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College of Letters & Science


Requirements for the Major in Latin
Requirements for the Major in Classics
Requirements for the Major in Classical Humanities
Requirements for the Certificate in Classical Studies
Honors in the Major
Placement and Retroactive Credit
Classics Courses
Greek Courses
Latin Courses

910 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2041; classics@mhub.facstaff.wisc.edu; classics.lss.wisc.edu

Professors McClure, McKeown, Rosenmeyer; Associate Professors Aylward, Beneker; Assistant Professors Brockliss, Dressler, Nelsestuen

Department chair: Laura McClure
Department administrator: Bill Bach
Undergraduate advisor: Grant Nelsetuen

The widespread influence of classical culture upon our own modern intellectual history and the intrinsic attractions of the material itself combine to make classics a dynamic and interesting field of study. From a more practical standpoint, and because of the discipline and rigor the major requires, a major in the Department of Classics can prepare students for graduate study in multiple fields and may also help students gain admittance to professional programs in law and medicine.

The literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome form the primary subject of study within the field of classics. The department offers language instruction in both Greek and Latin as well as courses in classical civilization and culture. A student majoring in the Department of Classics is expected to acquire some familiarity with the entire spectrum of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, including language, literature, history, philosophy, art, and archaeology.

In order to respond to the interests of students who wish to emphasize either language or culture in their program of study, the Department of Classics offers three different majors and a certificate. The Latin and classics majors focus on language and literature, and students are expected to have advanced language competence upon completion of the major. The classical humanities major aims more broadly at the civilization and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and requires only an intermediate level of competence in one or more ancient languages. In addition, the department offers a certificate in classical studies that requires only culture courses but no Latin or Greek.

Requirements for the Major in Latin

A major in Latin will be awarded if a student completes 26 credits beyond the first year, including 203–204, 301–302, and four courses at the 500 level or above. Prospective majors interested in teaching Latin in high school should consult the undergraduate advisor and the School of Education about requirements for teaching certification.

Requirements for the Major in Classics

1. Classics—Latin emphasis

A major in classics with an emphasis in Latin will be awarded if a student completes 6 credits of Greek beyond the first year (normally 305–306) plus 17 credits of Latin beyond the first year including one course at the 500 level or above.

2. Classics—Greek emphasis

A major in Classics with an emphasis in Greek will be awarded if a student completes 8 credits of Latin beyond the first year (normally 203–204) plus 15 credits of Greek beyond the first year including one course at the 500 level or above.

Requirements for the Major in Classical Humanities

The classical humanities major consists of a combination of courses in ancient culture and classical languages. The major requirements are divided into three parts: (1)Language, (2)Literature and Culture, and (3)Seminar. The requirements for the major are:


Four semesters of Greek, Latin, or any combination of the two languages are needed to fulfill the language requirement. Courses normally will be a combination of Latin 103, 104, 203, 204 and/or Greek 103, 104, 305, 306. Credit by course examination (retro credit) may be used for no more than two semesters of this requirement.

Literature and Culture

Nineteen credits in any of the following categories may be used to fulfill the literature and culture requirement. However, no more than two courses from the same outside department may be counted toward the classical humanities major:

Classics courses numbered 300 and above (or their cross-listed equivalent)

Courses in Greek or Latin above and beyond the second-year level; that is courses numbered higher than Greek 306 and Latin 204, not including Latin 391 and 392. Note: Students who declare the major in Fall 2013 or later may only apply six credits of Greek and Latin courses toward the fulfillment of this requirement.

Related courses in Art History including 115, 201, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 405, and 505
Related courses in French and Italian including 550
Related courses in Hebrew Studies including 346
Related courses in History including 110, 112, 208, 251, 303, 306, and 307
Related courses in History of Science including 322
Related courses in Integrated Liberal Studies including 203, 205, and 207
Related courses in Philosophy including 430 and 454
Related courses in Political Science including 501 

Classics Seminar

To complete the classical humanities major, a student must complete 3 credits of the undergraduate seminar, Classics 591 Approaches to the Classical World. This course is normally taken in the senior year. The credits earned in this seminar count toward fulfilling the literature and culture requirement above. A student may take an alternative seminar by requesting a course substitution from the undergraduate advisor in advance.

Requirements for the Certificate in Classical Studies

In order to receive the certificate in classical studies, students are required to complete 18 credits in classics and/or related fields. At least 12 of these credits must be at or above the 300 level. Classical humanities majors are not eligible for the certificate in classical studies.

Approved Courses

Classics: 100, 110, 205, 273, 300, 304, 311, 320, 322, 324, 325, 350, 351, 370, 371, 372, 373, 376, 379, 430, 470, 476, 477, 517, 554, 555, 556, 561, 591, 602. Students should consult the department's undergraduate advisor about any courses in classics that are not listed.

In addition to courses in classics, the following courses offered by other departments also count toward requirements for the certificate.

Art History: 115, 201, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 405, 505
Hebrew Studies: 346
History: 110, 112, 208, 251, 303, 306, 307
History of Science: 322
ILS: 203, 205, 207
Philosophy: 430, 454
Political Science: 501

Courses cross-listed in more than one department may not be counted twice toward the certificate (for example, Classics 110/History 110, and Classics 300/Art History 300).

Honors in the Major

Candidates for Honors in the Major must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 for courses in the major designated intermediate or advanced and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation. In addition they must take at least one graduate seminar numbered 500 or above, and complete a two-semester senior thesis or research project while enrolled in Classics 681–682.

Placement and Retroactive Credit

Latin courses 302 and below are open to freshmen with sufficient preparation. Placement testing is advised for students entering from high school and can be arranged with Testing & Evaluation Services while attending SOAR. Consult the Latin program advisor in all cases of doubt in course placement.

Credit by course examination (retroactive credit) may be earned for work done elsewhere, particularly in high school, by validating it through course work at UW–Madison. The validating course must be the student's first college-level language course; and it must be taken before earning 30 degree credits, and the student must earn at least a B.