Because knowledge of Greek and Roman antiquity is fundamental to understanding the ancient and modern world.
What is classics?
Classics is the integrated study of ancient Greek and Roman civilization through its languages, its literature, and its artistic and archaeological remains. This broad field includes the study of the great texts of classical antiquity, such as Vergil's Aeneid, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Plato's Symposium, Sophocles' Antigone, and the love poems of Sappho and Catullus, but also encompasses research into everyday life in the societies that produced those great works.
In addition to training in the classical languages (Greek and Latin), the department introduces students to a range of work in literary criticism and cultural studies. Topics include archaeology and ancient art, ancient theatre, mythology, women's history, Greek and Roman humor, cultural exchange across the Mediterranean, the translation of Greek and Latin poetry, and the history of slavery, sexuality, and ethnicity in ancient society.
A commitment to teaching and learning:
Our curriculum is diverse, innovative, and responsive to students’ needs. We offer a variety of topics as mentioned above, and an array of course structures and formats, including small in-person language courses, hybrid ancient Greek and Latin that combines face-to-face instruction with online exercises, mid-sized discussion courses on archaeological or literary themes, online offerings during the summer and the academic year, and one large energetic lecture course.
Our faculty members have won nearly all KU’s teaching awards, including the HOPE, Kemper, and Ned Fleming awards, and a wide variety of other university-level teaching and advising awards. The department as a whole received the first ever Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE) award for Department Excellence in Teaching at the University of Kansas.
In addition to the rich and interdisciplinary content, the Classics degree teaches strong and widely useful critical skills such as clear writing, effective interpretation and use of evidence, and evaluation of sources. Classics graduates bring all these to bear in a variety of careers. Our students have gone on to careers in law, business, library science, journalism, medicine, museum studies, education, writing and publishing, and technology.
KU Classics Faculty members conduct research on a variety of ancient topics, from Greek tragedy to Roman architecture. Their research engages some of the world’s most enduring questions, such as: How did the Greek and Roman societies envision happiness? How does knowledge of the past affect one’s choices and identities? How do modern theories about gender and sexuality intersect with ancient concepts? How are cultural values encoded into art, architecture, literature, language, law, religion, and politics? And, who “owns” the classical past?
Classics students can work with faculty as research assistants or can develop their own research projects, and many Classics courses count toward KU’s Research Experience Program. Our undergraduate students have received Undergraduate Research Awards and McNair Scholarships, and many write undergraduate honors theses.
The Classics Department offers a variety of study opportunities for its students to study in Greece or Italy, the UK, and elsewhere in Europe. We offer scholarships to students who participate in overseas programs that focus on the ancient world.
Admission to KU
All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.
Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.
Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.
Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.
The Department of Classics offers 2 majors. Both provide students of diverse career goals a broad humane education and afford a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue graduate work in classics. The Classical Antiquity major provides inclusive, interdisciplinary training in ancient Greek and Roman cultures and prepares you for graduate study in ancient archaeology, art, or history. The Classical Languages major trains you to read the great authors of classical antiquity (e.g., Homer, Plato, Vergil, Sappho, Saint Augustine) in the original language and prepares you for graduate study in classics and for teaching in some private schools.
You might also combine your classical language interest with a degree in the School of Education. A degree in education with a Latin major allows you to teach Latin in public high schools.
First- and Second-Year Preparation
Potential classics majors should keep in mind that proficiency in Greek or Latin is required for either major; they need to enroll in GRK 104 or LAT 104 or their equivalents as early as possible. For students with no former training, proficiency takes 4 semesters; Classical Languages majors need additional language courses. Other courses to consider taking during the first or second year include CLSX 148, CLSX 151, CLSX 168, CLSX 230, CLSX 240, or the honors versions of those courses. As soon as the student decides that classics is a possible major, he or she should talk to an undergraduate advisor in classics.
Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major: Classical Antiquity
The Classical Antiquity major consists of 30 hours of work in Classics and related courses, in addition to the coursework in Latin and/or Greek required for the major. The major is designed to encourage interdisciplinary understanding of ancient Greek and Roman cultures while maximizing student flexibility.
Of the 30 hours that constitute the major, 15 must be in the Classics Department, i.e., CLSX, GRK, and LAT courses; and 15 must be junior/senior hours, i.e., at the 300 level or above. This major has two tracks: Classical Humanities, and Classical Art and Archaeology. Coursework in Latin and or Greek required for the major: 4-semester proficiency in Latin or ancient Greek, or four semesters combined Greek and/or Latin, or the equivalent.
|Track 1 - Classical Archaeology (30)|
|15 hours from list A||15|
|6 hours from list B||6|
|9 hours from list C||9|
|Track 2 - Classical Humanities (30)|
|6 hours from list A||6|
|15 hours from list B||15|
|9 hours from list C||9|
|List A - Classical Archaeology (0)|
|Introduction to Classical Archaeology|
or CLSX 351
|Introduction to Classical Archaeology, Honors|
|Archaeology of Ancient Israel|
|Aegean Archaeology and Art|
|Greek Archaeology and Art|
|Roman Archaeology and Art|
|Pompeii and Herculaneum|
|Archaeology and Art of the Ancient Near East|
|Topics in the Archaeology and Art of the Ancient Mediterranean: _____ 1|
|Biography of a City: _____|
|Archaeological Myths and Realities|
|Summer Archaeological Field Work|
|Training in Archaeological Field Work|
|List B - Classical Humanities (0)|
|Greek and Roman Mythology|
or CLSX 149
|Greek and Roman Mythology Honors|
|Ancient Epic Tales|
or CLSX 169
|Ancient Epic Tales, Honors|
|Greek Literature and Civilization|
or CLSX 330
|Greek Literature and Civilization, Honors|
|Roman Literature and Civilization|
or CLSX 340
|Roman Literature and Civilization, Honors|
|Ethics in Greek Tragedy|
|Poetry and Politics in Fifth-Century Athens|
|Topics in Greek and Roman Literature: _____ 1|
LAT/GRK courses beyond those used to satisfy the requirement
|Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory|
|Early Greek Philosophy|
|The Philosophy of Plato|
|The Philosophy of Aristotle|
|World Literature I|
|List C - Electives (0)|
|Greek Rhetoric in Theory and Practice|
|Roman Oratory in Theory and Practice|
|Word Power: Greek and Latin Elements in English|
or CLSX 332
|Medical Terminology: Greek and Latin Roots|
|Modern Themes, Ancient Models: _____|
|Studies in: _____|
|Jerusalem Through the Ages|
|Honors Essay in Classical Antiquity|
|Development of Ancient Greece, ca. 1000-300 B.C.|
|Jewish History and Literature in the Greek and Roman Periods|
|Gender and Sexuality in Greek Culture|
|Gender and Sexuality in Roman Culture|
|Capstone in Classics|
|Study Abroad Topics in Greek and Roman Culture: _____|
|Readings in: _____ 1|
|Studies in: _____|
|Introduction to Archaeology|
|The Rise of Civilization|
|Roman Military History|
|Early Roman Empire|
|Late Roman Empire (284-527)|
|Jews and Christians|
|Jewish History and Literature in the Greek and Roman Periods|
|Ancient Mesopotamian Culture and Religion|
|Christian Origins: from the Beginnings to Augustine|
Any course from List A or B beyond those used to fulfill the requirement.
Students wishing to use their LAT or GRK to satisfy the university’s language requirement must do four semesters of the same language.
Classical Antiquity Major Hours & Major GPA
While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade point average minimum standards:
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.
Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major.
Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.
Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.
A sample 4-year plan for the BA in Classical Antiquity can be found here: Classical Antiquity, or by using the left-side navigation.
A sample 4-year plan for the BGS in Classical Antiquity can by found here: Classical Antiquity, or by using the left-side navigation.
A candidate for honors must meet all the general requirements for graduation with honors established by the College. The independent research requirement is met by successful completion of Honors Essay: CLSX 496, GRK 496, or LAT 496. This is normally in the spring semester of the senior year. This enrollment substitutes for one of the optional major courses, whether central or peripheral.
The department offers study abroad opportunities in Greece and Italy. All students may apply to attend these summer programs, and classics majors are especially encouraged to enroll. Courses offered vary from year to year; consult the Office of Study Abroad or advisors in the Department of Classics.
For scholarships, students should apply to Study Abroad as well as to the department. The department also offers advice to students interested in non-KU programs or in summer internships at archaeological sites.