The Classics Department

Why Study Classics at VWU?

VWU is an ideal place to study the Classical World:  not only are we just a short drive from Homer's "wine-dark sea" (fronted by a pretty nice beach...), we are also located in close proximity to an excellent museum, opera, and symphony, and are departmental members of the American Philological Association, the national professional organization for Classicists, and were just given official go-ahead to start our own chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national undergraduate honor society for Classics!

A number of historical sites and active archaeological digs, including Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, are within easy striking distance, and VWU is situated in a part of the country which has traditionally offered steady demand for secondary Latin teachers.  With strong related programs in history, religious studies, art history, education, and a range of related disciplines, the Classics Department at VWU could be the right place for you to begin your journey as a teacher, scholar, museum or library specialist, doctor or lawyer, or virtually any other field requiring some knowledge of ancient history and languages.

What do Classicists Study?

Classics is the study of the languages and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, especially of Greece and Rome. By taking courses in Classical Civilization, students understand the richness and diversity of Greek and Roman cultures, while using the ancient world as a laboratory to gain wider perspectives on many elements of modern life that extend all the way back into our common past. Through courses in Latin and Greek languages, students attain a more direct experience of the lives of the ancients in their own living words, while gaining valuable understanding of the roots and usage of English and other modern languages.

Both majors and minors in Latin and in Classical Studies are available for students interested in classics. The interdisciplinary major in Classical Studies offers a general liberal arts experience with only a small amount of required coursework in ancient language. Students seeking a more focused program based in language study may elect the major in Latin. It is not possible for students to major both in Classical Studies and in Latin, but it is possible to combine the major in Latin with the minor in Classical Studies.  Interested in meeting some of our friends and students?  We are Now on Facebook!!




Φόρκυνος δέ τίς ἐστι λιμήν,ἁλίοιο γέροντος, ἐν δήμῳ Ἰθάκης· δύο δὲ προβλῆτες ἐν αὐτῷ ἀκταὶ ἀπορρῶγες, λιμένος πότι πεπτηυῖαι, αἵ τ' ἀνέμων σκεπόωσι δυσαήων μέγα κῦμα ἔκτοθεν· ἔντοσθεν δέ τ' ἄνευ δεσμοῖο μένουσι νῆες ἐΰσσελμοι, ὅτ' ἂν ὅρμου μέτρον ἵκωνται. αὐτὰρ ἐπὶ κρατὸς λιμένος τανύφυλλος ἐλαίη, ἀγχόθι δ' αὐτῆς ἄντρον ἐπήρατον ἠεροειδές, ἱρὸν Νυμφάων, αἳ Νηϊάδες καλέονται.

Odyssey 13.96-104




Opportunities for Money and a Fulfilling Career

Bucknell University has compiled a list of careers to which a major in Classics or Latin can lead you, including some surprising statistics:  according to one study, Classics and Math majors come in tied for highest success rate in Law School, and, in another study, students majoring in Classics in conjunction with a Science had a better rate getting into Med School than those who majored in Bio alone.   See here for more information.  Virginia has also always had a strong market for Latin teachers (see here).


Congratulations to CHRISTINE DAWE and JOSEPH CRAIG, the winners of the 2011 CLASSICAL STUDIES AWARD!!  The Freshman Classics Major prize was awarded to Miss Brittany Smith.

«Some melodious plot of beechen green, and shadows numberless...» (John Keats)

Major(s): Classical Studies, Latin
Classical Studies, Latin