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Undergraduate Catalog 2013-2014

Classics (CLAS)

College of Arts and Humanities
1210 Marie Mount Hall, 301-405-2013
ldoherty@umd.edu (Chair) or jbravo@umd.edu (UG advisor)
Chair: L. Doherty
Professors: L. Doherty, J. Hallett (Distinguished Scholar-Teacher)
Associate Professors: G. Staley
Assistant Professors: F. Barrenechea, J. Bravo
Lecturers: L. De Luca, M. Pittas-Herschbach
Affiliate Professors: J. Burton
Affiliate Associate Professors: J. Scholten
Professors Emeriti: H. Lee
Visiting Faculty: P. Parara (Visit Asst Prof)

The Major

Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronym(s): CLAS, LATN, GREK.

Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman culture in all its aspects. Greek and Roman culture provided the foundation of western culture, including its literature, ideas, art, politics, and conceptions of the individual. Greek myth is still a shared fund of images and narratives that expresses human experience. Latin is the major source of English vocabulary, and Greek provides technical language in many fields. Classics explores all of these aspects through over fifteen hundred years of history. It helps us understand the relationship of western culture to other cultural systems and place ourselves better in the world.

Classics is an intellectually rich and versatile liberal arts major which teaches "core skills", including effective communication, critical thinking, and an appreciation of diversity. Because it is interdisciplinary and holistic, a student of classics gets a three-dimensional view of cultures and literatures that are still major forces today. Studying Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic sharpens understanding of competing philosophical and political ideas. Studying Latin not only develops English vocabulary but makes English grammar comprehensible. Both languages provide excellent analytic training; for instance, classics students score among the top in the analytic section of the GRE exams.

Classics is a pre-professional major for law school or for graduate school in any aspect of the ancient world. Classics majors have also gone on to library school. Latin teachers are in demand; numerous students have found rewarding jobs teaching secondary school, with continued involvement in the classics community. Others have gone into business, worked in educational television, and gotten jobs in the writing or editing fields, in archival work, in special education, or in social services.

Program Objectives

Classics provides students with a liberal arts education:  skills in written and oral use of language, close reading, critical thinking, and the appreciation of art, literature, and culture. The core subject matter of Classics consists of the Greek and Latin languages, the texts originally written in these languages, and the art and material culture of the peoples who spoke them.  The program also studies the reception of these works in modern times and their relevance to us today.

Program Learning Outcomes

Having completed the degree program, students should have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Students must demonstrate the ability to interpret the cultural context of primary sources through a variety of methodological approaches.
  2. Majors who take Latin and Greek are expected to demonstrate some level of language proficiency.
  • Latin majors must be able to read and translate Latin at the advanced level.
  • Latin and Greek majors must be able to read and translate either Latin or Greek at the advanced level and the other language at the intermediate level.
  • Classical Humanities majors must  be able to demonstrate the ability to assess Classical texts in translation or primary evidence through a variety of methodological approaches at the advanced level.

Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities

The Classics Department has its own Classics library as well as a Classics Club for its undergraduate majors.

Admission to the Major

Admission to the major simply requires a meeting with the undergraduate advisor. No prior knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.

Placement in Courses

Students with a score of 4 or 5 in the AP Latin test receive credit for Latin 201 (4 credits) and may not take LATN 201 or lower for credit. For further information, contact the department's undergraduate advisor. 

Requirements for the Major

Requirements for the Classics major include the College of Arts and Humanities requirement of 45 upper-level credits completed.

The College's Global Engagement Requirement will be automatically fulfilled in the process of taking language courses in the Latin, Greek, and Latin and Greek tracks of the major. Students in the Classical Humanities track who elect to study Latin or Greek to the intermediate level (LATN 201 or GREK 201) will also satisfy the Global Engagement Requirement.

No course grade below the grade of C- may count toward the major. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.

  Option A: Latin  
LATN Courses at the 200/300 level 18
LATN Courses at the 400 level or higher 12
  Supporting courses  9-12
  Any level CLAS, GREK, or related fields such as HIST and ARTH  
  Option B: Greek  
GREK Courses at the 200/300 level 18
GREK Courses at the 400 level or higher 12
  Supporting courses  9-12
  Any level CLAS, LATN, or related fields such as HIST and ARTH  
  Option C: Latin and Greek  
LATN Latin courses 18
GREK Greek courses* 12
GREK Greek courses 18
LATN Latin courses* 12
  Supporting Courses 9
  For example, CLAS 170, HIST 110, and a 300- or 400-level course in Greek or Roman history  
  *Students with no previous training in the second language may count introductory level courses as part of the 12-hour requirement.
  Option D: Classics in Translation (Classical Humanities)

I. Foundation Courses - 12 credits at the 100-200 level, at least 6 of which must be in Classics (CLAS courses).*
     *The introductory Latin or Greek sequence (101, 102, and 201), if taken at College Park, fulfills this requirement. If Latin 120 and 201 are taken at College Park, only one additional course at the 100-200 level is required. If no language is taken, four courses in English translation, including at least two in Classics, are required. Students who are capable of working at a higher level may request departmental approval to substitute upper-level courses for some of the introductory credits.

II. Advanced Courses - eight courses at the 300 level or above, of which four must be in Classics and one must be CLAS 409X (capstone seminar), to be taken in the junior or senior year. As a special exception, either LATN 201 or GREK 201, intermediate Latin or Greek, may be counted as one of the advanced courses. Students are still required to fulfill the ARHU requirement of 45 300-400 level credits.

Requirements for the Minor

No course grade below the grade of C- may count toward the minor. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the minor is required for graduation.

Classical Mythology
This minor will introduce students to classical mythology, its uses within ancient Greek and Roman culture, and its subsequent influence on art and literature. The minor requires 15 credits.

Required courses:
CLAS 170 Greek and Roman Mythology   (3)                                           
CLAS 470 Approaches to Greek Myth  (3)
In addition, the student must choose three courses from the following list, two of which must be at the 300 or 400 level:
CLAS 270 Greek Literature in Translation      (3)                                          
CLAS 271 Roman Literature in Translation     (3)                                   
CLAS 320 Women in Classical Antiquity        (3)                                       
CLAS 330 Ancient Greek Religion: Gods, Myths, Temples    (3)            
CLAS 331 Ancient Roman Religion: From Jupiter to Jesus     (3)          
CLAS 370 Classical Myths in America    (3)                                             
CLAS 374 Greek Tragedy in Translation (3)                                           
CLAS 419 The Classical Tradition  (3)
Students interested in pursuing this minor should consult with the Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Classics.


This minor introduces students to the Latin language and enables them to read, in Latin, important works of Latin literature. For students with no prior experience of Latin, the minor requires 21 credits, consisting of the following courses:
Latin 101 Elementary Latin I   (4)                                                             
Latin 102 Elementary Latin II  (4)                                                             
Latin 201 Intermediate Latin    (4)
Latin 3xx Two reading courses chose from the following: Plautus, Petronius, Ovid or Horace and Catullus (6)
Latin 4xx A reading course in a major Latin author  (3)                         

Students who enter with advanced standing in Latin can complete the minor by taking a total of five courses in Latin at the 200 level and beyond. Students interested in pursuing this minor should consult with the Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Classics.


This minor introduces students to ancient Greek and enables them to read, in Greek, important works of Greek literature. This minor requires 21 credits, consisting of the following courses:
Greek 101 Elementary Ancient Greek I     (4)                                          
Greek 102 Elementary Ancient Greek II    (4)                                         
Greek 201 Intermediate Ancient Greek     (4)                                           
Greek 301 Scenes from Athenian Life       (3)                                         
Greek 4xx Either Greek Philosophers, Greek Tragedy, or Homer   (3)                     

A Classics course at the 300 or 400 level such as CLAS 374 (Greek Tragedy) or CLAS 330 (Greek Religion) (3)

Students interested in pursuing this minor should consult with the Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Classics.


Departmental advising is mandatory for all majors every semester.

Undergraduate Research Experiences

The major culminates in a Capstone Course in which students develop and present research which has grown out of their work in the field.  Majors are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research conferences locally and nationally.  The Department enables students to become involved in summer research opportunities and encourages all majors to seek internships.

Fieldwork Opportunities

Classics students have the opportunity to participate in summer archaeological fieldwork through our department and others in the university.


All Classics majors are encouraged to seek internships and there are many opportunities to do so in the Washington area.

Honors Program

Many Classics majors participate in the Honors Humanities program at the university.

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

Eta Sigma Phi is the national undergraduate Honor Society in Classics founded in 1914 at the University of Chicago. The University of Maryland's chapter, Zeta Nu, was established in 1994.  Students are invited to join in the spring semester.  To qualify, a student must be registered in a 300- or 400- level Greek or Latin course, must have at least a B+ average in all language courses, and an overall GPA of B or better. 

Students can also join the American Philological Association, which is the national classics professional organization, and the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, which is our regional classical organization.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

The Classics Department annually awards the Avery Prize to a Latin student of special merit and the Hubbe Prize to a Greek student of special merit.  The Steyer Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding major in Classics.  To honor the memory of Sylvia Gerber, who taught Latin for many years in the Washington, DC public schools, her son Louis has provided the department with funding to support the training of Latin teachers and Latin pedagogical studies, including an undergraduate award for an aspiring Latin teacher.
There are also a varying number (from two to three) of departmental scholarships granted annually to students whose performance and/or commitment to Classics is outstanding. The department's Odyssey scholarships support study abroad and other student needs.

Awards and Recognition

Outstanding students are invited to join Eta Sigma Phi, the national undergraduate Honor Society in Classics (see Student Societies and Professional Organizations above).

The department also annually awards the Avery Prize for excellence in Latin, the Hubbe Prize for excellence in Greek, and the Steyer and Gerber Scholarships (see Scholarships and Financial Assistance above).

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