Ancient vases

Being Human

Being Human: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on Humanity

Is a robot a human? What happens after we die? Why do humans tell stories? Would you rather be free or safe? Would it be better if we all spoke the same language?

The Faculty of Classics, Corpus Christi College and Worcester College invite students in Year 12 at state schools in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber to join Oxford academics in thinking through some of the modern world's biggest questions - by looking back to the ancient world. 

Being Human is a university preparation programme for Year 12 students in the North West, Yorkshire and Humber who are thinking about studying the humanities subjects at university level. The programme consists of:

  1.  Five seminar discussions led by Oxford academics. These seminars will take place online every month from January 2022 to May 2022.
  2.  A visit to Oxford (COVID-19 permitting!) with all costs covered, including travel.
  3.  Personal statement and university application support.


How to apply

Students cannot apply to attend individual events: students apply for the entire programme. There are 60 places available, 30 in Manchester and surrounding area and 30 in Huddersfield and the surrounding area - additional places may be available for the online parts of the programme.

Applications are open until 5pm on the 31 December 2021. To apply for a place on the programme, please fill in this form. Before applying, please check with your school and parent(s)/guardian(s) that you would be able to attend each of the seminars. If you are successful in gaining a place, you and your nominated teacher will be contacted with the full details of the programme. Please ensure that you have your teacher's permission before entering their contact details on the application form.

If you have any questions, please contact Claire Sims, the college's Admissions and Access Officer:


Is Being Human for me? 

The Being Human programme will help you to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills you will need for your humanities degree. Each session will be led by an Oxford academic. The sessions will be discussion based and will involve tackling engaging big questions through a mixture of philosophy, linguistics, literature, history, art and archaeology.

Seminars will take place online from 17:00 – 18:00, online via Microsoft Teams (you do not need any special software to access these sessions).

  • Is a robot a human?  Wednesday 9th February (5-6pm)

  • What happens after we die? Wednesday 9th March (5-6pm)

  • Why do humans tell stories?  Wednesday 6th April (5-6pm)

  • Would you rather be free or safe? Wednesday 11th May (5-6pm)

  • Would it be better if we all spoke the same language? Wednesday 8th June (5-6pm)

We plan to host a visit to Oxford (full details to follow), where students can experience life as an Oxford student, and gain insight into university and Oxford admissions. You’ll also get to know a like-minded group of students from across the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Support with university applications will be provided in the summer of 2022, and there will be further workshops in the autumn of 2022 for applicants who are interested in applying for Classics specifically. We hope also to invite students to stay in an Oxford college for free on the night before one of the university's summer Open Days in 2022, with dinner and breakfast included.


Who should apply?

If you …

  • Are in Year 12 at a UK state-maintained school and are able to attend the seminar sessions;
  • Are interested in studying ancient or modern humanities at university;
  • Have read all the above information carefully;
  • Have spoken to the relevant teacher(s) and your parent(s)/guardian(s) to check you will be able to attend the above events

… then please apply to participate in the Being Human Programme !


We asked some previous participants what they thought of the programme, and they said...

  • "It's a fantastic programme! It's really encouraged me to think beyond my A-Level syllabus, meet new friends with similar interests and expand my intellectual curiosity. The tutors have been fantastic and the sessions have been accessible but challenging. Apply!"
  • "The Being Human programme allowed me to explore subjects and ideas that were completely different from anything I had ever studied in school. It gave me a great insight into what studying a humanities subject at a top university would entail."
  • "I genuinely never would have considered applying to study Classics before taking part and now I'm planning to apply for Classics and English in October. If you really engage with the seminars, you'll definitely learn something new."
  • "This course is great in helping you to expand your knowledge both academically and generally. I personally felt at times that I was out of my comfort zone with the new environments and faces, but from this experience I have grown an interest in subjects that I had never seen or heard of before and met some great people also. If you love to learn, listen and discuss the things you don't find in a normal classroom, this course is perfect!"
  • "This programme is incredible. Over the course of the programme, the idea of studying classics becomes much more realistic and interesting. The questions discussed are fascinating, and the further research never felt like anything other than enjoyable. This definitely helped me to understand my other subjects better."