What Is Classics?

Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilization in all its aspects: languages, literature, art, archaeology, history, and culture. At LMU, Classics majors come to understand the literary and cultural foundations of Western societies by exploring the roots of these foundations in the ancient Greek and Roman traditions. The major prepares students to contextualize in the modern world the immense achievements of the past.

Classics is a highly interdisciplinary major that draws on courses in philosophy, theological studies, history and theater. The curriculum involves the study of literary works that open doors to the worlds of art, architecture, history, philosophy, and religion.


What Do Classics Majors Do?

Classics majors study Greek and Latin literature and language. Through the works of Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Cicero, Virgil, Augustine and other great writers of the classical era, students are introduced to ideas that shape our way of looking at the world even today, and are exposed to the origins of democracy, technology and civilization itself.

Students critically analyze these works, placing the stories in ancient and modern social and historical contexts. Classics majors learn to master the grammar and syntax of ancient Greek and Latin, and read at an advanced level.

Students may also explore the material world of ancient civilizations. Courses on the archaeology and archaeological conservation of the Near East and Mediterranean worlds allow students to engage in hands-on study of artifacts from ancient civilizations.

The study of Classics is a good way to learn to communicate articulately, thoughtfully and effectively. This area of study also teaches students to think critically and develop good analytic skills.


Is This Major Right For You?

You might be a Classics major if you:

  • Are thinking of a legal or medical career
  • Enjoy learning about origins
  • Are passionate about language
  • Like history
  • Like mythology


About Our Faculty

Our faculty members are experts in fields such as Greek drama, mythology, the oral tradition, archaeology, Near Eastern languages and cultures, Roman history, women in classical antiquities and Medieval Latin. Faculty members are authors of highly regarded articles and books involving the worlds of ancient Greek and Rome.


About Our Students and Graduates

Our students benefit from LMU’s relationships with UCLA and other educational institutions, as well cultural institutions such as The Getty and Skirball Museum. LMU is part of a consortium offering students the chance to participate in excavations in Italy, Israel-Palestine, Syria, and Jordan

Students who intend to pursue careers in medicine or the law should know that a great deal of the vocabulary and concepts encountered in these two professions comes from Greek and Latin. The major is also useful to students planning careers in writing, communications or education, or those who intend to take graduate school examinations. One half of the English language has its roots in Latin, and one quarter has its roots in Greek.


Representative Courses

Our offered courses have included:

  • Elementary Latin
  • Foundations of Western Civilization to 1500
  • Elementary Greek
  • Cicero
  • Virgil
  • Greek Orators
  • Greek Philosophy
  • Homer
  • Ancient Comedy
  • Art and Architecture of Ancient Rome
  • The Ancient World on Film
  • Roman Satire
  • Rapid Readings in Sanskrit
  • Archeology and the Bible
  • Independent Studies


More Resources (Links)