Classical Languages

By Ethan Moser - Last update

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What is Classical Languages Studies?

Classical Languages studies is concerned with the language, literature, and philosophy of the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans. Students interested in careers in classical languages will study the Ancient Greek and Latin languages as a key component of their coursework. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • English Language – the study of English as a second language for non-native English speakers.
  • Literature – the study of written works of the imagination such as poetry, drama, and narrative fiction.
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language – the practice of teaching English as a foreign language, especially in areas where English is not widely spoken by the native population. 

Studying Classical Languages in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students a great introduction to the foundational principles of Classical Languages including learning how to read Ancient Greek and/or Latin, as well as an overview of literary and philosophical analysis.

In subsequent years of study students will combine lectures, tutorials, and hands-on exercises with regular exams and presentations as benchmark assessments of their course progression. 

Most undergraduate Classical Languages courses run for three of four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experiences. 

It is common with all language-based courses that students are expected to engage in a high number of contact hours with lecturers in tutors, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for careers in Classical Languages after university. 

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research based careers in Classical Languages. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working as journalists, politicians, and school teachers. 

Career Options
Graduating from college with a degree in Classical Languages will serve you well as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill set. A humanities degree teaches students to think creatively as well as equipping them with invaluable problem solving and communication skills. 

Many recent graduates have gone into ‘entry-level’ careers in Classical Languages working as librarians, solicitors, and archivists. 

Other careers in Classical Languages that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training, and/or experience to qualify for, e.g. teaching, research, and consulting positions. 

Relatable Jobs Include:

  • Politician
  • Public Service Agent
  • Journalist
  • Educator
  • Academic Researcher
  • Museum Curator
  • Archivist
  • Barrister / Solicitor / Lawyer
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Librarian
  • Market Researcher
  • Broadcaster
  • Diplomat

Further Study

An undergraduate Classical Languages degree is often the first step towards further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of Classical Languages and/or undertaking new, sometimes, interdisciplinary fields. 

Visit for more information. 


  • What points do I need to study Classical Languages?
    • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule, Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
  • Are there any particular qualities you need to study Classical Languages?
    • Students interested in careers in Classical Languages will need to enjoy the study and use of language as well as its application in the real world. They will need to be innovative, creative, and collaborative as well as being able to communicate their own ideas and opinions.
  • Where can I study Classical Languages?
    • Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Many of the names for characters and spells in the Harry Potter series are derived from Latin. For example, the name “Remus Lupin” is a reference to Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Ancient Rome, who were raised by wolves, and to the Latin word “lupus” which translates to “wolf” in English. Both of these are indicators that Remus Lupin is a werewolf!
  • In Greek mythology, the god ‘Phosphorus’ represented the planet Venus, which was also called the ‘Morning Star’. The Latin translation of Phosphorus is Lucifer who, in the Bible, was also referred to as the Morning Star!


Ethan Moser

Modern Languages
Biomedical, Health and Life Sciences


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