Classical Studies – Senior Cycle

Subject Overview

Classical Studies is concerned with the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome in all their manifestations and with 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.


Leaving Certificate Classical Studies may be studied at Ordinary or at Higher level. The fundamental unit of both levels is the topic. There are ten topics prescribed for examination. These topics are arranged in three groups as follows:

Group I Topic 1. Athens at War Topic 2. Alexander the Great Topic 3. Life and Thought in the Late Roman Republic Topic 4. Roman Historians

Group II Topic 5. Greek Drama. Topic 6. Ancient Epic Topic 7. Writers of the Augustan Age

Group III Topic 8. Art and Architecture in Greek Society Topic 9. The Philosopher in Society: A Study of Socrates and Plato Topic 10. Roman Art and Architecture


Leaving Certificate Classical Studies is assessed at two levels. There are separate Ordinary and Higher level papers Candidates are required to answer questions on four topics in the examination, taking at least one topic from each group.

Current status

The current syllabus has been in force since Classical Studies was first examined in 1985. The syllabus is under review by NCCA.