Classical Studies

What is the subject about? 

Leaving Certificate Classical Studies aims to stimulate students’ curiosity and interest in the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome. It develops skills, knowledge and attitudes that enable students to understand the political, economic, social, cultural, artistic and literary cultures of these civilisations and promotes using these insights to help them navigate their own worlds. Western society has developed in diverse directions over the past two millennia but the classical world of ancient Greece and Rome remains its central well-spring. This makes Classical Studies an important and exciting area of study today. It is a multi-faceted subject that encompasses the disciplines of history, literature and drama; art, architecture and archaeology; religion, philosophy and political thought. By making connections between these disciplines, Classical Studies students gain a holistic understanding of Greek and Roman culture and thought and learn how the past continues to inform the present. 

How is the subject assessed? 

I. Written Examination (80%) 

The written examination paper will be two and a half hours long and will be presented at Higher and Ordinary level. In each case, the paper will be made up of two sections. 


Section A will present students with questions relating to stimuli, which may be of a range of types, including various kinds of written and visual sources. The weighting of marks at Higher level will give greater emphasis to skills such as explaining, interpreting and evaluating, while the weighting at Ordinary level will give greater emphasis to skills such as identifying, describing and comprehending. 


Section B will require students to engage in writing extended answers appropriate to their level. The extended writing questions will invite students to demonstrate the following: 

– Application of knowledge and understanding from different areas of the specification to familiar and new situations. 

– Critical thinking, the ability to analyse and evaluate information and to form reasonable and logical arguments and conclusions based on evidence. 

– Understanding of the social, political, artistic, ethical, historical and literary concepts and aspects of classical studies and of how these relate to the world of today. 

II. Research Study (20%) 

This assessment component requires students to investigate, evaluate and report on a topic that is anchored in the classical studies specification. The research study will be assessed through the medium of a report. The report will be submitted to the State Examinations Commission in sixth year. The report will take the format of a pro-forma booklet which will be issued to students and submitted in written form. The report may include illustrations. The State Examinations Commission will provide an annual brief indicating the topic options for the examination year in question. The brief should contain three or four options and the students, in consultation with their teacher, will focus on a particular issue or question of their choosing. The briefs will relate to these key areas of the subject: 

– Material culture 

– Literature 

– History 

– Thought and ideas 

In particular, the research study requires students to demonstrate that they can: 

– research and process information that is relevant and meaningful to understanding or expanding on a topic related to the specification 

– synthesise and evaluate information in order to apply concepts connected to the classical studies specification and make an informed judgement 

– understand the social, political, artistic, ethical, historical and literary concepts and aspects of the classical world and reflect on how this knowledge and understanding contributes to their understanding of the world around them today. 

Additional Comments 

– Studying Classical Studies in school is not proscriptive in terms of career opportunities. As so many disciplines are encountered, the subject can appropriately cater for any form of Third Level Education and beyond. 

Career Opportunities 

o Acting 

o Teaching 

o Lecturing 

o Academia 

o Archaeology 

o Law 

o Psychology 

o Journalism 

o Publishing