Have you fallen in love with the language of Cicero while doing your GCSE in Latin? Enjoyed translating Latin literature for your A-Levels – and want to continue on with Latin at University?
Superprof is here to help you navigate the word of undergraduate studies in Latin and help you with choosing the institution of higher education that will be your home for the next few years.
But what should you study if you want to pursue Latin at a university level after graduation?
Some programmes will let you read Latin and get your undergraduate degree in the language itself. This is useful if you want to work in a research programme for translating Latin literature or get a teacher’s certificate to teach Latin in schools. Obviously, you will still study Latin grammar and vocabulary, but the language courses will be on a much higher level than GCSE or A-levels.
Bachelor programmes can last three to four years, depending on the course. You will attend lectures and seminars, write papers and take exams on what you have learned – much like school, only you will have to decide what information is relevant for yourself.
Programmes centred on a Latin curriculum include:
If you want to get a teacher’s certificate, it might be best to continue on with that rather than getting a Master’s degree. But if you want to go into linguistics research or bring out a new translation of Virgil, Pliny or Caesar, pursuing an MA diploma will help you be accepted into a research project.
Grad levels for the Latin language include:
But not every college subject where you will need Latin has the name in its title. These are subjects where the emphasis is not on the Latin language, but on the information that Latin texts can give us about Roman culture, religion and mythology (Classical Archaeology, Roman Archaeology, Ancient History), the thoughts of an ancient Roman intellectual or Early Christian scholar (Theology and Philosophy), medieval law and society (Medieval Studies, Medieval Archaeology), medieval literary works and poetry (English literature)…
Rome’s influence was great in the ancient world and Latin remained the lingua franca – or rather, lingua latina – in Europe for centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire and the language of science for even longer after that. If you learn Latin, you will access these primary sources easily and understand them better.
Latin is useful in Archaeology, either Classical or Early British, in order to decipher inscriptions found on digs. Photo credit: Rafael del Pino on VisualHunt
Any humanities subject pertaining to that time period or whose fundamental works come from then will include reading Latin texts. Note that, especially for undergraduate programmes, every college or university will have different names for what is essentially the same thing. Thus, the civilization of Classical Greece and Rome can be called “Classical Studies” in one UK University, “Classical History” in another, “Ancient History” somewhere else and may even include Egyptian, Celtic or Etruscan history in some cases. Make sure you read the description on the university website so you know what you are getting into.
BA studies are more likely to group together several different subjects; graduate student programmes tend to be more specific.
Congratulations, you have passed the exams for your Master’s degree – what now?
Most universities offer a doctoral programme in all their MA subjects – it’s usually mostly a case of finding a professor to sponsor your PhD. Some universities will still require you to attend a certain amount of postgraduate courses or even teach or tutor undergraduates for a semester, or give a lecture on your speciality, but mostly you will be working on your dissertation – doing research or translating texts. With a doctorate, you will be qualified for the better-paying jobs (such as they are) in the humanities sector.
When choosing your A-Levels, it’s a good idea to look at the websites of your university to make certain you have the right qualifications for your application.
Obviously, most of the above-mentioned university courses will have Latin as a requirement, but before applying to university it’s important to make sure your other courses are relevant, too.
As such, you might want to consider A-levels in:
Of course, Latin can be useful even if it isn’t a required A-level. You might even consider adding Latin to your required three subjects in some cases. It is an interdisciplinary subject that opens doors where you might not expect it.
With Latin A-levels, you can better understand the terminology in medecine. Photo credit: Rob Swatski on Visual hunt
For example, ancient languages are useful when studying human or veterinary medicine, or even psychology or social science, where a lot of the terms come from Latin and Greek.
Similarly, if you choose to pursue a career in biology you will encounter a lot of words originating in Latin.
Very often Roman culture had a great influence on the liberal arts such as painting, acting or literature.
The liberal arts often have their origins in Greek and Roman culture. Photo credit: D-Stanley on VisualHunt
Latin is also useful when learning foreign languages. Knowing Latin vocabulary will help you understand the Romance languages of continental Europe, such as:
It’s not always easy to know what you will want to study beforehand. You might end up applying to a course that requires a certain knowledge of Latin but without ever having studied it at A-Levels.
Fortunately, in most universities, Latin is also taught as a catch-up course, either as:
Either way, though, it is a lot to catch up and will mean a lot of extra work. So consider carefully before dismissing Latin for your school exams!
There are many prominent British universities offering Latin courses at an undergraduate and graduate level.
If you want to study Latin in England, you have a fair amount of choice, as many universities offer a BA in Latin:
|University||Degree||Subject||Duration||Tuition fee (per annum)|
|Royal Holloway, University of London||BA||Latin||3 years||£9,250|
|Royal Holloway, University of London||BA||English and Latin or Modern Languages and Latin||3-4 years||£9,250|
|University College London||BA||Greek with Latin||3-4 years||£9,250|
|University College London||BA||Latin and English||3 years||£9,250|
|University of Cambridge||BA||Classics||3-4 years||Information not available|
|University of Nottingham||BA||Latin||3 years||£9,250|
|University of Liverpool||BA||Latin with various modern languages including Italian, English and German||3-4 years||£9,250|
|University of Liverpool||BA||Ancient History, Classical Studies or Archaeology with Latin||3 years||£9,250|
|University of Liverpool||BA||Latin with Philosophy, Politics or Music||3-4 years||£9,250|
|University of Exeter||BA||Modern Languages and Latin||4 years||£9,250|
|University of Manchester||BA||Latin with French, Italian or Spanish||4 years||£9,250|
|University of Manchester||BA||Latin and Linguistics||3 years||£9,250|
|University of Manchester||BA||Latin and English Literature||3 years||£9,250|
|University of Warwick||BA||Classics and English||3 years||£9,250|
Welsh universities also offer Latin courses and classes:
Get a Latin degree at the University of Edinburgh. Photo credit: Ipoh kia on Visual hunt
You can also get your Latin degree at a Scottish university:
Of course, you can also choose to study abroad at top universities in Ireland or on the Continent, for a full course or only a semester. There are various programmes such as Erasmus to help you find a place at European universities for your further education.