Classical Studies MA (Hons)
2017 entry

The MA (Hons) in Classical Studies includes the study of Greek and Roman literature alongside social and cultural history, philosophy, religion and art. The course encourages new ways of seeing the classical and modern worlds. All Classical Studies modules use English texts.

Classical Studies at St Andrews allows you to discover and debate the nature of Athenian democracy, the power of Greek tragedy, the purpose of ancient erotic fiction, the imposing beauty of Roman sculpture or the twists and turns of Platonic dialogue.

At all stages during your time studying Classical Studies at St Andrews there is the opportunity to study complementary subjects such as Ancient History and Ancient Philosophy. 

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 36

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Classical Studies is necessary, but experience of studying a modern or ancient foreign language at National 5, GCSE level or equivalent is recommended.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Classical Studies is a four-year course run by the School of Classics. The first two years focus on Greek and Roman literature, art and culture. In your first year, you will explore some of the most dynamic literary and artistic achievements of archaic and classical Greek and Roman culture.

In second year you will take modules that further extend and refine your knowledge of Greek and Latin literature. This year covers the art and literature of the Late Roman Republic, and explores early Greek poetry and philosophy.

There is no compulsory language element in the Classical Studies MA (Hons), although you can choose to study Latin or Greek through optional modules. The Classical Studies programme is extremely flexible and also allows you to take sub-honours modules from the Ancient History (MA) programme, which will deepen and broaden your understanding of the historical background to Greek and Roman culture.

The analytical skills you gain in your first two years will prepare you to continue exploring a wide range of texts and topics at a more advanced level in your third and fourth years (Honours level).

At Honours level, you will be able to branch out and study modules across a range of genres which reflect your own particular interests. A wide selection of other historical, philosophical and cultural topics can also be studied. Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • major genres of Greek and Roman literature, from epic to history, rhetoric and novels
  • Greek and Roman art
  • Greek philosophy
  • ancient religion and magic
  • Greek theatre
  • the reception of Greek and Roman culture from the Renaissance to the present, in theatre, novels, education and film.

There is a wide choice of other modules available to complement Classical Studies and suit your interests. For example, Ancient History, Modern Languages, Mediaeval History, English Literature and Philosophy.

Find out more about Classical Studies at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Classical Studies alongside modules in at least one other subject. Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

The Classical Studies programme is very flexible and can incorporate modules in Ancient History, Latin and Greek alongside or even in place of specialist Classical Studies modules (though there are some minimum requirements), so that you can pursue your interests in the Greeks and Romans wherever they lead.

In the first year, most students take:

You can also choose from first-year modules in Ancient History, Greek and Latin.

In the second year, most students take:

  • Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy: explores the diversity of early Greek thought at the crossroads of poetry and philosophy, starting with Hesiod’s struggle to reorder the world of gods and humans.
  • Culture and Thought in the Late Roman Republic: sets the main literary texts of the Late Roman Republic against the broader backdrop of Roman art, culture and social life. All prescribed texts will be studied in translation.

You can also choose from modules in Ancient History, Greek and Latin.

If you decide to take Classical Studies in your third and fourth years, you will choose further modules for more advanced study of ancient texts, discourses and images.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Greek Theatre
  • Art of the Roman Empire
  • Religions of the Greeks
  • Pleasure, Goodness and Happiness: Hellenistic Ethics
  • Roman Praise
  • Herodotus
  • Greek Painted Pottery
  • Magic in Greco-Roman Literature and Life
  • Animals in Greco-Roman Antiquity
  • Modern Classics: Classics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

You will also have access to Honours modules from the Ancient History and Ancient History & Archaeology programmes.

In fourth year, students also have the opportunity to undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (60 to 90 students) and small group tutorials (8 to 12 students). Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by an expert tutor. 

In addition to lectures and tutorials, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom.

At Honours level, students are taught through seminars (10 to 20 students), with an emphasis on students’ own contribution in informal class discussion and in group or individual presentations. 


Most modules in Classical Studies are assessed by a combination of 50% coursework and 50% examination. Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • learning diaries
  • oral presentations
  • literary criticisms.

Most modules include a written examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.


Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year. These include:

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Classics bursaries

The School of Classics offers bursaries for travel (including internships) to archaeological sites, summer schools, museums, and other institutions like the British Schools in Athens and Rome.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Classical Studies as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following listed subjects.

It is also possible to combine a degree in Classical Studies with two modern languages. Any combination of Arabic, French, Italian, Persian and Russian is available.

  • History
  • Biblical Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • Greek
  • International Relations
  • Latin
  • Mathematics
  • Mediaeval History
  • Middle East Studies
  • Modern History
  • Persian
  • Scottish History
  • Social Anthropology
  • Theological Studies

Your future


Classical Studies students at St Andrews have traditionally moved into a very wide range of careers on graduating. Some continue their academic careers via a postgraduate training degree or doctoral study either in St Andrews or at another university. Other students have often progressed to postgraduate qualifications in teaching, law or finance.

Recent Classical Studies graduates have moved into careers in:

  • law
  • marketing
  • museums work
  • journalism
  • the theatre
  • civil service
  • teaching
  • finance
  • applied computing.

A degree in Classical Studies will provide you with transferable skills that will equip you for a future career in many sectors. These skills include:

  • understanding a range of viewpoints and critical approaches
  • exercising reflection and critical judgment
  • gathering, memorising, organising and deploying information
  • time management
  • project planning
  • independent work
  • group work
  • oral and written expression.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Classical Studies may be interested in joining the following student societies:

The School of Classics is housed in Swallowgate, an attractive building which overlooks the sea and is close to the University Library and main quadrangle. Students will attend tutorials, seminars and individual meetings with tutors in this building, while lectures are held nearby in St Salvator’s quadrangle.

The Swallowgate building also houses the School of Classics’ Class Library. The Class Library contains books that supplement the extensive holdings in the main Library and closely support the School’s undergraduate programmes.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


School of Classics
University of St Andrews
Butts Wynd
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 25600

Classics website