The Classics Tripos at Cambridge is designed to give students as broad and deep an insight as possible into the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Although it is not narrowly language-based - quite the opposite - it does demand study of both Greek and Latin, since real access to these cultures is impossible without expertise in their languages. St Catharine's is particularly eager to admit talented and enthusiastic students who have not had the benefit of extensive linguistic tuition at school in either Greek or Latin.
Part I of the Tripos takes two years, and Part II occupies the third and final year of the course. In Part I students improve their language skills and are introduced to the remarkably diverse range of classical subjects: literature, philosophy, history, art and archaeology, and linguistics. The Faculty of Classics offers lectures on all these topics. Part II is extremely flexible, allowing students to create their own customised programmes, which can include courses from other Tripos.
The Classics Faculty at Cambridge offers two different and distinctive attractions, concrete and academic. The Faculty is housed in a well-equipped building on the arts site, boasting one of the largest and best Classics libraries in the world, and a superb museum. It has a well-deserved and ever-growing reputation for its special Part II interdisciplinary courses, which develop innovative approaches to cultural issues, and demand challenging combinations of skills and outlooks. Dr Wardy has himself created and run such interdisciplinary courses, and St Catharine's students are encouraged to take advantage of them. Students can also combine Classics with certain other courses, such as Modern Languages or Philosophy. Dr Wardy, who also directs studies for the college in Philosophy, is happy to consider applications from students interested in combining Classics with Philosophy.
Faculty website: www.classics.cam.ac.uk.
College supervisions occur weekly, different sessions being devoted to language and to the discussion of prepared essays on one or another classical subject. St Catharine's classicists are always taught in small groups, and enjoy good library facilities in college. Dr Robert Wardy, our resident classicist, is an expert in ancient Greek philosophy.
Classics (three-year course)
St Catharine’s is typically looking for A* AA or 777 IB higher. A Level/IB Higher Level Latin is a necessary requirement.
Subjects that offer a grounding in the skills required for the course, such as languages, essay-based subjects, history, history of art and literary criticism, are useful; but students with a science-based background are also regularly admitted.
Classics (four-year course)
St Catharine’s is typically looking for A* AA or 777 IB higher. No specific subject is a necessary requirement; however, either A Level/IB Higher Level languages, or GCSE Latin and/or Greek, are useful.
Students with a very wide range of subjects at A Level/IB Higher Level (or equivalent) are admitted. Subjects that offer a grounding in the skills required for the course, such as languages, essay-based subjects, history, history of art and literary criticism, are particularly useful, but not essential.
You will sit an admissions assessment on the same day as your interview.
Dr Robert Wardy
Dr Robert Wardy is University Reader in Ancient Philosophy and the College's Director of Studies in both Classics and Philosophy. Among his publications is Doing Greek Philosophy (Routledge, 2005), a book aimed at students curious about his specialty. His interests include Chinese and literary topics, and he is currently engaged in work on Plato's Symposium.
Studying Classics at Cambridge - an excellent decision. Studying Classics at Catz - possibly the best decision you will ever make. Catz definitely deserves its reputation as the friendliest college, and the relatively small number of undergraduates studying Classics means that there is great interaction and support between Classicists from different years. This year there are four first years studying Classics and there is a mixture of students studying the intensive and non-intensive Greek course. Catz is also one of the first colleges to have embraced the new four-year course for students with a minimal language background. You get to know your fellow Classicists really well and also make close friends at college with those studying different subjects.
Dr Wardy is the Director of Studies (DoS) at Catz and he is always available to contact, and willing to help and offer guidance. He is also an expert in Philosophy, and so any supervisions in Philosophy are college based. Dr Wardy sets up a programme of weekly essay and language supervisions each term. Although in Classics there is a choice out of a broad range of topics that you can study, when you start at Catz you get to have a supervision in all the subjects offered; this gives you an excellent opportunity to discover where your interests lie before specialising. It does take a lot of personal organisation to keep up a balance between language work and the writing of essays but it is perfectly manageable. The Classics section of the college library is also particularly well stocked, so many of the books you need are on site at college. The Classics faculty is no more than a ten minute walk away from Catz for when you do need to go to the faculty library, and the distance is even less from the second year accommodation, St Chad's. This is also very convenient for morning lectures! There are always Classicists here willing to chat to anyone with questions about applying. Being at Catz is a truly brilliant experience and provides the perfect atmosphere for three or four very happy years of study. I urge you to apply.