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.
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.
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 Languages
The Classical Languages major consists of 27 hours of work in classics and related courses, beyond these 4 preliminary requirements: LAT 104, LAT 108, GRK 104, and GRK 108 or their equivalents. Students who have already taken the equivalents of those courses proceed to the next level. Study of both languages is required, but students with particular career plans may obtain written permission from the chair to substitute electives for one of the languages. This major requires at least 15 hours in language courses starting with LAT 112/LAT 113 or GRK 301, 3 hours in ancient art and archaeology, 3 hours in ancient history, and 6 hours in electives. Students aiming for graduate school in classics should take as many semesters of Latin and Greek as possible—at the least, 3 years of one ancient language and 2 years of the other. Future graduate students should also consider double majoring in Classical Antiquity and Classical Languages.
|Elementary Knowledge in Greek or Latin (20)|
|Majors must complete courses as specified in each of the following areas. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major. Equivalent courses and retroactive credit count toward this requirement. Study of both languages is required, but students with particular career plans may obtain written permission from the chair to substitute electives for one of the languages.|
|Elementary Latin I. Satisfied by:|
|LAT 104||Elementary Latin I||5|
|or LAT 105||Elementary Latin I, Honors|
|Elementary Latin II. Satisfied by:|
|LAT 108||Elementary Latin II||5|
|or LAT 109||Elementary Latin II, Honors|
|Elementary Ancient Greek. Satisfied by:|
|GRK 104||Elementary Ancient Greek||5|
|or GRK 105||Elementary Ancient Greek, Honors|
|Ancient Greek Readings and Grammar. Satisfied by:|
|GRK 108||Ancient Greek Readings and Grammar||5|
|or GRK 109||Ancient Greek Readings and Grammar, Honors|
|Classical Languages Major Core Language Knowledge and Skills (15)|
|Majors must complete at least 15 hours in language courses, beyond the elementary level, starting with LAT 112/LAT 113 or GRK 301 or the equivalent.||15|
|Students aiming for graduate school in classics should take as many semesters of Latin and Greek as possible, at the least 3 years of one ancient language and 2 years of the other.|
|Major Core Knowledge and Skills (6)|
|History. Satisfied by one of the following:||3|
|Greek Literature and Civilization|
or CLSX 330
|Greek Literature and Civilization, Honors|
|Roman Literature and Civilization|
or CLSX 340
|Roman Literature and Civilization, Honors|
|Roman Military History|
|Development of Ancient Greece, ca. 1000-300 B.C.|
|Early Roman Empire|
|Late Roman Empire (284-527)|
|Ancient Art & Archaeology. Satisfied by one of the following:||3|
|Introduction to Classical Archaeology|
|Introduction to Classical Archaeology, Honors|
|Aegean Archaeology and Art|
|Greek Archaeology and Art|
|Roman Archaeology and Art|
|Archaeology and Art of the Ancient Near East|
|Pompeii and Herculaneum|
|Topics in the Archaeology and Art of the Ancient Mediterranean: _____|
|Classical Languages Major Required Electives (6)|
|Majors must complete 2 courses (6 hours) of electives. Elective courses may include any CLSX, Greek, or Latin courses and any course listed above (but not used to satisfy the requirement), and PHIL 384, PHIL 508, PHIL 605, PHIL 607, PHIL 608, HUM 380, HUM 390, ENGL 308 or other courses in allied fields as approved by the department chair.||6|
Major Hours & Major GPA
While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and GPA minimum standards:
Satisfied by 27 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 Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.
Major Junior/Senior 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.
Major Junior/Senior Attempts
Summary includes Classical Languages junior/senior (300+) hours attempted, including F's and incompletes.
A sample 4-year plan for the BA in Classical Languages can be found here: Classical Languages, or by using the left-side navigation.
A sample 4-year plan for the BGS in Classical Languages can by found here: Classical Languages, 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 completed in the spring semester of the senior year, though some students complete it in the fall semester. Students interested in honors in Classics should speak to an advisor in the junior 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.