Classics and Joint Schools
The College offers 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.
Classics at Queen's is taught by Dr Charles Crowther (Fellow in Ancient History) and Dr Christopher Metcalf (Fellow in Classical Languages and Literature), and Dr Almut Fries (Lecturer in Greek and Latin) and Dr Stefan Sienkiewicz (Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy). The Fellowship at Queen’s also comprises colleagues in English, Modern Languages and Oriental Studies, which makes the College equally convenient for those studying single-honours Classics and those who wish to combine Classics with Joint Honours.
The College’s recent graduates in Classics and Joint Schools have taken up a wide range of professions, from the arts (film, drama, music) to the law. Several now teach Classics in schools, or have gone on to graduate study, in subjects such as Ancient History, Ancient Near Eastern Languages, Classical Literature, English, the History of Religions, and Linguistics, at universities including Cambridge, Chicago, Harvard, Leiden, London, Oxford, St Andrews, and York. Nothing could better illustrate the breadth of the Classics course! As tutors we always encourage our students to shape their degree in accordance with their individual interests, and we see it as our pleasant duty to do whatever we can to help them thrive.
If you have any questions about the course, or would like to visit the College, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Christopher Metcalf (email@example.com) directly.
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. We encourage our students to develop their individual interests, within Classics or beyond, and to take advantage of the unique breadth of teaching that Oxford has to offer. In recent years, for instance, students reading for Classics and Oriental Studies have complemented their Classical work by learning Oriental languages such as Akkadian, Arabic, Armenian, Egyptian, 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 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. For literature and history, you will be asked questions based on whatever material you have submitted as part of your application: you may, for instance, be invited to discuss a text or topic that you have already studied as part of your written work, or that you have mentioned in your personal statement. The interviewers may ask you questions that invite you to consider familiar material from a new angle: they are looking for intellectual agility and an enquiring mind, and a real commitment to this wide-ranging subject. The interviewers will not test you on factual knowledge.
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.
Please 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 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.
Please also note the detailed annual reports on Classics and Joint Schools admissions, which prospective applicants may find helpful: https://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/applicants.