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CLASSICS (Literae Humaniores)

Director of Studies:
Fra’ John Eidinow, Fellow and Tutor in Classics

Classics tutors:

Dr Richard Marshall, Lecturer and Director of Studies in Ancient History
Dr Cornelia van der Poll, Lecturer in Ancient Greek
Dr Marina Bazzani, Research Lecturer, Faculty Lector
Dr Nicholas Waghorn, Director of Studies in Philosophy

St Benet’s Hall admits three, or occasionally four, students each year to read Classics. (This number can include students for the four-year Classics and Oriental Studies degree, where the student takes Honour Moderations in Classics before taking up some Oriental Studies subjects in Finals.) We welcome applications for all forms of the degree, whether you have either or both of the classical languages at A level or not.

Classics at St Benet’s is an exciting subject with a vibrant, friendly and supportive community of students and tutors. Like most colleges, we aim to teach all the standard papers in-house, while sending our students to experts in other colleges or to University classes for some of the smaller or more specialized papers, especially in the second part of the degree (‘Greats’) where there is a wider range of options. Because the course is 4 years, there will usually be at least 12 undergraduate classicists in the Hall at any one time, who provide a much appreciated network of academic support and friendship. And because all members of the Hall eat together (in our tradition there is no High Table) you will probably get to know your tutors well outside the tutorials too.

You will spend the first five terms (until ‘Mods’, the first University exam) studying a good range of important literary set texts, as well as being introduced to the study of Ancient History, Philosophy, and ancient Art and Archaeology. At St Benet’s we put a strong emphasis on helping you with your languages at this early stage of your career: in addition to the University classes which are organized for all new undergraduates, , you will have individual tutorials in unseen translational and prose composition week by week throughout each term, as well as some group translation classes. We also usually organize reading-classes in which individual passages from the set texts are read, translated and analyzed in depth.

After Mods we encourage our students to choose a coherent set of papers which support one another as much as possible. Much of the teaching for this part of the course continues to be done by the Hall’s own tutors, but some papers are taught in University classes or by other specialists. Regular formal and informal meetings with the Director of Studies provide a check on each undergraduate’s overall progress.

John Eidinow, our Director of Studies in Classics, is always delighted to arrange visits to the Hall by potential candidates and/or their teachers, and can be reached by e-mail with questions at any time:

Student Profile

Oliver Jones (finalist)

"As an old hand now, I feel I am validated in claiming that the Benet's Classics 'family', with its sincere and attentive regard for the progress and potential of its students coupled with its demand for the highest academic standards, provides a first class grounding not only in Classics but also in life."

Fergus O’Regan (finalist)

"At St Benet's students and staff alike take pride in the Hall's close-knit sense of community. Aside from contributing to a diverse and friendly intellectual environment, this provides an enduring nexus of support invaluable for the university experience. For classicists, the dedication and approachability of the Hall's tutors help convey the rich variety which the Classics course has to offer, while at the same time ensuring that we are in the strongest possible position to realise our full academic potential."

Torsten Alexander (finalist)

"St Benet's is, in my opinion, the best place in the entire university to study Classics because it combines the best tutors with a close-knit family atmosphere. Throughout my time at Oxford, I have felt that not only my tutors, but also my fellow Classicists in the Hall care about my work and are always keen to offer their advice and support. I cannot imagine a better platform from which to reach my full potential.”