Classics at Leeds

a closeup shot of a patch of papyrus

Classics at Leeds offers a friendly community of academic staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students. We are part of the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies which is one of the largest of its kind in the UK and has more 2,000 students and 140 staff. Our students come from across the UK, and in recent years we’ve welcomed students from Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Canada, China and our ERASMUS exchanges with universities in Greece, Italy and Germany. The School provides a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, with plenty of opportunities and events to enjoy.

Our history

Classics was part of the University of Leeds from the very beginning: the Chairs of Latin and Greek date from 1904, the year in which the University of Leeds became an independent body.

The teaching of Classics goes back to the early days of its precursor, the Yorkshire College, even before its amalgamation into the Victoria University in 1887 (with the forerunners of the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool) and despite the College's scientific and technological bias. In fact, it was the belief of the early faculty that the permanent Principal should preferably be a classicist.

For many years, research was focused around Greek and Latin language and literature. But a lot has happened in the past thirty years or so. We were the first Classics department in the UK to open up the study of Classics to a wider audience by offering a Single Honours degree programme in Classical Civilisation, one which enabled study of the classical world and its texts through the medium of English translation. Moreover, whilst retaining our traditional focus and expertise around Greek and Roman language and literature, we have since branched out into other exciting areas of research which feed into our teaching, such as ancient culture and values, philosophy, religion, material culture and the reception of the classical world in more modern times.