Latin will fit comfortably with any combination of subjects and will provide breadth and a rewarding contrast in study for the scientist or mathematician. It’s more natural home is on the Arts side, particularly with English (because of the great influence Latin literature has had upon it), Modern Languages (because Latin is at the core of so many European languages and helps with the study of others), History, Philosophy and, of course, Classical Civilisation.
Your study will largely be an extension of the work you have completed at GCSE, but in a smaller group that will enable you to receive far more individual attention, tailored to your needs. The atmosphere is scholarly but informal. You will have already covered the major topics in your language work at GCSE level, but these will require further consolidation and expansion, as will your vocabulary base. Your prescribed set texts will be prepared thoroughly, working closely with your teacher.
50% of the A level will be Latin Language – a mixture of unseen translation and comprehension, as at GCSE.
50% of the A level will be Latin Literature – a combination of Verse and Prose set texts, as at GCSE. Examples of authors covered in the Verse set text are Virgil, who wrote the celebrated work The Aeneid, and the Roman poet Ovid, famous for his love poetry and epic collection of myths in the Metamorphoses. Examples of authors covered in the Prose set text are the famous historian Tacitus and the renowned orator Cicero.
Is this course right for me?
Choosing Latin can prepare you for the world of business, law, medicine or any other science-based subject, by sharpening your ability to read and analyse information, by improving the clarity and persuasiveness of your speech and writing, enhance and facilitate linguistic understanding of terminology and by making you an interesting, flexible, cultured person.
Students intending to apply for University should be aware that their applications will be competing with thousands of others. What will make you stand out from the crowd? A successful study of Latin will show you to be an interesting, intelligent student, devoted to learning and un-afraid of challenge.
Latin offers a valuable and enjoyable experience of a language and civilisation which have had a huge influence on the modern world. A study of Latin will give you the opportunity to acquire and develop a wide range of linguistic and literary skills. More than 90% of words of more than one syllable in the English language are derived from Latin. These are sophisticated words, illuminating concepts in both the Arts and Sciences that are so important in the world of cultured communication. In addition, some of the finest literature ever written is in Latin. These are works of enduring quality and influence, such as Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid, that have thrived for nearly 2,000 years.
In terms of vocational employment Latin is like most other subjects on the Arts side. There are only a few jobs for which it is essential, but it serves as a most reliable indicator of a student’s critical faculties, linguistic ability and logical approach. Latin remains very highly regarded in these areas, both by Universities and by many prospective employers whose jobs often do not require specific subject-related knowledge. Latin is important because of what it conveys about the abilities and qualities of the student who has pursued the course.
What can I do next?
Classicists are highly employable! Recruiters are often looking, not for developed specialist knowledge, but for what they term “personal transferable skills”. Employers can trust that Classicists will be able to think logically and write and communicate clearly and precisely. Language study requires rigorous attention to detail, much needed in many jobs, and the study of literature and history develops highly sought-after analytical and critical skills.
Subject minimum entry requirement
You are required to have studied Latin at GCSE and ideally have achieved a grade 8.
“I decided to take Latin alongside Chemistry and Biology for A level as I enjoy the variety it gives me. Admissions Officers from universities I have visited suggest that taking Latin will stand me in good stead when it comes to applying to universities as it is a bit different.”
“Not only does Latin help me with my modern languages, it has also improved and increased my English vocabulary.”