Classical Languages and Literatures Major

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Jorge J. Bravo III

Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronym(s): CLAS, LATN, and GREK.

Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman culture in all its aspects.  Greek and Roman culture provided the foundation of western culture, including its literature, ideas, art, politics, and conceptions of the individual.  Greek myth is still a shared fund of images and narratives that express human experience. Latin is a major source of English vocabulary, and Greek provides technical language in many fields. Classics explores all of these aspects through over fifteen hundred years of history.  It helps us understand the relationship of western culture to other cultural systems and situate ourselves better in the world.

Classics is an intellectually rich and versatile liberal arts major which teaches core skills, including effective communication, critical thinking, and an appreciation of diversity.  Because it is interdisciplinary and holistic, a student of classics gets a three-dimensional view of cultures and literatures that are still major forces today.  Studying Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic sharpens understanding of competing philosophical and political ideas.  Studying Latin not only develops English vocabulary, but makes English grammar comprehensible.  Both languages provide excellent analytic training and Classics students score among the top in the Analytic Writing section of the GRE exams.

Classics is a pre-professional major for law school or for graduate school in any aspect of the ancient world. Classics majors have also gone on to medical school and library school.  Latin teachers are in demand and numerous students have found rewarding jobs teaching secondary school, with continued involvement in the Classics community.  Others have gone into business or gotten jobs in (among other fields) professional writing or editing, archival work, government services, academic administration, information technology, or social services.

Admission to the Major

Admission to the major simply requires a meeting with the undergraduate advisor. No prior knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.

Placement in Courses

Students with a score of 4 or 5 in the AP Latin test receive credit for LATN201 (4 credits) and may not take LATN201 or lower for credit. For further information, and for placement in Latin or Greek courses, contact the department's undergraduate advisor. We do not yet have online placement exams for these languages but can place you based on our assessment of your previous course work.

Program Objectives

Classics provides students with a liberal arts education: skills in written and oral use of language, close reading, critical thinking, and the appreciation of art, literature, history, and culture. The core subject matter of Classics consists of the Greek and Latin languages, the texts originally written in these languages, and the art and material culture of the peoples who spoke them. The program also studies the reception of these works in modern times and their relevance to us today.

Program Learning Outcomes

Having completed the degree program, students should have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Students must demonstrate the ability to interpret the cultural context of primary sources through a variety of methodological approaches.
  2. Majors who take Latin and Greek are expected to demonstrate some level of language proficiency. -Latin majors must be able to read and translate Latin at the advanced level. -Latin and Greek majors must be able to read and translate either Latin or Greek at the advanced level and the other language at the intermediate level. -Classical Humanities majors must be able to demonstrate the ability to assess Classical texts in translation, or primary evidence, through a variety of methodological approaches at the advanced level.

Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities

The Classics Department has its own Classics library and there is an Archaeology Club that its undergraduate students are welcome to join. It conducts annual study abroad programs in Italy and Greece. These programs abroad are open to non-majors as well as to Classics majors and minors. We also host a chapter of the national Classics honor society, Eta Sigma Phi; students are invited to join when they reach the 3xx level in either Latin or Greek with a "B+" average in the language courses and a "B" average overall.

Requirements for the Classics major include the College of Arts and Humanities requirement of 45 3xx- or 4xx-level credits completed.

The College’s Global Engagement Requirement will be automatically fulfilled in the process of taking language courses in the Latin or Latin and Greek tracks of the major.  

No course grade below the grade of "C-" may count toward the major.  An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Select an Option:39-42
Option A: Latin
Option B: Latin and Greek
Option C: Classics in Translation (Classical Humanities)
Total Credits39-42

Option A: Latin

Course Title Credits
Select LATN courses at the 2xx/3xx level18
Select LATN courses at the 4xx level or higher12
Select supporting courses at any level CLAS, GREK, or related fields such as HIST and ARTH9-12
Total Credits39-42

Option B:  Latin and Greek   

Course Title Credits
Select an Option:30
Option 1:
Select 18 credits in LATN courses
Select 12 credits in GREK courses 1
Option 2:
Select 18 credits in GREK courses
Select 12 credits in LATN courses 1
Supporting courses 29
Total Credits39

Students with no previous training in the second language may count introductory level courses as part of the 12-hour requirement.


For example, CLAS170, HIST110, and a 3xx- or 4xx-level course in Greek or Roman history

Option C:  Classics in Translation (Classical Humanities)

Course Title Credits
Foundation Courses
Select 12 credits at the 1xx-2xx level, at least 6 of which must be in Classics (CLAS courses) 112
Advanced Courses
Select eight courses at the 3xx-level or above, of which four must be in Classics and one must be the following: 224
Classics Capstone Seminar (to be taken in the junior or senior year)
Total Credits36

The introductory Latin or Greek sequence (LATN101LATN102LATN201 or GREK101GREK102GREK201), if taken at College Park, fulfills this requirement. If LATN120 and LATN201 are taken at College Park, only one additional course at the 1xx-2xx level is required.  If no language is taken, four courses in English translation, including at least two in Classics, are required.  Students who are capable of working at a higher level may request departmental approval to substitute 3xx or 4xx-level courses for some of the introductory credits.


As a special exception, either LATN201 or GREK201, intermediate Latin or Greek, may be counted as one of the advanced courses. Students are still required to fulfill the ARHU requirement of 45 3xx-4xx level credits.

Other Requirements for the Major

Students in the Classical Humanities track should work with their advisor to craft a meaningful set of courses with a focus on some particular aspect of the classical world, such as myth and religion, literature in its historical context, visual and material culture, or classical reception.

Click here for roadmaps for four-year plans in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Additional information on developing a four-year academic plan can be found on the following pages: