• Intake:
  • Typical Offer: A*AA 
  • Essential Subjects: Latin (for 3-year course only) 
  • Desirable Subjects: Foreign language to A2 level (for 4-year course only) 
  • Assessment: Cambridge College Registered Assessment
  • Faculty website:
  • Classics at Queens' is supported by The James Diggle Fund and the Classics Society Fund.


Part I 

Preliminary Year (4-year course only) 

You learn to read Latin confidently through language study and the reading of literature and texts from the Roman world. You also study Roman culture, submit essays for assessment, and undertake some preparatory work for taking up Ancient Greek at the beginning of the next year. 

Year 1 

You study up to eight 'target texts' from the most familiar periods of ancient literature by central authors such as Herodotus, Euripides, Plato, Virgil, Ovid and Cicero. You also study elements of ancient history, archaeology, art, philosophy, philology and linguistics. Reading and language classes directed by specialist language teachers continue, as required. Exams at the beginning of the third term test your linguistic and literary comprehension and essay–writing skills. 

Year 2 

You take six papers, including a paper from each of the following four compulsory groups: 

  • Greek translation
  • Latin translation 
  • Greek literature
  • Latin literature 

The remaining two papers are chosen from four other subjects: 

  • History
  • Philosophy 
  • Archaeology
  • Philology 

Further optional papers in prose or verse composition in both languages are available if you wish to develop your confidence and creativity in manipulating language. 

Part II - Year 3 

You choose four papers from a wide range of options covering: 

  • Literature and culture of the classical world 
  • Cultural studies using Classics as a starting point 
  • A thesis on a topic of your own choice
  • Or papers from another degree course 

Classics at Queens’

  • Four hours of supervision each week. One hour concerns translation of Greek, one of Latin, one of composition into Greek and Latin; alongside this linguistic work, one weekly supervision will be based on essay work.
  • You will be requested to provide two marked essays (one of which could be a Latin or Greek composition) following your application. Candidates attend two interviews (one at Queens', one at another college) and are given a short piece of writing to discuss during one interview. 
  • From 2016, a linguistic Cambridge college registered written assessment in Latin will be set for applicants to all Cambridge colleges.
  • Candidates for the four year course are required to be here for two days at interview time for testing at the Classics Faculty.

Director of Studies

Dr David Butterfield

Primary areas of research are: Latin literature and language, ancient metre, textual criticism, and the history of scholarship. 

"Classics is one of the most challenging and diverse degrees at Cambridge and Queens' in particular fosters this: a sizeable group of Classicists from all backgrounds makes for a far more interesting and dynamic time here, and the quality and quantity of supervisions outstrips those of other subjects." 

Harry, 2nd year Classics