Classical Studies Degree Program Overviews

Oct 14, 2019

Classical studies, also known as classical civilization, is a branch of the humanities that focuses on the ancient Mediterranean world. Degree programs in the classics usually focus on Greek and Roman culture during the age of classical antiquity, from 600 BCE until 600 CE.

Essential Information

Students interested in classical studies can enroll in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Bachelor's degree students get a general overview of this field of study, looking at all aspects of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, including languages. At the master's and doctoral levels, students generally choose an area of interest on which to focus their research.

Students who wish to enroll in a graduate program in classical studies usually must have a bachelor's degree in a related field and a GPA of at least 3.0. Some doctoral programs require the completion of a master's degree as well. However, some schools do offer joint master's and doctoral degree programs.

In order to enroll in a doctoral program in classical studies, students typically undergo a series of tests that must be completed proving proficiency in Latin and Greek languages. Doctoral students must also propose, research, write and submit a dissertation for review as part of their program.

Bachelor's Degree in Classical Studies

Students in classical studies learn about ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, literature, religion, culture, architecture and art. In the fourth year of most programs, students usually choose a specific area of interest, such as Greek epic literature or Aegean archaeology. By the time a student graduates, they are expected to have a working knowledge of both Greek and Latin language. Coursework in a typical bachelor's degree program in classical studies is divided evenly between Greek and Latin studies.

A few examples of courses include:

  • Ancient Greek mythology
  • Introduction to Latin
  • Introduction to Greek
  • Works of Plato and Aristotle
  • Greek tragedy and comedy

Master's Degree in Classical Studies

A master's degree program in classical studies is a blend of Greek and Latin language study, archaeology and ancient cultural analysis. Students choose a specialized area of interest and typically must complete a thesis.

A few of the subjects a student can expect to study are:

  • Advanced Greek
  • Advanced Latin
  • Greek and Latin literature
  • Roman historians
  • Latin palaeography or epigraphy

Doctoral Degree in Classical Studies

In many doctoral programs in classical studies, the coursework is determined largely by a student's individual area of expertise. There are also often a number of seminars students are expected to attend.

A few class topics one might encounter include:

  • Julius Caesar
  • Medieval Latin
  • Aegean archaeology and art
  • Roman letters
  • Greek rhetoric

Popular Careers

Many graduates holding a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies choose to continue their education in a graduate program. It is quite common for graduates to pursue careers in academia. However, there are other careers related to classical studies to choose from. A few examples are:

  • Linguist
  • Sociologist
  • Researcher
  • Archaeologist
  • Classical Greek historian
  • Archivist

Employment Outlook

Postsecondary academia is a very common career choice for graduates with a doctorate in classical studies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an 11% growth in postsecondary teaching positions during the 2018-2028 decade ( The BLS also reported a median salary of $78,470 for postsecondary teachers, as of May 2018.

Regardless of level, programs in classical studies emphasize the study of Greek and Latin, in addition to history, literature, and archaeology. While most graduates pursue careers in academia, others possible fields include linguistics or sociology.

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