Skip to Main Content

Classical Studies

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.

What Can I Do With a Major in Classical Humanities?

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

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.

Why Study Classics?

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 Program Be 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

Our Major

We offer a number of unique experiences for undergraduates. Our smaller classes offer an intimate learning environment and the chance to form close working relationships with professors. A lively group of majors and minors provides a social and intellectual community through the Classics Club. Classics students have an excellent record obtaining support for independent student research, and some are currently engaged in preparing their own books for on-line and Print-on-Demand publication. Every spring Classics students gain valuable organizational experience through running the Undergraduate Classics Conference, the first of its kind, which attracts students from other universities across the country.

A Classics major is one of the most highly regarded liberal arts degrees, emphasizing careful reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that you will use throughout your life, whatever career path you choose. 
Colosseum in Rome

Our Minor

This minor offers students the opportunity to become acquainted with the rich spectrum of classical literature, language, art, and civilization. A minimum 2.00 GPA is required for all courses in the minor. These courses must be taken for a grade, not credit/no-credit.
greek inscription in rock

Learning Outcomes

At graduation, we expect that our majors can:

Create their own knowledge: Persuasively develop own interpretation of the material; takes into account counterarguments; applies secondary sources and theory where appropriate; uses primary source evidence in support of independent analysis

Evaluate interpretations of secondary scholarship in terms of primary source evidence: Evaluates multiple interpretations by weighing their validity in relation to the primary source

Identify the scholarly context: Locates appropriate research findings used by scholars in classics and related fields

Identify primary source evidence: Locates relevant evidence within primary sources in support of the research study

Cite sources: Cites primary and secondary sources according to conventions used by scholars in the field

Use proper syntax and mechanics: Communicates ideas with clarity and fluency using accurate grammar and spelling

Advising and Placement


For questions relating to Classical Humanities, Greek, or Latin courses or advising guidance, please contact:

Dr. Zara Torlone
Irvin Hall 108
513-529-1488 Office
513-529-1480 Department

Course Placement for Greek

If this is a new language for you (i.e., no prior experience in this language), students should enroll in Greek 101 and do not need to take a placement exam or advisement evaluation.

If you have had previous experience or education in this language, please talk to the language advisor prior to enrolling in a language course. The language advisor would be able to interview you briefly and recommend a best placement based on your written, spoken, listening, literary, and cultural competence.

Course Placement for Latin

If this is a new language for you (i.e., no prior experience in this language), students should enroll in Latin 101 and do not need to take a placement exam or advisement evaluation.

If you have had previous experience or education in this language, you will need to take the Latin Placement Test first to see which level you should enroll in. Go to Miami's Foreign Language Placement and select Latin for your language. Then select the number of years you have previously had learning Latin. If you have had 1/2 years, round up to the next whole year of previous experience. When you are finished with the test, your exam will be emailed to a designated language advisor in Classics to read and score it. The language advisor will then email you back at the address you gave on the exam and inform you of your score and which course you should register for.

If you believe that the language placement is incorrect or have doubts about the placement, please talk to the department's  language advisor, who would be able to interview you briefly and recommend a best placement based on your written, spoken, listening, literary, and cultural competence.