The study of classical languages, including Greek and Latin, includes examining the literature 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, archeology, and business.

Why 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.

Admission Requirements

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

 Information

Major(s)
Classical Languages
BA
Minor(s)
Classical Languages
Greek
Latin
  Teaching Licensure
in Latin
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. 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 at the finest public and private university programs in the country. 

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, and 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.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Classical languages majors are encouraged to incorporate material from the department’s excellent lecture series into their course work, attend the Classics Coffee Hours, and 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, and 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; financial aid is available.

In addition, the university supports the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and the American Academy in Rome, making these facilities available to faculty and students.

  Scholarships

The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Course Work

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. 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 documents your work for the major.

In addition to required course work for the major, all students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who wish to earn a bachelor's degree must complete the requirements of the GE CLAS Core. 

Review Classics in the UI General Catalog for information about course work required for this major, receiving a minor in classical languages, or graduating with honors. 

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.