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What are your interests?



Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Classical Studies

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2018:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 563 students who sat the Higher Level Classical Studies exam in 2018.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 49 students who sat the Ordinary Level Classical Studies exam in 2018.

In brief... header image

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 this?header image

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.

Videos & Interviews header image

Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Social Care Worker - Naoise Pye
Naoise Pye, St. Michael's House

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!

  go to interview...
Opera Singer - Sharon Carty
Sharon Carty, Languages ConnectMy 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. 
  go to interview...
Rugby Player - Ian McKinley
Ian McKinley, Languages ConnectI studied Biology, French, Classical Studies, Geography, Irish, Maths, English. If I am to be honest none of them have influenced my career path. 
  go to interview...

Course Overview header image

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 Contentheader image

  • 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 header image

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 header image

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

Career Guidance