Classics and Joint Schools
Students at Queen’s can select all varieties of the Classics course, including Classics IA-C, IIA-B, and Joint Honours with English, Modern Languages, or Oriental Studies. For details of these options, please refer to the relevant Faculty websites using the links on the left-hand side of this page.
Queen’s devotes considerable resources to Classics teaching. The tutorial remains the principal means of instruction. This usually involves two people and the tutor, and discussion of a topic on which the students will have written an essay. Tutorial essays tend to deal with detailed work on particular texts or questions, while the University lectures offer a broader view. The College also provides special language teaching (in addition to the general Faculty-based language classes) in order to help all students, whatever their previous experience, to reach their best possible level in Greek and/or Latin. Furthermore, tutorials are regularly accompanied by reading classes, which are designed to support text-reading in the original languages.
For the first part of the course, until Mods or Prelims, most teaching is done in-house: the tutors and lecturers in Queen’s regularly offer teaching in Greek and Latin literature, ancient history and ancient philosophy. After Mods or Prelims, the students’ choice of subjects determines where they are taught, though much is usually again in College.
The Fellowship at Queen’s also comprises colleagues in English, Modern Languages and Oriental Studies, which is particularly convenient for students combining Classics with Joint Honours. In recent years, students reading for Classics and Oriental Studies have taken Oriental languages such as Akkadian, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Old Persian and Sanskrit.
We normally take five candidates each year; there are no specific quotas for individual courses.
Before the interview season, you will be required to submit two pieces of work. Ideally, these will be marked essays (not work revised especially for submission). If you are in doubt about what to submit, do get in touch with us. You will also take the relevant language tests, or the Language Aptitude Test if you are have no classical languages. In the interviews, we are looking for people with a commitment to the study of the very broad classics courses and the ability to take advantage of the tutorial system.
You will be given a set of philosophical problems involving logic to look at before philosophy interviews; these problems do not presuppose any knowledge of particular philosophies. Since philosophy can be a part of all these courses, we ask all candidates for classical subjects to do a philosophy interview; this makes comparison fairer too, since all tutors have seen all candidates. For literature and history, you may be asked to look at a passage in advance, and the questions will also seek to find out how well you can not only defend your position, but also take account of and use criticisms and qualifications of that position.
You should try to relax and enjoy the occasion (people do!): we will not be trying to catch you out, nor is it essential that everything you say is ‘right'; we are interested in your ability to analyse and discuss a topic, not just in what you know or do not know. It is therefore important not to come with pre-prepared ideas to which you intend to stick whatever criticisms may be made of them.