Classics

The Classics course at Cambridge allows you to study the history, culture, archaeology, art, philosophy and linguistics of classical antiquity, incorporating the study of original texts and artefacts. You can either specialise in a particular field or retain the breadth with which the course starts. 

More information on the course can be found on the University and Faculty websites.

Classics at Peterhouse

Peterhouse does not operate a fixed quota of places in Classics, but tends to admit about 3 students each year, and we accept applications for the three-year and four- year course. More information about the course can be found on the University website. Peterhouse has two Fellows in Classics: Dr Philip Pattenden (who is Director of Studies in Classics) and Dr Nicholas Zair (Director of Studies in Linguistics). For a student's perspective on studying Classics at Peterhouse, have a look at the JCR's alternative prospectus.

Course requirements

Three-year course

Applicants to the three-year course are expected to be studying Latin or Classical Greek to A level or equivalent. Most applicants will be studying Latin A level, though this is not essential. Offer holders without A Level Classical Greek will usually participate in a Greek Summer School before arriving as part of the conditions of their offer, and will need to come up to Cambridge a few days early in order to attend a pre-term course.

Four-year course

We welcome candidates without A Level (or equivalent) Latin or Classical Greek to apply for the 4-year Classics course – please note it is highly desirable for such candidates to be studying a modern or classical language at A level (or equivalent) and to have GCSE (or equivalent) Latin or Greek. Applicants to the four-year Classics course are required to participate in a short Latin Summer School as a condition of their offer.

Other languages, History and/or Classical Civilization are useful preparation for both courses.

The application process

We ask all our Classics applicants to send us two examples of recent written work. The interview at Peterhouse will take place in two parts – a general discussion of the candidate’s academic work followed by questions about a short piece of Latin literature given to the candidate 30 minutes prior to the interview. This latter exercise will be designed to assess ability to comprehend and think about a piece of text. No preparation or prior knowledge, except knowledge of the language, will be necessary. This text will not be given to four year candidates. A second, general Classics interview at another College will normally be arranged for applicants to both courses. Whilst in Cambridge for your interviews, candidates will also be asked to sit a written assessment. This will be the same across all Colleges and more information can be found on the University website.

Typical conditional offers

Our typical conditional offer for Classics, both the three and four year courses, is A*AA at A level. IB offers are usually for a minimum of 40-42 points, to include 776 or 777 at Higher level in relevant subjects. Offers are designed to be realistic, taking into account individual circumstances, and to reflect potential and likely levels of achievement. Most of those who receive offers will attain the grades required.