Why classics?

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.

Beyond KU:

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.

Innovative scholarship:

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.

Study Abroad

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.

Undergraduate Admission

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 International Support 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.

Classics Majors

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 151CLSX 168CLSX 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.

Major Requirements

Track 1 - Classical Archaeology
15 hours from list A15
6 hours from list B6
9 hours from list C9
Track 2 - Classical Humanities
6 hours from list A6
15 hours from list B15
9 hours from list C9
List A - Classical Archaeology
Introduction to Greek and Roman Archaeology
Introduction to Greek and Roman 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: _____
Summer Archaeological Field Work
Training in Archaeological Field Work
List B - Classical Humanities
Greek and Roman Mythology
Greek and Roman Mythology Honors
Ancient Epic Tales
Ancient Epic Tales, Honors
Greek Literature and Civilization
Greek Literature and Civilization, Honors
Roman Literature and Civilization
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
Ancient Philosophy
Early Greek Philosophy
The Philosophy of Plato
The Philosophy of Aristotle
Hellenistic Philosophy
World Literature I
List C - Electives
Greek Rhetoric in Theory and Practice
Roman Oratory in Theory and Practice
Word Power: Greek and Latin Elements in English
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
Archaeological Ceramics
Roman Military History
Roman Republic
Early Roman Empire
Late Roman Empire (284-527)
Introductory Linguistics
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:

Major Hours
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.

Departmental Honors

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.

Study Abroad

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.