Majoring in Classics

Majoring in Classics

The maidens of Acropolis gaze over the ancient cityA common question that we frequently hear from students is, "Can I complete a major in the Classics Department if I have had no Greek or Latin in high school?"

The answer is: "Of course!"

Previous high school coursework is not necessary: students who begin to study Greek or Latin in their first or second year at CU can certainly finish the major requirements by the end of their senior year, particularly if they take an accelerated introductory course.

What can I do with a major in Classics, Greek, or Latin?

Many of our majors go on to graduate school in Classics, Archaeology, English, History, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Information Science, or Museum Studies. Alumni who began their careers as Classics majors have also gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and administrators, members of the diplomatic service, engineers, businesswomen and men, and entrepreneurs of all types. Undergraduates interested in law or medicine will be especially pleased to discover that law schools and medical schools have a long history of accepting Classics students. You will leave Boulder with a good education because you have learned not only to pay attention to detail and to memorize facts but also to analyze and interpret; because, through your study of Latin and Greek, your knowledge of language and its use will be vastly improved; and because you have pondered the irrational, noble, corrupt, idealistic, mundane, and creative qualities that characterize the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome to world culture.

Major Requirements

Ancient pyramid CestiusYou have several options for organizing your studies, so you should consult Prof. Elspeth Dusinberre (elspeth.dusinberre@colorado.edu), the current Undergraduate Faculty Advisor in the Classics Department before embarking on your career as a Classics major.

Please note that you are also subject to the College of Arts and Sciences degree and major requirements (including the Core Curriculum, with the exception of the Literature and the Arts Content Area, from which Classics majors are exempt) outlined in the university catalog. These college requirements include:

120 hours passed: anything beyond 45 hours in the major field will not count toward this 120 hour total. Nevertheless, A&S does not consider introductory language courses (CLAS 1013, 1023, 1014, 1024) as part of the 45 hours in the major because, at least in the first instance, they cannot be used for credit in the major.

  • 45 hours of upper division credit in A&S
  • A minimum of 18 hours of upper division credit in the major
  • A minimum of 36 hours at C- or better in all courses for the major
  • 2.00 GPA or better in the major
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or better

There are three different tracks: 

Greek / Latin

Literature, Culture & Thought

History, Art & Archaeology

Students who enter CU with an already strong knowledge of Latin or Greek may be eligible to pursue a five-year concurrent bachelor's/master's degree (BA/MA).  Here is a guide to the concurrent degree program; for more information contact the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.

Note: For purposes of the four-year guarantee in the College of Arts and Sciences (see the university catalog), the Classics Department defines adequate progress as follows: "Students wishing to graduate in four years must declare the Classics major and begin course work in the major by the third semester. They must also successfully complete 1/3 of the hour requirements for the major by the end of the fourth semester and 2/3 of the hour requirements for the major by the end of the sixth semester." The four-year guarantee is not available to those pursuing the Classics major on the language track with only Greek or Latin. A full description of the guarantee is available from the academic advisors in the College of Arts and Sciences.