Master in Classics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The MLitt in Classics is an intensively taught programme, designed primarily as a preparation for further research. The course allows you to specialise in a wide range of areas, including Greek or Latin literature, ancient history, classical archaeology, reception studies, and ancient philosophy.

The MLitt in Classics is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Classics. The course embraces the study of all aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman world including Greek and Latin literary culture, ancient history, archaeology, classical philosophy, and the reception of antiquity in later periods.


  • Includes a unique and intensive core course, including training in the use of a range of literary sources and material evidence; resources and how to access them; theoretical approaches and key themes in the study of antiquity; and training in practical skills (e.g. presentation skills, digital humanities, outreach and public engagement).
  • Provides a wide foundation in key debates in the study of antiquity.
  • Offers the opportunity to focus on a wide range of specialist areas, with one-to-one supervision from leading researchers.
  • Allows students to develop their skills in Greek or Latin or to begin ancient languages from scratch, and to develop reading skills in a relevant modern language.

Teaching format

The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, with an average of four to five hours of staff contact per week (more if you choose to do language modules). The modules are taught through group seminars (with the whole MLitt cohort or in smaller groups) and through one-to-one supervision in your areas of specialization. Additionally, the core component includes class trips.

The assessment for the taught modules is primarily based on coursework including:

  • research papers,
  • book reviews,
  • draft research proposal on your dissertation topic,
  • presentation on your dissertation topic,
  • take-home exam for the Themes and Methods in Classical Research 1 module.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.


  • Themes and Methods in Classical Research 1: focus on the sources for the study of the classical world, how to access them (that is, the resources available for classical research), and how to use this material sensitively and appropriately.
  • Themes and Methods in Classical Research 2: a series of seminars structured around themes in classical research (e.g. the environment, performance, reception).


Classics students have the opportunity to choose two of the following four overarching modules, one per semester. These modules are designed to give you both a familiarity with the key debates in a given subject area and the opportunity to develop a topic of your own choice with one-to-one supervision. The choice of modules allows you the flexibility to develop a range of pathways and to focus, for example, on history, literary culture, or archaeology, or to focus on Greek or Roman history and literature in combination.

Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students.

Semester 1 (choose one)

  • Greek History and Material Culture
  • Latin Literary Culture

Semester 2 (choose one)

  • Greek Literary Culture
  • Roman History and Material Culture

Language modules

All students have the opportunity to study Greek or Latin from beginners’ level, or to improve their language skills through more advanced language courses.

Students who take Greek or Latin language modules take alternative versions of the optional modules which follow the same course of study but with a reduced workload and fewer credits.

Dissertation and research project

Each student undertakes a dissertation of 15,000 words on a specialist subject chosen in consultation with the MLitt convenor and a dedicated supervisor who is responsible for guiding you through the research process and commenting on draft sections. The completed dissertation must be submitted by mid-August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Postgraduates from the School of Classics go on to pursue careers in a diverse range of professional careers: for example, recent graduands have gone on to work in publishing, law, finance, teaching, university administration and museum curatorship; others have gone on to successful academic careers in the UK, North America and internationally.

Advice on academic and other career paths is integrated into the MLitt. Additionally, the Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • The minimum formal requirements for entry to the MLitt in Classics are a first-class or high 2.1 degree (UK), a GPA of 3.6 or above, or equivalent.

In reviewing applications for the MLitt, the School of Classics looks especially at:

  • your statement of your plans for the MLitt and for future study or careers.
  • your academic background and level of performance (especially in courses relevant to the MLitt, and in any research projects or dissertations that you may have completed).
  • evidence of your ability to complete a high-level MLitt dissertation and of potential to progress to further research degrees (particularly evidenced by your sample of written work).
  • whether St Andrews is a good match for your specialist interests. The MLitt Convenor talks to all applicants individually as part of the admissions process to discuss your plans in detail and to ensure that St Andrews is the best place for you to pursue a Masters degree.

If you have any queries concerning the programme or your suitability for it, you are encouraged to make contact in advance of your application.

If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

Non-native English speakers must also demonstrate English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV.
  • letter of intent, including:
    • why you wish to study for an MLitt in Classics at St Andrews.
    • your suitability for the programme.
    • the areas that you are keen to specialise in.
    • possible areas for dissertation study (please note, the School does not expect clearly worked-out proposals, or even that you have identified a single area for your research project, just an indication of your particular areas of interest).
    • any future plans for further research or careers beyond the MLitt (not essential, but you may wish to include some detail on that if it explains your motivation for applying).
  • a sample of academic written work (between 2,500 and 5,000 words).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete Uni ... Read More

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete University Guide 2019, and 2nd overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019). Read less
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