Should I study Classics (ancient history) or Medicine?

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binti_Lamees
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(EDIT- i mean ancient history as the degree)I'm in my last year of school (studying Bio Chem Eng lit and Geog) and For the past few years ive been torn between studying classics as its always been my favourite thing to read about and study. Or, medicine, I enjoy biology but not chemistry. In future medicine would allow me to live a more comfortable life as theres a higher wage, and its such a diverse field i can specialise in something I enjoy. However, i know i would enjoy classics so much more and to work in that field would be a dream but everyone i know who studied classics isn't employed in that field of work. I know a degree shouldn't be purely for employability, but this is a big decision that basically decides what route i follow so i have to weigh it all up.
I'd really value any input on if pursuing what you enjoy is actually worth it (I've heard tell of people who grow to hate what they once enjoyed because they studied it!) Or if guaranteeing myself a more stable future is worth it.
To add on to this, there are areas of biology i genuinely love, I have completed my work experience in St Johns Ambulance and am revising for the UCAT currently. However I read so much about ancient history in my spare time that if i do decide against medicine i can probably still write up a good ancient history personal statement
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Filthy Communist
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Comfortable life and medicine should not go in the same sentence. Sure you'll earn more money, but you'll be stressed as ****.

If you don't genuinely love medicine, then in the unlikely event you actually make it onto the course in the first place, you won't last in the profession. Just go for classics.
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heccyeah
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Classics 100%

It's clear you aren't particularly passionate or interested in medicine, so what makes you think you would even get any interviews or offers anyway?
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heccyeah
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(Original post by Stanza03)
Awe are you hurt Oxford rejected you
I'm in year 12 lol (and not thinking of applying for medicine or anything like that) - just thinking about how insanely competitive medicine is - plenty of outstanding applicants who demonstrate a real passion for the subject get rejected, so I was just thinking it would be kinda unlikely for someone who isn't particularly interested in the subject to get an offer. Furthermore, it's a lot of work to go through (work experience, interviews, early applications, admissions tests) if it's not something you really want to do.

But you're right - I did say that in a bit of a blunt way lmao I apologise to OP.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by binti_Lamees)
I'm in my last year of school (studying Bio Chem Eng lit and Geog) and For the past few years ive been torn between studying classics as its always been my favourite thing to read about and study. Or, medicine, I enjoy biology but not chemistry. In future medicine would allow me to live a more comfortable life as theres a higher wage, and its such a diverse field i can specialise in something I enjoy. However, i know i would enjoy classics so much more and to work in that field would be a dream but everyone i know who studied classics isn't employed in that field of work. I know a degree shouldn't be purely for employability, but this is a big decision that basically decides what route i follow so i have to weigh it all up.
I'd really value any input on if pursuing what you enjoy is actually worth it (I've heard tell of people who grow to hate what they once enjoyed because they studied it!) Or if guaranteeing myself a more stable future is worth it.
I think if you're still that ambivalent about medicine at this stage then it probably isn't for you - at least that is the advice always given by ecolier on TSR - a practicing doctor. However, I agree that an interest in Classics does not often lead to a career in Classics as there are not many jobs directly related to it.

I'm surprised if it has always been your favourite thing to read about and study that you did not do any related A levels like History, Latin or Greek, although I know the ancient languages aren't available at many schools. The lack of Latin or Greek will rule out most Classics degree courses although at Exeter for example, you could choose Classical Studies or Ancient History instead.

https://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergradua...y-requirements
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foobar123
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Not enjoying chemistry may not be a good signal. I've read medics on this board describe medicine as A Level Chemistry turned up a few notches.

On the job aspect, over 80% of graduate-entry jobs do not require a specific subject to have been studied at univesity, according to Pearson surveys.
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McGinger
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That you are even asking that question means you are not 100% committed to Medicine - do something else.

(Btw - You'll need Latin and/or Greek for 'Classics', but there is no language requirement for 'Classical Studies')
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Paralove
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(Original post by McGinger)
That you are even asking that question means you are not 100% committed to Medicine - do something else.

(Btw - You'll need Latin and/or Greek for 'Classics', but there is no language requirement for 'Classical Studies')
False. Even at Cambridge you can study for a Classics degree without Latin or Greek (they teach you there - 4 years instead of 3).
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Paralove)
False. Even at Cambridge you can study for a Classics degree without Latin or Greek (they teach you there - 4 years instead of 3).
Cambridge is unusual in that case - the vast majority of Classics degree courses will require Latin or Greek.
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Paralove
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Cambridge is unusual in that case - the vast majority of Classics degree courses will require Latin or Greek.
A quick goolge of a few random unis and, unless I'm missing something in their pages, all three allow those without the languages (but want evidence of linguistic ability) including Bristol, Durham and Glasgow... Plenty enough choices out there of uni in any case.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Paralove)
A quick goolge of a few random unis and, unless I'm missing something in their pages, all three allow those without the languages (but want evidence of linguistic ability) including Bristol, Durham and Glasgow... Plenty enough choices out there of uni in any case.
I stand corrected that the vast majority of unis will require it, but Classics is a language based course so there are certainly many unis that do require A level Latin/Greek such as Oxford, Exeter, UCL, Kings, Warwick... Some other unis do offer intensive language courses in year 1 so that could be an option for OP if they choose their unis carefully (and have a genuine interest in/affinity for learning languages which they haven't mentioned so far).

As already suggested, OP will find more choices of uni if they also consider Classical studies/Ancient History which are less language based but these are only ideas for them to explore.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by binti_Lamees)
I'm in my last year of school (studying Bio Chem Eng lit and Geog) and For the past few years ive been torn between studying classics as its always been my favourite thing to read about and study. Or, medicine, I enjoy biology but not chemistry. In future medicine would allow me to live a more comfortable life as theres a higher wage, and its such a diverse field i can specialise in something I enjoy. However, i know i would enjoy classics so much more and to work in that field would be a dream but everyone i know who studied classics isn't employed in that field of work. I know a degree shouldn't be purely for employability, but this is a big decision that basically decides what route i follow so i have to weigh it all up.
I'd really value any input on if pursuing what you enjoy is actually worth it (I've heard tell of people who grow to hate what they once enjoyed because they studied it!) Or if guaranteeing myself a more stable future is worth it.
The great ecolier always says 'if it's a choice between medicine or something else, choose the something else' I think this is very wise advice.

You don't do medicine for the money. There's a million-and-one other careers that you can do 'for the money' and if this is your primary motivator, then I suggest you pick one of those.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I stand corrected that the vast majority of unis will require it, but Classics is a language based course so there are certainly many unis that do require A level Latin/Greek such as Oxford, Exeter, UCL, Kings, Warwick... Some other unis do offer intensive language courses in year 1 so that could be an option for OP if they choose their unis carefully (and have a genuine interest in/affinity for learning languages which they haven't mentioned so far).

As already suggested, OP will find more choices of uni if they also consider Classical studies/Ancient History which are less language based but these are only ideas for them to explore.
Oxford does have a variant of the course for those who haven't studied the classical languages before - Course II Classics. Since the field is nowadays not very popular among younger students and opportunities to study the languages very limited outside of private schools, most unis offer variants of their course which can be started without the language.

UCL has their Ancient World programme - also I believe the Classical Archaeology & Classical Civilisation doesn't require any language background, and there related Ancient Languages course which is a joint honours with the department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies. Also several of the joint honours courses involving classics don't have a language requirement I believe (e.g. Greek & Philosophy). KCL has their Classical Civilisation course which also has a special route for those who didn't have the languages originally but who do very well to swap into the main classics degree (by doing summer courses arranged by KCL), and I believe Warwick and Exeter have similar courses (albeit without the accelerated transfer route), although I think Warwick is a bit more of an average department for the subject.

(Original post by binti_Lamees)
I'm in my last year of school (studying Bio Chem Eng lit and Geog) and For the past few years ive been torn between studying classics as its always been my favourite thing to read about and study. Or, medicine, I enjoy biology but not chemistry. In future medicine would allow me to live a more comfortable life as theres a higher wage, and its such a diverse field i can specialise in something I enjoy. However, i know i would enjoy classics so much more and to work in that field would be a dream but everyone i know who studied classics isn't employed in that field of work. I know a degree shouldn't be purely for employability, but this is a big decision that basically decides what route i follow so i have to weigh it all up.
I'd really value any input on if pursuing what you enjoy is actually worth it (I've heard tell of people who grow to hate what they once enjoyed because they studied it!) Or if guaranteeing myself a more stable future is worth it.
ecolier's usual advice is if you are considering medicine and "something else", pick the "something else". Medicine is a profession which places considerable demands on you and you really need to be 100% committed to it in order to see it through and not burn out early on. If your only or primary interest in it is for money then it's probably not a good option, both ethically in terms of your commitment to your would-be patients, and also practically because there are other jobs where you can make good money with likely a much better work-life balance (e.g. many civil service roles, which also have a very good pension like the NHS, and is a common career for classics students to end up in still I gather). There are also other careers which while still extremely demanding, will pay as much or even more than medicine, which have no specific subject requirements to go into (e.g. investment banking).
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harrysbar
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Most unis offer variants of their course which can be started without the language.

UCL has their Ancient World programme - also I believe the Classical Archaeology & Classical Civilisation doesn't require any language background, and there related Ancient Languages course which is a joint honours with the department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies. Also several of the joint honours courses involving classics don't have a language requirement I believe (e.g. Greek & Philosophy). KCL has their Classical Civilisation course which also has a special route for those who didn't have the languages originally but who do very well to swap into the main classics degree (by doing summer courses arranged by KCL), and I believe Warwick and Exeter have similar courses (albeit without the accelerated transfer route), although I think Warwick is a bit more of an average department for the subject.
I think we have all given OP lots to consider re courses related to Classics including Classical Archaeology/ Classical Civilisation/Classical studies so hopefully they can find a suitable alternative even if some of the unis they like require a langauage for their straight Classics course.
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binti_Lamees
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I mean more ancient history specifically than classics. I applied tot ake classical civilisation A level but the school decided to cancel the course

(Original post by harrysbar)
I think if you're still that ambivalent about medicine at this stage then it probably isn't for you - at least that is the advice always given by ecolier on TSR - a practicing doctor. However, I agree that an interest in Classics does not often lead to a career in Classics as there are not many jobs directly related to it.

I'm surprised if it has always been your favourite thing to read about and study that you did not do any related A levels like History, Latin or Greek, although I know the ancient languages aren't available at many schools. The lack of Latin or Greek will rule out most Classics degree courses although at Exeter for example, you could choose Classical Studies or Ancient History instead.

https://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergradua...y-requirements
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binti_Lamees
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To add on to this, there are areas of biology i genuinely love, I have completed my work experience in St Johns Ambulance and am revising for the UCAT currently. However I read so much about ancient history in my spare time that if i do decide against medicine i can probably still write up a good ancient history personal statement.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by binti_Lamees)
To add on to this, there are areas of biology i genuinely love, I have completed my work experience in St Johns Ambulance and am revising for the UCAT currently. However I read so much about ancient history in my spare time that if i do decide against medicine i can probably still write up a good ancient history personal statement.
That makes sense, thanks for clearing up the confusion. Yes, ancient history is a relatively easy subject to switch to at short notice with no background necessary in any particular subject at most unis. My son switched to Ancient History from an Engineering degree and his A levels were Maths, Physics and English. All you really need is a genuine interest in the subject so you don't find all the reading and research too tedious!
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binti_Lamees
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(Original post by harrysbar)
That makes sense, thanks for clearing up the confusion. Yes, ancient history is a relatively easy subject to switch to at short notice with no background necessary in any particular subject at most unis. My son switched to Ancient History from an Engineering degree and his A levels were Maths, Physics and English. All you really need is a genuine interest in the subject so you don't find all the reading and research too tedious!
This is actually really reassuring to know! I forgot to even think about the possibility that I can always switch subject.
Thankyou
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Sandtrooper
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(Original post by binti_Lamees)
This is actually really reassuring to know! I forgot to even think about the possibility that I can always switch subject.
Thankyou
As a caveat, you won't be able to switch from Classics to Medicine without taking time out.
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binti_Lamees
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(Original post by Sandtrooper)
As a caveat, you won't be able to switch from Classics to Medicine without taking time out.
Yeah to redo the UCAT and all
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