Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search


Classical Languages (TSM)

16 places

Apply Course Options

What is Classical Languages?

The study of Classical Languages is concerned with the language, literature and thought of either Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. You will choose to study either Greek or Latin. Through the reading of literature in the original language and the examination of key aspects of ancient history, you will develop a thorough knowledge of the classical world and a critical approach to textual and material culture.

Classical Languages: The course for you?

If you are interested in studying the language, the poetic imagination, the depth of thought and the historical value of one of the civilisations that shaped the Western world, you will enjoy this course.

Classical Languages @ Trinity

Greek and Latin have been taught in Trinity since its foundation just over 400 years ago, and Trinity is unique in having professorships in both Greek and Latin. To study Greek and Roman civilisation is to study the roots of western civilisation, the origins of our political and cultural institutions, and to understand how the classical past has profoundly affected ideas and values in the contemporary world.

The Department of Classics has a world-renowned reputation. Its courses are taught by academics at the top of their fields. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, practical classes and small-group seminars, which encourage lively discussion and the development of independent thinking. It is also possible to study abroad for a semester or a whole year.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

Study of the ancient world develops skills of interpretation and communication that go far beyond a knowledge of books, dates and events; these skills offer positive advantages in the hunt for a job. Recent graduates are working in many fields including, the diplomatic service, the civil service, banking and accountancy, business, computers, journalism and broadcasting, law, librarianship, publishing, teaching and theatre. Some graduates opt to pursue an academic career with postgraduate study in Ireland and abroad.

Your degree and what you’ll study

Over the four years you will read texts in a wide variety of genres, including epic, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, oratory and historiography. Whether you are continuing your language studies or taking Greek/Latin as a beginner, you will engage with ancient texts both as literature and as a gateway into the culture and thought of ancient Greece/Rome. Through the critical study of ancient history, myth and religion, you will acquire a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on classical culture. For all of your language-based courses the groups will be small, stimulating lively discussion, analytic skills, and the development of independent thinking.


In first year you will be introduced to the critical study of ancient history, culture and literature. The language-based modules you take depend on whether you have studied Greek/Latin before or are taking it up as a beginner; your choice of a topic in ancient history and culture depends on your TSM combination. In second year you continue the study of Greek/Latin language, literature and history. Modules are taught by lectures and small-group seminars. There are six to eight contact hours per week. A combination of end-of-year examination and continuous assessment (e.g. essays, unseen translations and other language tests, textual commentaries, seminar presentations), and a thesis in the final year forms the assessment.
  • Greek and Roman History
  • Greek and Roman Mythology and Religion
  • Sources and Methods in History and Archaeology
Ancient Greek/Latin for beginners
  • Elementary Greek/Latin – an intensive introduction to the Ancient Greek or Latin language. By the end of the year you will be ready to read original texts and your command of the language will be at the same level as those who have studied it before entering university.
Ancient Greek/Latin for non-beginners
  • Greek/Latin authors – text-based courses introduce you to the critical reading of Greek/Latin literature through a close examination and contextualisation of the oldest and most influential works in western literature. Greek texts include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Histories of Herodotus, the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles and the philosophical prose of Plato. Latin texts include the comedies of Plautus and Terence, Cicero’s famous speech On Behalf of Caelius, Virgil’s Aeneid, the love poems of Catullus and Ovid, and the letters of Seneca and Pliny the Younger.
  • Greek/Latin language


In third and fourth years you will progress to an in-depth study of topics in Greek/Latin literature, history and culture. You will refine your analysis of texts in their literary and cultural context through more specialised skills and methodologies, such as textual criticism, linguistics and literary theories. Greek topics may include Greek historians, Greek comedy, the Greek novel, and Hellenistic poetry. Latin topics may include Augustan poetry, Didactic poetry, Latin historians, Roman satire, and Latin orators. In third year, you will continue to study ancient history, while separate advanced language classes provide additional assistance in improving your fluency and accuracy in reading and interpretation. In fourth year you will also study a special topic in Classical culture and write a thesis on a subject of your choice. The thesis is an opportunity to do research which will allow you to develop independent ideas and acquire critical skills, while investigating in great depth an area that particularly interests you.

Study abroad

Trinity has strong links with many Classics departments abroad, including active participation in the Erasmus exchange programme. The Department has valuable Erasmus links with the Universities of Cyprus, Edinburgh, Geneva, Bordeaux, Freiburg, and Koç (Turkey). Students are also able to avail of University-wide exchanges, for example, to North America and Australia. These opportunities allow students the option of spending a year or part of a year abroad.


Tel: +353 1 896 1208


What our graduates say

Charlie Kerrigan, PhD candidate, Trinity College

“The great thing about Latin is that it’s so many different things. The department was both very friendly and full of superb academics. Language skills are developed and kept up to scratch from day one, and if that’s not enough there are large-scale Greek/Roman history and Classical Civilisation lectures, as well as the Classical Society, whose social antics and trips abroad may well be a highlight of your time here. By the end of your degree you’ll be armed with an exciting and varied skill-set to take into your future career, whatever it may be.”

What our current students say

Mnemosyne Rice, 2nd year Latin, Boston, USA

“In the last two years, I’ve been exposed to the more popular works of prose and poetry, as well as to the more obscure playwrights of Roman comedy. Aside from learning the technicalities of grammar and appreciating the subtleties of translating a foreign language, we have the opportunity to interpret the Classical world in terms of more familiar experiences. This year, I’ve gained insights in reading the Aeneid as the story of a displaced population forced to relocate. The obvious connections with the current refugee crisis and the ongoing relevance of Classics are just one example of the important discussions that studying Latin at Trinity can inspire. I’m looking forward to continuing my studies with Didactic poetry in third year.”

Course Options

Number of Places



See also:

TR021: Classics

Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

+ Mature Student – Supplementary Application Form

+ Advanced Entry Applications

Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the relevant link below to apply.


See also:

TR021: Classics