latin prior to the course.

Beginners in Latin will take the following two compulsory 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 compulsory modules:

  • World of Latin 1: enhances understanding of Latin language and literature through study of both verse and prose set texts and regular language classes.
  • World of Latin 2: builds on work from World of Latin 1, introducing students to a wider range of Latin literature. 

Students will take two compulsory second-year modules depending on their knowledge of Latin prior to the course.

Beginners in Latin will take the following two compulsory modules:

  • Latin in Progress 1: builds on work covered in Elementary Latin 1 and 2; 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: builds on work from Latin in Progress 1; 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: the Republic: builds on World of Latin 1 and 2; 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 Language and Literature 2: the Empire: builds on Latin Language and Literature 1; examines a wide range of texts in both prose and verse from the Republican period, and enhances Latin language skills through regular language classes.

If you decide to take Latin in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options.

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

  • Latin Philosophical Writing
  • Latin Didactic Poetry
  • Roman Satire
  • Latin Oratory
  • Latin Lyric
  • Late Antique Latin Literature
  • Latin Prose Composition
  • Senecan Tragedy
  • Roman Epic
  • Roman Biography
  • Latin Letters
  • Renaissance Reception of Latin Literature.

In fourth year, students also 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 modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must 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. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

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


Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017


Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures, 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.


Almost all of the modules in Latin 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

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 provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.


Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

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 in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

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

Faculty of Arts scholarship

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

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.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

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

It is also possible to combine a degree in Latin with two modern languages; any combination of Arabic, French, Italian, Persian, Russian, and Spanish is available.

Your future


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

Recent Latin graduates have moved into careers in:

  • law
  • museums work
  • journalism
  • the theatre
  • civil service
  • teaching
  • finance
  • applied computing.

A degree in Latin 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 Latin 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. 
  • Art History Society promotes the enjoyment of art through criticism and study.

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.

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