Classical Studies

 greek inscription carved into stone
 roman inscription carved into stone
 medieval latin text  medieval latin text
 colloseum  colloseum

Why Study Classics?

“Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.”   Marcus Tullius Cicero

The art, literature and philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans have cast a long shadow on the modern world, providing the resources to help contemporary societies tackle fundamental questions like “what is a good life?” “what is the meaning of justice?” and “how should human beings interact with the world around?”  In the multi-cultural world of the ancient Mediterranean, these ancient societies also grappled with the meaning and form of a range of social differences such as gender, class, race, religion, and sexuality, differences that led, in some cases, to brutal phenomena like slavery and human trafficking.  So, too, the Greek and Roman eras provided the context for the emergence of major ideas and institutions that continue to define the world today, such as democracy and Christianity.  

A major or minor in Classical Studies allows students to encounter these aspects of the ancient world on their own terms.  In addition, with a Classical Studies major or minor you can:

Work within an interdisciplinary framework

The field of Classics is by its nature interdisciplinary and our courses emphasize a range of approaches to the ancient world, integrating the study of ancient languages, literature, art and archaeology, philosophy, history, political theory, religion, law and medicine.  Our Classical Studies majors and minors are built to be flexible, allowing students to specialize in the areas that most interest them, whether the study of Latin or the study of ancient literature in translation or the study of ancient history, art and culture.

Enhance your skills in problem-solving

Greek and Roman literature is deeply invested in ethical examination of a range of problems, while also exploring the consequences of the solutions that different communities have used to try to resolve them.  Thus, many contemporary thinkers and artists have turned to ancient literature for assistance in thinking about modern problems as diverse as:  war and post traumatic stress disorder, domestic violence, chronic disease, and even our systems of incarceration.

Deepen your understanding of American history and culture:  From the time our founding fathers used the work of ancient authors to establish the new American nation, classical antiquity has exerted an enormous influence on American political life, art and architecture, and culture more broadly. Still today, the influence of Greek and Roman mythology and history can be found in genres as widespread as fashion, film and TV, books and graphic novels, gaming, and music videos.

Prepare for post-graduate study in medicine and law

Both law schools and medical schools have long valued training in Classics when considering student admissions, often citing the critical thinking abilities and writing proficiencies students routinely acquire in their study of antiquity.  Students, too, acknowledge the advantage their study of Classics can give them in pursuing advanced work in both fields, especially given that medicine and law drew largely from ancient Greek and Latin in forming their professional vocabularies. Many Classics students have gone on to have distinguished careers in both law and medicine.

Take advantage of study abroad and independent research opportunities

Miami Classics students can participate in study abroad programs in Greece, Italy and other European destinations.  In addition, many of our students have pursued independent research through Miami’s prestigious undergraduate research programs, such as the Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program and Dean’s Scholar ProgramBe sure to discuss these opportunities with your Classics adviser as early as possible!

Classical Studies majors and minors have excelled in a wide range of professional disciplines, such as:

  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Banking and finance
  • Tourism and travel
  • Diplomacy
  • Publishing
  • Museum Studies
  • Professional Writing
  • Latin teaching and academia

Note that students who are interested in becoming a Latin teacher and want to combine teacher licensure with an Arts and Science major at Miami need to observe the rules, procedures, and restrictions pertaining to admission to a licensure cohort as outlined in the School of Education and Allied Professions chapter.  Go here for more information

What Can I Do With a Major in Classical Humanities?

A graduate of classics can offer an employer the ability to read, write, and think analytically about a broad range of human concerns. Potential career areas include law, journalism, library science, publishing, and teaching. With an additional proficiency in a modern language, a classics major would be a strong candidate for positions in international business and diplomacy.

Many classics graduates decide to continue their education. While Miami does not offer a graduate program in classics, the department does provide a solid foundation for advanced work in the ancient languages and literature, comparative literature, archaeology, religion, history, creative writing, business, mythology, philosophy, and the sciences. Professional schools of law and medicine are also options.

What courses would I take?

In addition to Global Miami Plan Foundation courses, Classical Humanities majors are required to take classes such as Greek Civilization in its Mediterranean Context, Introduction to Roman Civilization, and Classical Mythology. You also choose remaining hours from areas like art, history, language, literature, philosophy, and religion to make up an integrated study plan. Knowledge and course work in at least one ancient language is also recommended. Many classics majors are interested in other subjects and choose double majors.

In your junior and senior years, you'll continue with upper-level classics courses. Your junior and senior years are flexible so you can take related hours in other programs, work on your double major, or pursue a study abroad opportunity.

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