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Classics

  • Number of students per year: two to four
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent
  • Essential subjects: Latin (for three year course)
  • Essential subjects: None (for four year course)
  • Useful subjects: Greek, Classical Civilisation, or Ancient History. Any subject at A-Level is welcome, sciences as well as arts.

Jesus College offers an outstanding environment in which to study Classics. With two teaching Fellows and three emeritus Fellows in the discipline, together with a lively graduate community, we are able to offer 'in house' College teaching in most subjects.

Greek and Latin are difficult languages, and we are committed to supporting students to gain linguistic confidence and fluency.

Many famous classicists have studied or taught at Jesus, and we have a well stocked library and good facilities. We encourage interaction between students in different years (and with former students) and there is a rolling programme of extracurricular activities and events. There are dedicated prizes for performance in exams and travel to classical lands.

Find out more on the University webpage.

Requirements

Conditional offers are usually an A* and two A grades at A-Level, but individual circumstances are always carefully considered when making offers. You don't need to take a Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP). 

If you can study Latin or Greek to A2 at school, you are encouraged to do so. The three year course requires an A-Level in Latin, please get in touch if you have or will have an A-Level in Greek but not Latin.

An A-Level in Greek is not an entry requirement: over half of the classicists every year come up to Cambridge without a Greek A-Level, and many of those have no previous experience of Greek at all. 

There is a well established and successful intensive Greek course which provides extra teaching in Greek. If you take the intensive Greek course you will be expected to attend the two week JACT Greek summer school at Bryanston or equivalent in the summer before you come up to Cambridge.

If you cannot study Latin and Greek at school, you can take the four year course at Cambridge. It is possible to do this course without having done any Latin or Greek before, but any language learning you can do before you come to Cambridge will prove helpful.

We don't require any specific A-Levels from candidates applying for the four year course. Successful applicants in the past have taken A-Levels in a wide variety of different subjects, including Modern Languages, English, History, Maths, and others.

We welcome applications from students with other qualifications comparable to A-Level, such as the Scottish Certificate of Sixth Year Studies, the International Baccalaureate, and other foreign school leaving examinations.

Written assessment

You will need to take a written admissions test during the interview period. The test for the three year course will be a hour long Latin translation exercise, sat in exam conditions in the College. Candidates for the four year course will have a test in the Faculty of Classics.

See the University undergraduate Classics pages for more information.

Interviews

You will have two separate subject interviews, lasting around 30 minutes each.

If you're applying for the three year course you'll have two separate interviews with one or two College Classics Fellows.

One interview will be wide ranging and informal, and may discuss a document or image that we will provide in the interview. We want to assess your motivation and commitment to the subject as well as testing your intellectual ability and academic potential.

The other interview will be more focused on your linguistic skill and aptitude, and may involve timed preparation of a short passage of Latin before the interview.

If you're applying for the four year course you'll also have two interviews with one or two College Classics Fellows, but none of the questions will require a knowledge of Latin and Greek.

We'll be looking for the intellectual abilty, enthusiasm, and commitment to the subject to enable you to cope with a demanding course. You'll also take part in an exercise designed to assess your linguistic aptitude, which will take place in the Faculty of Classics.

Everyone applying to study Classics will have a further interview at another Cambridge College in order to maximise your chances of entry.

Written work

We'd like you to submit two examples of marked work done as part of your A-Level, International Baccalaureate, or other school work in the last two years. This work may be coursework, including work submitted for an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), a written test, or an essay or language exercise such as a translation exercise or composition.

If you study Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation, or Ancient History at school, please make sure one piece of work (and preferably both) is from one of those subjects. Please don’t submit anything longer than 5,000 words in length, and keep a copy of the submitted work so you can reread it prior to interview.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We're happy to consider applications for deferred entry in Classics. The College also welcomes applications from mature students.

Those who have already done A-Levels will normally have achieved A*AA, and must go through the normal competitive process with the other applicants. We will also consider second time applicants without prejudice.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.

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