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What are your interests?



Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate

Classical Studies

Career Zone
NFQ Level
2 Years


Classical Studies is concerned with the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome in all their manifestations and focuses on their continuing influence on the modern world. It includes history, literature, art and architecture, drama and philosophy. Students who have studied Classical Studies at Junior Certificate level will have received a good introduction to the Graeco-Roman world. However, it is by no means essential for the study of Leaving Certificate Classical Studies.

Why Study Classical Studies

The ancient world is one of the foundations on which much of our European civilisation is based. This course enables the student to go back to the originals (in translation), and learn the stories and legends which inspired so much in art and literature for the next 2,000 years.

What kind of Student would Classical Studies suit?

  • Classical Studies will appeal to those interested in history and those who enjoy reading and writing about the ancient world.
  • It can be taken by itself as a Leaving Cert. subject which will broaden the student’s outlook and knowledge, as well as helping them to gain points for University entrance. Owing to the nature of the exam, and the material to be studied, it is likely that pupils who are strong in English and History might find themselves best suited to this subject.
  • The subject is a popular choice in the Arts faculties of our universities. It is particularly suited to students who have scored highly in the Linguistic and Social areas in their Interest Profiler.
  • This subject is helpful in the study of history and religion and even philosophy.
This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 440 students who sat the Higher Level Classical Studies exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 52 students who sat the Ordinary Level Classical Studies exam in 2019.


Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

Classical Studies is the study of the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. Classical Studies remains a choice for a very small proportion of students with less than 600 students sitting the papers last year.

Students are not allowed to take Classical Studies with Latin or ancient Greek.

Course Content

  • Ancient Epic (The Odyssey; Homer and The Aeneid; Virgil)
  • Roman Art and Architecture ( Buildings, Sculpture and Paintings from Rome and the Empire)
  • Alexander the Great ( based on the accounts of Arrian and Plutarch)
  • Greek Drama (Oedipus the King: Sophocles and Medea; Euripedes)

All the textbooks are in English/Irish, so knowledge of Latin or Greek is not necessary. There is also no need to have done Classical Studies at Junior Cert.

There is no coursework / project work in this subject and final assessment consists of one essay-based three hour examination.

The Greek Drama section would be very similar to how pupils might study Shakespeare in English, and although the Ancient Epics were originally long poems, they are taught in prose form and are similar to adventure novels.

While the Alexander section is in the main part History, the Art and Architecture is really a mixture of so many of the different things which make classical culture so enduring.

Being strong in History and particularly English would be indicative that Classical Studies might be a good choice at Leaving Cert. However, all pupils can prosper in this subject purely because they find the material so interesting and it is this, above all else, which seems to be most important for pupils making a success of choosing Classical Studies.

Exam Structure

Leaving Certificate Classical Studies is assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels, through a written examination. There is no coursework / project work in this subject and final assessment consists of one essay-based three hour examination.

Students are required to answer 6 questions, doing at least one question from each of the four sections listed above.

Career Possibilities

Classical Studies offers different interests and and a foundation for many career pathways including: Teaching, Archaeology, Theology, Journalism and History among others.

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Humanities

These subjects explore the ways in which humans live and communicate in the world. Human life is examined by looking at our past, our present and into our future. These subjects help people to express themselves clearly and develop their reasoning ability.

Required for 3rd Level?

This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.


What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Naoise Pye, Social Care Worker

I didn't know what I wanted to do when I left school so actually my choice of subjects only reflected my interests (Art, History, French and Classical Studies).

So if I were to do my Leaving cert again I might choose to do home-economics or biology to increase my medical knowledge as well as my cooking and domestic skills!

... View Full Interview

Sharon Carty, Opera Singer
My advice if you're uncertain about choosing subjects is to choose things you're interested in, rather than what you think will be good for your career. A broad education will serve you really well not only in terms of college options, but also can enrich your life outside of school and work. I have a huge interest in astronomy and loved studying physics in school, and although I'd never have had the talent in Maths to study it at 3rd level or have a career in it, it meant I can really enjoy reading popular science books and keep up with what's going on in space exploration, as a hobby. For Leaving Certificate I studied English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Music, Biology, German and Classical Studies. Looking back, the subjects I did (specifically English, Music, Classics and German) meant that I was well-equipped with a lot of background knowledge that was helpful in my career as a singer, in terms of literature, language and musical training. Without having studied Music at 2nd level, with the wonderful teacher I had, I am 100% certain I wouldn't be a singer today.

... View Full Interview

Ian McKinley, Rugby Player
I studied Biology, French, Classical Studies, Geography, Irish, Maths, English. If I am to be honest none of them have influenced my career path.

... View Full Interview

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