The study of ancient civilization focuses on the culture, religion, art, language, and philosophy of the Mediterranean basin from approximately 2000 BCE to 600 CE. Students learn about the contributions of the ancient world to life in the present and future and are well prepared for futures in law, medicine, or other professions, such as teaching at the secondary school level.

Why Study at Iowa

Students in this major 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 faculty members in the Department of Classics, who are dedicated teachers and researchers.

The Department of Classics also offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Classical Languages.

Course Work

Ancient civilization majors earn a BA degree featuring course work provided by the Department of Classics in conjunction with the School of Art and Art History, School of Religion, and the Department of History.

Course work focuses on nearly half of the recorded experience of the Western World, covering three civilizations (Greek, Roman, and Minoan-Mycenaean), two languages (Greek and Latin), and a geographical area that includes Europe, North Africa, Egypt, and the Near East.

You'll be encouraged, but not required, to take courses in Greek or Latin. Course work will include:

  • Ancient art
  • Ancient history
  • Ancient philosophy or religion
  • Classics (may include Greek or Latin language)
  • Additional courses (may include linguistics)

You also will keep a portfolio that describes your work for the major.

Minor in Ancient Civilization

See Classics in the UI General Catalog to learn more about earning a minor in ancient civilization.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having nearly 600 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

You'll be encouraged to incorporate material from the department’s excellent lecture series into your course work, to attend the Classics Coffee Hours, and to join Eta Sigma Phi, the classics honor society.

Study Abroad

The classics department maintains close relationships with study abroad programs in Greece, Italy, Israel, 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 Israel, Greece, and Italy. You may apply to join these excavations in the summer, and 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.

The University of Iowa Libraries has extensive collections related to the Greek and Roman civilizations. Library 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 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 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.


The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships. Also, visit this academic program's website for information on scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Ancient Civilization (BA)
Ancient Civilization
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan