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Classics (BA)

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Course details

Learning Latin and Greek provides insights not only into ancient culture but also into the workings of language in general. 

You will study at one of the UK's leading classics departments with an outstanding record in teaching and research. This course is for students who already have A-level standard competence in at least one ancient language; it focuses on the study of Latin and Greek texts in the original.

Towards the end of your course, the 10,000 word dissertation allows students to analyse a classical subject of their choice in depth.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
UCAS code Q800
Qualification Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Duration Three years full time
Typical A-level offer ABB and GCSE Latin or Greek grade A, or AS/A-level in Latin or Greek grade B.
Department Classics

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time undergraduate degrees must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Further information on making your application through UCAS is available on the Applying section of our website.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. The College runs three annual Open days which give you the chance to meet our students and teaching staff, and get a taste of what university life is really like.

Prospective students who receive an offer of a place are invited to attend a UCAS day, where they are shown around the department, given the opportunity to speak with academic members of staff and meet current students.

Entry requirements

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels ABB and GCSE Latin or Greek grade A, or AS/A-level in Latin or Greek grade B.
GCSE At least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.

English language

IELTS 6.5 overall, with 7.0 in writing and minimum of 5.5 in each subscore for equivalencies please see here

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including 5 at Standard Level Latin or Greek with a minimum of 32 points overall
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject PLUS GCSE grade A in Greek or Latin, or AS/A-level in Greek or Latin grade B
BTEC National Diploma DD in a related subject and A-Level grade B PLUS GCSE grade A in  Greek or Latin, or AS/A-level in Greek or Latin grade B
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma D and A-Levels grade BB PLUS GCSE grade A Greek or Latin, or AS/A-Level in Greek or Latin grade B.
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Level Core.
Scottish Advanced Highers

AB plus AABBB at Higher Level including B in Greek or Latin

Scottish Highers AABBB including B in Greek or Latin plus AB at Advanced Higher Level
Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB at Higher Level including B in either Greek at Higher Level or Latin at Higher Level
Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass in a relevant subject with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area, PLUS GCSE grade A Greek or Latin, or AS/A-Level  in Greek or Latin grade B.

Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant is 21 or over at the time of application and has had a break from education.

Other UK Qualifications

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International and EU Entry Requirements

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Applicants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we accept a broad range of qualifications. Examples of other qualifications we recognise include QAA-approved Access to HE courses, in which we expect students to receive a minimum Pass grade, and the Greek Apolyterion, for which our standard offer is 18/20. 

Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant is 21 or over at the time of application and has had a considerable break from education.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for further information on the entry requirements from their country and English language requirements.  Royal Holloway International offers an International Foundation Programme and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

We make decisions based on achieved or predicted grades, personal statements and references. More information on how your application will be assessed, and tips for your personal statement can be found on our Applying pages.

Applicants who receive an offer to study at Royal Holloway will be invited to attend an Applicant Visit Day. An Applicant Visit Day provides you the opportunity to visit the College and the Department, to sit in on a first year lecture and to attend a presentation by the Admissions Tutor. You will also get the opportunity to have a friendly and informal individual meeting with a member of academic staff. 

Why choose this course?

  • The opportunity to build on your knowledge of one classical language while acquiring the other and studying it for all three years.
  • Its wide range of non-linguistic options including classical archaeology and ancient philosophy as well as ancient history and classical literature in translation.
  • You will acquire skills of translation not only from Latin and Greek into English but also from English into Latin and Greek.
  • The opportunity to take a second year project option and to write a third year dissertation.
  • You will become part of a friendly and supportive department with a tradition of good pastoral care.

What you'll learn

You will spend at least half your time studying Latin and Greek and reading texts in the original. Your other course units will be chosen from those available to Classical Studies students: topics include ancient philosophy, ancient history and classical archaeology as well as Latin and Greek literature in translation.

Throughout the course, you will:

  • learn skills in Greek and Latin sufficient to understand and analyse large sections of a range of ancient authors in the original language
  • acquire interpretative and analytical skills in dealing with a variety of primary and secondary literary, philosophical, archaeological and documentary source material
  • develop a critical knowledge of methodologies deployed in the study of ancient literary, philosophical and historical texts.

All undergraduate degree courses at Royal Holloway are based on the course unit system. This system provides an effective and flexible approach to study, while ensuring that our degrees have a coherent and developmental structure.

See the Department’s website for further information.

View the full course specification for Classics (BA) in the Programme Specification Repository

How you'll learn & be assessed

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four whole units per year. Two units per year must be either Latin and Greek language units or units studying Latin and/or Greek literature in the original language. The remaining units are elective, thereby offering flexibility and choice.

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials, depending on the subjects studied. Outside classes, you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study, including completing language exercises and reading prescribed and open material. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

In your final year the Classics department provides ongoing support for your dissertation work, which usually includes:

  • Lectures and practical sessions on Dissertation Research Methods e.g. planning your topics, carrying out research, using specialist resources, finding information in print and online, and managing your search results and references. These sessions are run in conjunction with the Library Service and are generally also open to second year students.
  • Short departmental writing ‘surgeries’, in which academic staff offer general writing support if you are experiencing problems and/or if you have specific queries.

Assessment takes place by a combination of ongoing language tests, written assignments for non-linguistic course units and end of year exams.

Employability & career opportunities

Choosing a Classical subject at Royal Holloway will equip you with a broad range of skills, such as the ability to analyse and summarise content, critically evaluate resources and construct coherent arguments in the written and spoken word. Studying an intellectually demanding discipline will demonstrate to employers that you enjoy being challenged and are able to understand complex issues. You will also develop the transferable skills valued by employers:  communication and presentation skills, teamwork, time management and critical thinking. From 2013 (subject to validation) we will be adding a new ‘skills’ module as part of the degree programme, as well as a competitive new work placement scheme – the only such scheme in a UK Classics department.

Our recent graduates have very successfully entered a wide range of careers including law, government, publishing, finance, teaching, marketing and the media. Many have also progressed to postgraduate study in a variety of fields. To find out more about what our students are doing now, please visit the department’s website.

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