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  • Course Overview
  • Course Content
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  • Materials
  • Assessment and certification
  • Duration/End Date


The Book I Independent Learner Course is a 40-week tutored email correspondence course which costs £275.

Please use the menu on the left (or menu below if you are an a mobile phone or tablet) for more details, or read on below for an overview.

The Book I Course is suitable for complete beginners in Latin - previous experience of the subject is neither necessary nor expected. The course may, however, also be suitable for those coming back to Latin after a number of years. To find out whether the content of the course is appropriate for you, please visit the course content page. 

Book I is divided into 12 Stages, or chapters, and each Stage normally takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete. The whole course takes from 35 to 50 hours to complete. You may wish to study for an hour a day or an hour a week - the pace at which you go is entirely up to you! Your E-tutor will be available for up to 40 weeks and will be happy to receive work from you, by email or post, at whatever pace you prefer. 

When you enrol for the course, you will receive a set of materials including an Independent Learner's Guide, which divides the course into 35 sessions, each designed to last between 1 and 1.5 hours. For almost every session, some work is marked for you to submit to your e-tutor and he or she will aim to assess that work and return it to you, with advice for improvement, within 48 hours. Assessment and certification are available at three points during this course. 

CSCP is a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge, and therefore we keep the costs of our courses as low as we can, to allow as many people as possible to gain access to the study of Latin and the Roman world. 

The Cambridge Latin Course is set firmly in the cultural context of the Roman world in the first century AD. In Book I, the story begins in the city of Pompeii, shortly before the eruption of Vesuvius. Book I forms a coherent course in its own right and is often studied as a complete introduction to the Latin language and Roman civilisation. The age of students taking this course ranges from 8 to 85!

The main language features of Book I include:

Nominative, accusative and dative cases, singular and plural, of nouns of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd declensions

Present, imperfect and perfect tenses, all persons, of verbs of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th conjugations

Word order

Personal pronouns

Intransitive verbs

Comparatives and superlatives


The main civilisation topics include

Roman families


Daily life

The town of Pompeii

The forum

The theatre

Slaves and freedmen

Life and death


The baths


Local government and elections

The eruption of Vesuvius; destruction and excavation of Pompeii


Your e-tutor will always be an experienced, enthusiastic Latin teacher, who knows the course well and is familiar with ways to help you with any issues which may arise during the course. He or she is unlikely to be involved in this project for the money! Rather your tutor will want to help you get the most out of your study of Latin and the Roman world.

When you enrol for the course, we will send you, by post, amongst other materials, an Independent Learner's Guide, detailing what work to undertake in each session. For examination courses (Eduqas, AS/A Level), sessions are held online. Almost all sessions have a designated assignment to send to your e-tutor. Your e-tutor will mark your work and return it to you, with ideas on how you might improve and, like any tutor, will try to explain an idea or concept to you if you are not certain about it. You do not have to send work if you do not wish to do so, of course, but we strongly recommend that you do, as this will both inform you of how you are progressing, and help your e-tutor to assist you in your learning.

Most of our e-tutors tell us that they would like to be contacted by their students more frequently, rather than less, and no limit is placed on the amount of times you may contact your e-tutor.
All e-tutors have completed a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure and are competent in sending, receiving and marking work electronically. Should you have any concerns about your e-tutor at any stage, you can contact our office at any time.

The basis of this course is the UK fourth edition of Book I of the Cambridge Latin Course

Your study of the textbook is supported by a 77 page Book I Independent Learning Manual and a Book I Independent Learning Manual Answer Book, which are specifically designed for students without direct access to a Latin teacher. You will also receive a Book I Independent Learner's Guide, detailing what you should aim to study in each session and highlighting the work to send to your e-tutor. 

When you enrol, we will send you all the necessary print materials except the textbook. This is because we encourage you to view the textbook before you enrol for the course, so that you have an opportunity to see the textbook's approach and be sure that you wish to follow a tutored course through it. You will find the textbook in most major bookshops, or you can order it directly from (not or The Hellenic Bookservice. If you are a student outside the UK, please be sure to purchase the UK fourth edition of the Book (ISBN 978-0-521-63543-1).

*** Only students enrolled on the course and the course tutors can access downloadable course materials ***

The following files are available to download to assist with your course.

*** Only students enrolled on the course and the course tutors can access downloadable course materials ***

The Book I course is divided into 12 Stages, or chapters, and certificated assessment is available after Stages 4, 8 and 12. The assessment is certificated by the University of Cambridge. 

The assessments at the end of Stages 4 and 8 are based entirely on your understanding of the Latin language - you must translate a passage of Latin which is similar in difficulty to that of the stories in those Stages. The assessment at the end of Stage 12 evaluates your understanding of both the language and the civilisation elements of the course. You are asked to answer comprehension questions on a passage of Latin similar in difficulty to that of the stories in Stage 12 and you are also tested on the cultural topics covered in the course. Knowledge of the content of Book I is sufficient to answer all questions. 

The assessment tests are emailed or posted to you by your e-tutor and we trust you to complete them in exam conditions. Your e-tutor will mark your scripts and we will send you a certificate if you pass the assessment. 

The Cambridge Latin Course leads to GCSE qualification and Book I takes you about one quarter of the way to GCSE level. For further details, please see the 'Qualifications' area of the website.

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