Classics > Admissions > Undergraduate > How to apply

How to apply for Classics courses

Application forms

An online UCAS form must be submitted by October 15th. On this you either name a college of first choice, or submit an open application, which means that you will be allocated a college of first choice. Tutors do not distinguish in any way between those who chose a college and those who submitted an open application. We try to make sure that the deserving candidates find a place. Do not agonise over which colleges are going to have big entries and which small - this is unpredictable from year to year.

Criteria

The Faculty has published its criteria for admissions:

Written work

For all the classical degrees, you will be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English, marked by your teachers, by mid-November, usually normal school work done as part of your course. You should keep a copy, since you may well be asked about this work in the course of the interview procedure. Do get in touch with a Classics tutor at your first choice college or, if you are making an open application, with the Faculty’s Admissions Co-ordinator if you forsee any problems about your written work.

Candidates should normally submit two pieces of work of up to 2000 words in length. Where there is no suitable alternative, pieces of work longer than 2,000 words will be acceptable, providing that a selection of c. 2,000 words is clearly indicated as the part on which you wish to be judged. You should, however, consult a Classics tutor at your first choice college or, if you are making an open application, the Faculty’s Admissions Co-ordinator before submitting a piece of written work in excess of 2000 words.

The pieces of work should preferably not be short, timed essays, translations, or exercises answering questions on a short passage of text.

You are requested to scan all of your written work (including the official coversheet, signed by the teacher) into a multi-page pdf file (one pdf for each piece of written work submitted) and send it by email to colleges’ admissions offices, as well as sending the (original) hard copies of the work.

Written tests

Unless you are applying for Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, you will be required to sit the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). The CAT is divided into three papers, all in the same booklet: the Latin Translation Test, the Greek Translation Test and the Classics Language Aptitude Test (CLAT). Applicants are required to take one, two, or three of these papers, depending upon the course applied for. Each paper is 1 hour.

The papers which make up the CAT are designed to assess linguistic ability. If you are studying Latin or Greek or both to A-level or equivalent (and are therefore applying for Course I) you should take the paper(s) in the language(s) you are studying. Candidates are reminded that this is a closed-book test. That is, the candidates will not be permitted to take dictionaries, grammar books or notes into the test. If you are not used to translating without these aids, then we suggest that you practise doing so, and try to learn vocabulary, before sitting the test. The results of the test will, however, be contextualised by the admitting tutors, and not simply taken as a raw datum. If you are studying neither Latin nor Greek to A-level or equivalent (and are applying for Course II) you must take the Classics Language Aptitude Test paper. If you are applying for Classics and Oriental Studies, intending to study Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, or Persian, you must take the Classics Language Aptitude Test paper in addition to any other paper required (if applicable).

Applicants for Classics and English must also take the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT), and applicants for Classics and Modern Languages must also take the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) in the relevant language.

All candidates will need to register for the CAT, which will be administered by the Admissions Testing Service. The deadline for registration is 15th October 2017, 18:00 BST. The tests will be sat in schools, colleges and designated test centres. These tests will take place on 2nd November 2017. Examples of written tests can be found on the links to the right.

Interviews

If you are invited for interview, you will come to Oxford for a few days in early December and stay in your first-choice college. Because we try to find places for as many good candidates as possible, you may well find that you are called for interview by several colleges while in Oxford in December. In the interviews tutors will be trying to bring out your merits, not to trip you up. They are, above all, looking for potential and an enquiring mind.

Offers

If you are successful at this stage, you will receive an offer of a place. This will be conditional on your achieving specified grades in your school-leaving exams, unless you have already left school. The standard offer is, for candidates taking A level, AAA; for Advanced Highers AA/AAB; for the IB 38-40, including core points; or an equivalent level in other qualifications. An A may be asked for in a specific subject or subjects.

International students

We welcome applicants from outside the United Kingdom. There are students from all over the world studying Classics at Oxford. We encourage students from abroad to study the entire course if at all possible, but those doing a second BA may sometimes be allowed to do a shorter version of an undergraduate course. Information about applying from outside the UK is available on the main University of Oxford website. We are used to dealing with applications from a wide range of educational systems and make offers which are appropriate in each case. For further advice on these and other qualifications, please consult the Schools Liaison Officer or the Undergraduate Admissions Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD, or seek advice from a classical tutor at one of the colleges.