Dr Armand D'Angour  is the Fellow and Tutor in Classics. He is interested in most areas of Greek and Latin language and literature, and particularly in ancient Greek music, psychology and sociology. He composed the Ode to Athens for the Olympic Games in 2004 and has produced a similar commission for the London Olympics 2012. He is author of numerous scholarly articles and verse compositions in Greek and Latin, and recently published The Greeks and the New: Novelty in ancient Greek imagination and experience (Cambridge University Press, August 2011).
Dr Teresa Morgan , Fellow in Ancient History at Oriel College, is a Lecturer at Jesus responsible for arranging teaching and supervision in Ancient History. Her work covers many aspects of literature, culture and society in antiquity. She is the author of Literate education in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds (1998), and Popular Morality in the Early Roman Empire (2007). For the academic years 2011-12 and 2012-13 while Dr Morgan is on leave her place will be taken by Dr Lindsay Driediger-Murphy, who specialises in the history of the Roman world.
About the Course
Oxford has the largest Classics department in the world, with unparalleled teaching, library and museum resources and a wealth of extracurricular activities including performances of Greek plays. Jesus College welcomes candidates for all the language-based Classics courses offered by Oxford: Classics, Classics and English, and Classics and Modern Languages. The College admits around five candidates each year across these subjects.
Jesus College is known for its beautiful quads, friendly atmosphere, good food and generous student facilities. It is relatively small and centrally-placed, and most of its 350 undergraduates and 190 postgraduates live in College accommodation. We aim to give Classics places to keen, hard-working students with open minds and varied interests, who enjoy engaging in literary study and are prepared to engage with the broad and unremitting challenge of the Classics. Teaching takes place in weekly tutorials and discussion groups (mainly in College, sometimes with outside tutors), in combination with university classes and lectures. Academic standards are extremely high. The satisfaction of attaining high standards of intellectual achievement in a lively and supportive environment makes studying at Jesus College a rewarding and memorable experience.
The four-year Classics course, known as Greats or Lit. Hum. (Literae Humaniores), is divided into two parts. The first-part exam, Mods (short for Moderations), is taken after five terms (i.e. two thirds of the way through the second year); the focus is on knowledge of the classical languages and their literature, though there are also opportunities to study philosophy, ancient history, archaeology, and linguistics. These subjects also feature, together with further study of the literature, as options for the final exam (Finals). The Classics course has various subdivisions, depending on what candidates have studied before coming up to Oxford:
Course I: for those with prior knowledge of Latin and/or Greek
IA - For students with both Greek and Latin up to A-level standard
IB - For students with Latin up to A-level standard, but little or no Greek
IC - For students with Greek up to A-level standard, but little or no Latin
Course IA Mods consists of exams in Homer, Virgil, a range of Greek and Latin texts, two special subjects and two language papers (including translation into Latin and Greek). The Latin side of Course 1B is the same as that for IA, but the Greek side concentrates on language, with a more restricted range of texts. Course IC follows the same pattern as IB but with the languages reversed. After Mods, IB and IC candidates follow the same course as those who came up with A-level Latin and Greek. The course is intensive and demanding, so good linguistic gifts and a sound knowledge of one classical language are required.
Course II: for those who have not studied either language
IIA - For students who opt to learn Latin for Mods
IIB - For students who opt to learn Greek for Mods
The first part of Course II (up to Mods) consists of an intensive language course in either Latin or Greek. After Mods, similar options are available as for Course I candidates, as well as the option to take a further intensive course in the other classical language.
Classics and Modern Languages may be taken as either a four-year or five-year course, which includes a year abroad in the third or fourth year. One option is to take a first exam consisting of papers in the Modern Language and one classical language (Modern Languages Prelims) after three terms. The more ample option is to take Classics Mods (either Course I or II) after five terms and then transfer to the Joint School, in which papers from the Lit. Hum. courses are combined with papers in Modern Languages (for further details see separate notes for Classics and Modern Languages .)
Classics and English is a three-year course which offers the opportunity to study either or both classical languages together with English literature. Mods is taken after three terms and involves papers in both subjects. A feature of the second part of the course is the study of ‘link’ subjects such as Epic and Tragedy, which include both classical and English works within a particular genre for further details see separate notes for Classics and English .)
Details of the admissions process are available in the University prospectus and on the Admissions  pages of the University website. Selection of candidates is on the basis of the UCAS reference and previous academic record (e.g. GCSEs), interview, and performance in short written tests. Offers made to pre A-level candidates will be AAA or equivalent.
For Course IA, Latin and Greek at A2 level are required. For Course 1B, Latin is required to A2 level or equivalent. The course is designed for absolute beginners in Greek, but most undergraduates taking it will have some knowledge (e.g. from the JACT Summer School or GCSE Greek), and it can be an advantage to have a Modern Language A-level. Similar conditions apply to Course 1C. For Course II, GCSE level in Latin or Greek is desirable, and a strong interest in and aptitude for language and for Classics should be demonstrable (e.g. good exam results in a modern language). Course II candidates should also be prepared to learn the basics of one language at a summer school prior to embarking on the course.
As part of your application you will be required to submit two essays or commentaries in areas relevant to Classics. They should preferably not be short, timed essays or exercises answering questions on a short passage of text.
Candidates will be required to take a written test in schools on 7 November 2012. The test is administered by Cambridge Assessment, and the registration deadline is 15 October 2012. Course I candidates (all options) will take A-level standard tests in Latin and/or Greek. Course II candidates will take a Classics Language Aptitude Test which aims to assess students’ grasp of linguistic structures.
Deferred Entry: Applications may be made for deferred entry to Jesus. You must apply for deferred entry at the time of application to Oxford, and cannot change your mind after an offer has been made. Please refer to departmental web sites for subject-specific advice. Applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will need to be be among the strongest of the cohort for their subject, so as not to disadvantage the following year's candidates. In some cases, an applicant for deferred entry may be offered a place for non-deferred entry instead. If you require any further advice, please contact the Admissions Officer .
Postgraduate Studies and Careers
In Oxford there is a larger concentration of teachers of classical subjects, and of graduate students, than anywhere else in the world. The following degrees are offered at postgraduate level:
- MSt (1 year) or MPhil (2 years) Greek and/or Latin Language and Literature
- MSt or MPhil Greek and/or Roman History
- DPhil Classics
Classics requires intense critical engagement with languages, literature and history, and encompasses philosophy, art and archaeology. This makes it a varied and demanding course of study, and the aim at Oxford is to take it to the highest possible level. Lively and dedicated attention to a subject of such breadth and depth offers incalculable personal enrichment and also leaves students well prepared to excel in a wide variety of careers and professions. Students who have pursued a subject they enjoy can respond to new intellectual challenges with freshness and creative acumen. Classics graduates are highly employable: classicists enjoy successful careers in fields as diverse as accountancy, advertising, computing, finance, law, industry, public administration, social work, and teaching.
Preliminary Reading and Further Information
Last updated May 2012