Classics and Oriental Studies

Detail of a statue in the Ashmolean Museum.  (Image credit: Richard Watts).

Detail of a statue in the Ashmolean Museum. (Image credit: Richard Watts).

Classics and Oriental Studies

This course allows you to combine the study of an Oriental language and culture with Latin and/or Greek and the study of the ancient world. This degree provides an exciting opportunity for students who want to focus in interdisciplinary studies. Here are just a few examples of possible reasons to study this degree:

  • You want to immerse yourself in a broader range of languages, both Indo-European and non-Indo-European.
  • You have an interest in Judaeo-Christianity and would appreciate the chance to learn more about the relationship between the languages and cultures of the great monotheistic religions in their various (e.g. Greek and Roman) contexts.
  • You are fascinated by e.g. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia or India, and by their relations with the Greek and Roman world.

There are two options within the Classics and Oriental Studies degree: Classics with Oriental Studies (Q8T9) and Oriental Studies with Classics (T9Q8), depending on the choice of concentration.

  • Classics with Oriental Studies is a four-year degree. You spend the first five terms of the course working towards the first public examination, Honour Moderations in Classics, and the remaining seven terms working towards the final examination. This option closely resembles single-honours Classics, except that you take an Oriental language paper (such as Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic and Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, Egyptian, Hebrew, Early Iranian, Pali and Prakit, Persian, Sanskrit, or Turkish) as part of your final examination.   
  • Oriental Studies with Classics is a three-year degree. You spend the first year of the course working towards the Preliminary Examination in Oriental Studies, and the second and third years working towards the final examination. There are six main Oriental languages or subjects you can take as part of the degree: Arabic, Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (with Akkadian or Egyptian), Hebrew, Persian, Sanskrit and Turkish.

The duration of the degree may be extended by one year if your chosen oriental language offers the possibility of a year abroad.

For more information about the papers that you can study at Mods and Finals, please follow the links above. Further information on the oriental languages that you can study may be found on the Faculty of Oriental Studies' website.

Classical language options in Classics with Oriental Studies

If you take Classics with Oriental Studies, you spend the first five terms of the degree working towards Honour Moderations in Classics, which has five different versions (IA, IB, IC, IIA, IIB) depending on your choice of Classical language(s).

If you have studied Ancient Greek and/or Latin to A-level (or equivalent), you would normally apply for Course I. Course IA is designed for those who have studied both Ancient Greek and Latin to A-level (or equivalent), IB for those who have studied only Latin, and IC for those who have studied only Greek.

If you have not studied either Ancient Greek or Latin to A-level (or equivalent), you would apply for Course II. Those who take Course IIA study Latin intensively during the first part of the course; those who take Course IIB study Greek. 

Whether you start as a Course I or Course II student you end up sitting the same final exams. In addition to a wide choice of other Classical subjects, Course II students have the opportunity of taking up a second Classical language at finals if they wish. Second Classical Language is examined in two written papers and counts as two of your finals subjects.


UCAS Course Code: Classics with Oriental Studies: Q8T9, Oriental Studies with Classics (T9Q8)
Course length: Usually 4 years; 3 for those taking Oriental Studies as their main subject but not having a year abroad.
Course requirements: Latin and / or Greek to A-Level (or equivalent) for Course I, no ancient language requirements for Classics II.
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