The study of classical languages, including Greek and Latin, includes examining the literatures and cultures of the Mediterranean basin from approximately 2000 BCE to 600 CE.
Study in classics helps students understand the contributions of the ancient world to life today and in the future.
Students with a degree in this area go on to careers in medicine and law, teaching, or pursue advanced degrees in library and information science, museum studies, religious studies, history, archaeology, and business.
Why Study at Iowa?
As a classical languages student at Iowa, you'll enjoy a liberal arts college experience within the rich and stimulating environment of a major research university. You'll have opportunities to work closely with the department's faculty members, who are dedicated teachers and researchers.
In addition to offering a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in classical languages, the Department of Classics also has strong programs in Greek and Latin. The curriculum draws on a wide range of courses about the ancient world, taught in English and offered by the classics department and by other departments and programs across the university, including the School of Art and Art History, School of Religion, and the Department of History. The department also offers a BA degree in Ancient Civilization.
You'll learn about nearly half of the recorded experience of the Western World as a student in this major. Subject matter for your course work will cover three civilizations (Minoan-Mycenaean, Greek, and Roman), two languages (Greek and Latin), and a geographical area that includes Europe, North Africa, Egypt, and the Near East.
You'll learn to read the ancient Greek and/or Latin languages and become acquainted with the major works of Greek and/or Roman literature, and you'll learn about the history of ancient Greece from the eighth century BCE through the fourth century CE, where most modern Western notions of political, artistic, and social life are rooted. You'll develop an understanding of the Roman Republic and Empire, when Rome established its hegemony over the Mediterranean basin, laid the foundation of law for the Western World, and transmitted the culture of Greece to the West.
You'll also keep a portfolio that describes your work for the major.
Review Classics in the UI General Catalog for more information about course work required for this major.
Minor in Classical Languages, Greek, or Latin
Review Classics in the UI General Catalog for more information about receiving a minor in classical languages, Greek, or Latin.
Teacher Licensure in Latin
If you concentrate in Latin and want to teach at the secondary school level, you'll need to complete the College of Education's Teacher Education Program.
Classical Languages majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Admission Requirements Tabs
Classical languages majors are encouraged to incorporate material from the department’s excellent lecture series into your course work, attend the Classics Coffee Hours, and join Eta Sigma Phi, the classics honor society.
The classics department maintains close relationships with study abroad programs in Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands. These programs will advance your work for your major and introduce you to the living descendants of ancient Greek and Roman societies. In the Netherlands, the focus of study is on Latin and Greek and on the Roman frontier. You'll be encouraged to participate in these programs during your junior or senior year; financial aid is available.
The department has close ties to the ongoing Roman frontier excavations at Nijmegen in the Netherlands and with others in Greece and Italy. You may apply to join these excavations in the summer; financial aid is available.
In addition, the University supports the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the American Academy in Rome, making these facilities available to faculty and students.
Faculty, Facilities, and Resources
Classics faculty have earned national and international recognition for their publications and have been honored for their contributions in teaching and in service to the profession. They have particular strengths in the study of Greek and Roman drama, education, history, religion, rhetoric, philosophy, poetry, and material culture. Faculty members edit and publish the scholarly journal Syllecta Classica.
University of Iowa Libraries and the university's Museum of Art have extensive collections related to the Greek and Roman civilizations. Library and museum staff work with the classics faculty to make sure students are able to take full advantage of these resources. The department displays its own valuable collection of coins, glass, vases, and facsimiles in bronze from Mycenae, Pompeii, and Herculaneum.
The department also has an informal study area, where you'll be able to work with other students and with faculty members.
Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
Iowa’s classics program is recognized for the excellent preparation it offers for graduate study in classics. A large proportion of its students pursue advanced degrees. They are admitted to the finest public and private university programs in the country, many with full financial support.
Students who major in classical languages and complete the College of Education’s Teacher Education Program may be able to find secondary school teaching positions quickly, due to a nationwide shortage of Latin teachers.
The study of Latin and Greek also prepares students for study of law and medicine; Iowa classics graduates regularly enter these fields. Others go on to do advanced work in library and information science, museum studies, religious studies, history, archaeology, or business.
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.