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General FAQs

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No, not unless you are applying for an organ scholarship. For more information on organ scholarships please visit the following sites: University of Oxford,  University of Cambridge

You can only apply for one course in any one year, however it might be possible to be considered for an alternative course once you have been interviewed during the admissions process.

No - you apply to the colleges through UCAS and the university form. Please see the section on How to apply for classical courses. You do not even need to apply to a college; you may make an ‘open application’ (see the answer to the next question).

No. The Classics Faculty has robust measures in place to ensure as far as possible that the best candidates secure places regardless of which college they apply to. The data from candidates’ UCAS forms, their written work assessment, and their test results are all scrutinized by tutors from all colleges and many candidates are interviewed by one or more college other than their college of first choice. Practically all students who have been admitted to a college other than their first-choice college are very happy at that college, and once admitted most could not conceive of wanting to be at any other. Remember again that there is the option of making an open application.

Almost all of the undergraduate colleges offer the classical courses. Full details are available from the Admissions website. This website has direct links to the classics sections of the college websites http://classics.web.ox.ac.uk/colleges-offering-classics-courses

There is no need at all to choose a college, if you do not want to. You can submit an 'open application', and a computer will allocate you to a college. From that point on, you will be treated in exactly the same way as applicants who named a college on their form. For advice on choosing colleges and for college summaries see Colleges and Private Halls and How do I choose an Oxford College.

Although the vast majority of our students either come immediately after leaving school or have taken a single gap year, we warmly welcome applications from potential classicists of absolutely every age, background and experience. We are looking purely for academic merit and commitment, and we take careful account of individual circumstance and opportunity. If there are factors which you think it would be helpful for us to know about, it is a good idea to mention them in your application. For more information see the university's admissions guide for mature students.

You should send two pieces of normal school/college work (usually essays) done as part of your sixth-form course. Normally these will be in areas relevant to Classics. They should preferably not be short, timed essays or exercises answering questions on a short passage of text. Ideally they should be something that shows your skills of expression and argument to good effect. You should not however produce something specially for the occasion. If you are unsure what would be the most appropriate pieces of written work to send in, then feel free to seek advice from the Classics tutor at your college of first choice or from the Schools Liaison Officer. You should keep a copy before submitting the work, and read it through before you come to interview, just to refresh your memory, since it is likely that you will be asked about this work at some point during the interview process. See http://classics.web.ox.ac.uk/how-apply

Yes, we do ask all candidates for classical degrees to submit some written work to us, partly so that we have the same type of information for all candidates and partly to give us some idea of your interests and how you can express them. If you have some work from near the end of your sixth-form career, you could consider sending that. Or you might choose to write something on a classical subject, so that we can see your work as it is now. It would be a good idea to consult with the tutors in the college which asks you for work (i.e. your first-choice college) if you are in any doubt.

There is no need for any special preparation. Tutors are not looking for particular items of knowledge or testing whether or not you have read certain authors. They want to see your commitment and enthusiasm for the subject. They may try to find out what you think about subjects which you do know something about (your A level texts for example), and to see how you can think on the spot about subjects which are unfamiliar.

Tutors use a large number of factors when making offers to candidates. These include past academic record (GCSE, AS grades), predicted or achieved school-leaving grades, the reference provided by your school or college, your own personal statement about your interest in the subject, written work submitted, written tests at interview, the interviews themselves, and a range of other considerations which may be brought to our attention. No one of these factors is in itself enough to win or lose a place at Oxford. We take extreme care to look at each applicant on his or her own merits, and we are above all looking for academic potential and commitment to the subject.

Just the same as for first degree candidates. For further information see the University's guidance on applying for second degrees, or consult a college tutor for advice.

We try to come to decisions quickly once the interviews are over and will let candidates know the outcome by early January.

About 10% of successful candidates are given places for deferred entry, and all colleges are willing to make such offers. Colleges are generally prepared to offer a deferred place to any candidate worthy of an undeferred place, but they usually do not offer more than one or two deferred places per subject, in order not to disadvantage the following year's candidates. Some applicants for deferred entry may either be offered an undeferred place or encouraged to apply again the following year. If a second college is willing to offer a deferred place to a candidate who wants one when the first-choice college offers only an undeferred place, the offer of a deferred place has precedence. But do bear in mind that it is crucial, if you are applying for a language-based course, to have a plan for how you will maintain your linguistic skills between leaving school and starting at university.

College tutors will usually write to successful candidates with advice about preparation for the course. In addition to reading that might be suggested, we often recommend that prospective students attend one of the excellent Latin or Greek summer schools before coming to Oxford.

Students who have not studied Latin or Greek to A-Level can particularly benefit from attending a summer school in preparation for their intensive language learning at Oxford. Students with existing language qualifications would also benefit from attending a summer school in terms of their own development, but this is not necessary.

The JACT Summer Schools Trust has a list of summer schools taking place in the UK. For programmes and booking details please visit the JACT website.

The best way to find out is to ask them at the subject Open Day (held jointly with Cambridge each March) or at college Open Days. 

See the videos on our courses pages and see the University's Student Wall of Faces

Graduates with classical degrees have an outstanding employment record, and their opportunities are as broad as those of any other arts students. They go on to further study, teaching, law, accountancy, into the City, central or local government, computing, industry. The University Careers Service has an excellent record in helping undergraduates to decide what they really want to do on graduating and to find a way of doing it. See www.classics.ox.ac.uk/alumni-profiles

The best advice in choosing your course is to apply for the version that interests you most. According to the University website, the average success rate from 2018-20 was 40% for single-honours Classics, versus 34% for Classics and English (CE) and 36% for Classics and Modern Languages (CML) (see the data under A-Z of courses | University of Oxford); note however that the numbers of applicants, and of places awarded, are much smaller in CE/CML than in single-honours Classics, which means that minor fluctuations can have a relatively large effect on these statistics. Remember also that applicants for CE/CML will be asked to indicate whether they are willing to be considered for single-honours Classics. It is not unusual that applicants for CE/CML who are unsuccessful in their application for CE/CML are instead offered a place for single-honours Classics, if they have indicated that they are available for single honours.

FAQs relating to languages and subjects you may have/have not studied before

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You can apply for the full range of classical courses (Literae Humaniores, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages, Classics and Oriental Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient and Modern History). See the table of language requirements, which will show you which classical courses are most suitable for you. A knowledge of the classical languages will enhance anyone's understanding of the ancient world, and if you have the chance to learn both Latin and Greek at school you are well-advised to take it.  In many of the Oxford classics courses it is possible to pick up the other classical language during your degree.

No problem at all. We recognise that not every school can offer classical language teaching and we are proud that our whole range of classical degrees at Oxford, both linguistic and non-linguistic, is available to the best applicants, regardless of whether or not they have had the opportunity to study Greek and Latin before university. We provide intensive tuition in Latin and/or Greek to suit all levels of prior experience. See the table of language requirements, which shows that you can apply for any of our classical degrees.

There really is absolutely no need or expectation for you to have taken any Latin or Greek at all in order to apply for this course. The GCSE expectation is firmly a thing of the past! We do encourage successful candidates to attend a summer school before starting their course, so as to make some progress in advance. From then on, we provide all the tuition you need. We are perfectly happy for you to apply without a single word of Latin or Greek, but if you want to see how well you get on with learning a classical language before you apply, why not attend a summer school in Latin or Greek first? See the JACT website for details of future courses.

No, for some time there has been available a version of the Classics and English degree specifically for people who are taking neither Latin or Greek to A-Level (or equivalent). This version of the course lasts for four rather than three years, since it has a preparatory year of language learning built in, which caters for all levels of prior experience. See Classics and English course outline.

No. The university does not require any knowledge of either classical language from Ancient and Modern Historians (although there are opportunities for those who have studied Latin or Greek to use it in their degree). However, it is worth checking with individual college tutors or the Schools Liaison Officer if you are in any way worried about this aspect of your application.

There are no hard and fast rules about which subjects must have been taken, but it would be well worth consulting individual college tutors about this. Very many students apply for AMH without taking Ancient History at school (although quite a few are taking Classical Civilisation, or some other classical subject), but it would be highly unusual for an applicant to lack Modern History as a school subject.

In Option A, you study both one ancient and one modern language throughout the three years in Oxford, or four if you are taking the version beginning with a qualifying year learning Latin or Greek (There is also one year abroad). In Option B, you spend the first five terms studying for Classics Mods, and only after that do you add in your modern language. While Option A focuses on literature and language on the Classics side, Option B necessarily also involves at least one option in philosophy (ancient or modern) and at least one in ancient history or archaeology or comparative philology. 

Yes, Egyptology is one of the options available within the BA in Classics and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to study Egyptology in any of the other Classics degrees.