Every culture and civilization has its classics: those works of art that are seen as the best of their kind, have withstood the test of time, and embody the symbolic values of their society. In the western tradition, the study of ‘Classics’ has focused upon the literatures and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, and their impact on the whole subsequent history of the western world.

The significance of the study of Classics to the history of the academy would be difficult to overstate. Indeed the entire notion of a ‘university,’ from the days of mediaeval Paris, Bologna, Oxford, and Heidelberg on, was founded consciously and explicitly upon the study of Greek and Latin literatures and thought. The discipline has been conceived in unusually broad terms; it is intended to encompass everything that can be known about the ancient Mediterranean world. Because of this, there is room in Classics for the study of areas as disparate as literature, science, sculpture, history, architecture, religion, philosophy, theater, economics, music—in short, the entire panorama of human endeavor. It is no wonder that the study of Classics has always tended to attract some of the liveliest and most brilliant intellects; and it is equally unsurprising that students majoring in Classics find themselves extremely well-prepared for undertaking practically any type of career, whether that be in politics, law, teaching, commercial publishing, research of all kinds, medicine, journalism, banking, or the corporate world. A degree in Classics marks the UM graduate as a man or woman of superior analytical and critical skills, one who has proved able to cope with the most rigorous academic curriculum, and who is exceptionally broadly educated in the most fundamental aspects of what it means to be human.


The educational objectives of the Department of Classics may be stated in a variety of ways, and on a number of levels. In terms of linguistic competency, students majoring or minoring in Classics are required to reach an appropriate level of fluency in reading ancient Greek or Latin, or both. In terms of cultural literacy, students of the Classics are educated within a rigorous curriculum exposing them to the great literary works and material cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. In terms of critical thinking, students of the Classics are trained to hone the skills of memory, analysis, and synthesis, skills that they will be able to apply for the rest of their lives in any realm of thought whatsoever.

But—stated in the most philosophical terms—the goal of an education in Classics is to foster and inculcate an ever-burgeoning awareness of what Cicero referred to as humanitas—in short, everything it is to be human. It is the mission of Classics to expose its students to the greatest thoughts and endeavors of the human race, and to encourage them to think about what that greatness consists in, and how to enlarge upon it. The profoundest educational objective of the Department of Classics is to preserve and study all that is important or beautiful about the past, in order best to prepare for the future.


The Department of Classics offers the Major and the Minor in Classics; for details on these, see below.


The undergraduate Major in Classics at UM has four possible tracks. The requirements for each of these are as follows:

Track 1: Greek (30 credits)
GRE 101, 102, 201
Five further courses in Greek (GRE 202 and above)
Two Classics-in-translation (CLA) courses

Track 2: Latin (30 credits)
LAT 101, 102, 201
Five further courses in Latin (LAT 202 and above)
Two Classics-in-translation (CLA) courses

Track 3: Latin and Greek (36 credits)
LAT 101, 102, 201 and GRE 101, 102, 201
Two further courses in Latin (LAT 202 and above) and two further courses in Greek (GRE 202 and above)
Two Classics-in-translation (CLA) courses

Track 4: Classical Civilization (30 credits)
LAT 101, 102, 201 or GRE 101, 102, 201
One further course (202 and above) in either Latin (LAT) or Greek (GRE)
Six Classics-in-translation (CLA) courses


Students may instead elect to Minor in Classics at UM. The requirements for this are as follows;

Minor in Classics (five courses—15 credits). Courses that qualify for the minor in Classics are taught each semester. A grade of C-minus or better is required in each course taken for the minor, as well as an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher.
3 credits in a Greek (GRE) course or 3 credits in a Latin (LAT) course
12 credits in Greek (GRE), Latin (LAT), or Classics-in-translation (CLA) courses (in any combination desired)





Courses in Classics labeled ‘LAT’ or ‘GRE’ and above the 201 level—that is, LAT 202, GRE 202, and higher—satisfy General-Education requirements under the ‘Literature’ requirement of the ‘Humanities’ rubric.
Some courses in Classics labeled CLA satisfy General-Education requirements under the ‘Literature’ requirement, while others do so under the ‘People and Society’ requirement. These are as follows:

CLA 220 Greek and Roman Mythology
CLA 223 The Ancient World on Screen
CLA 224 The Heroic Journey
CLA 246 Classical Rhetorical Theory
CLA 310 Survey of Ancient Greek Literature and Culture
CLA 311 Survey of Classical Latin Literature and Culture
CLA 315 The Classical Epic Tradition
CLA 340 Greek Tragedy

CLA 221 Sports & Society in the Ancient World
CLA 222 Sexuality and Gender in the Ancient World
CLA 232 Ancient Law
CLA 233 Ancient Medicine
CLA 241 Greek Civilization
CLA 242 Roman Civilization
CLA 301 Ancient Greece
CLA 302 The Hellenistic Age
CLA 303 The Roman Republic
CLA 304 The Roman Empire
CLA 323 The Ancient World on Screen
CLA 325 The Vampire in Folklore, Fiction, and Film
CLA 370 Self and Other in the Ancient World


Some Classics Majors may qualify to graduate with Departmental Honors in Classics. In order to earn Departmental Honors, the student must maintain a minimum average of 3.5 in all Classics courses (those labeled CLA, GRE, and LAT), plus an overall minimum GPA of 3.5. In addition, they must complete CLA 495 and CLA 496 with a grade of B or higher.
In addition, Classics Majors, Classics Minors, and other students who meet certain academic criteria are eligible for membership in Eta Sigma Phi, the National Honors Society for Classics.