Classical Studies Majors Guide

What Is Classical Studies?

One thing that strikes classical studies students when they start reading the works of ancient philosophers and storytellers is how little human society has changed over the centuries. The same theories proposed by great minds such as Socrates, Plato, and Cicero are still applicable in the world we know. Homer gave us poetry we can still thrill to, Sophocles gave us drama we can still empathize with, and Aristotle gave us philosophy we can still apply.

In ancient Greek culture, students were taught philosophy, mathematics, rhetoric, government and history. The Greeks and Romans studied the nature and origins of languages and then developed theories on how to use the structure of language for the benefit of society. What can you say and how can you say it to convince the masses to work together on building a more successful, efficient society that promotes the well-being of all?

An Arts & Humanities degrees in classical studies degree program explores the ancient Greek and Latin languages; ancient history (political, social and cultural); and ancient myth, religion, mythology, philosophy and literature. This ancient knowledge is the foundation of many academic disciplines like linguistics, archaeology, philosophy, fine arts, sociology, politics, communications and law.

Online Classical Studies Degree Programs

Delve into ancient history with a unique online degree program in classical studies. Liberal Arts and Humanities program in classical studies cover elements of ancient Greek and Roman politics, language, and culture, including visual and performing arts, ancient myth, and literature. Choose among the following popular degree distinctions:

  • Latin and Roman studies
  • Classical civilization
  • Classical studies

Classics majors are popular at all levels, from the broad-based bachelor’s degree to the specialized and intensive PhD. Your career goals and existing education will help determine the exact classical studies degree you choose.

Classical Studies Degree Coursework

Coursework in a classical studies degree program will depend on the degree level and exact major you’re pursuing. Expect to see the following general categories in your education:

  • Greek and Latin languages
  • ancient history (political, social and cultural)
  • ancient myth and religion
  • philosophy and literature in translation

Students at the doctoral level will have more freedom to research and study within their classical study interests. At the undergraduate level, students should expect a broad base of study.

Career Education in Classical Studies

A bachelor of arts (BA) in classical studies is an excellent starting point for any of the humanities or liberal arts specialties that originated from the original classical disciplines. Although there are very few “classics” careers, a BA may be sufficient academic training for a variety of careers in the arts, government and politics, communications, and business — positions that require a broad-based education in human institutions. Online college courses in classics focus on the languages, religion and myth, philosophy or literary works such as poetry, theatrical pieces and philosophical papers.

If you decide to pursue a career in the social sciences — such as anthropology, archeology, geography, history, political science or sociology — you’ll find the educational standards are among the highest of all occupations. A bachelor’s degree may not be enough to earn a professional position in most social science occupations. Bachelor’s-level graduates may still be able to earn various entry-level jobs, such as research assistant or administrative aide. With the addition of a teaching license, social science graduates may qualify for teaching positions in secondary and elementary schools.

What a bachelor’s degree is really useful for is as a stepping stone to earning a graduate degree. Graduates with master’s degrees in applied social science specialties usually have more job opportunities with the potential for higher wages, although the situation varies by field. A doctorate degree is the minimum requirement for most teaching positions in colleges and universities, and is important for advancement to many nonacademic research and administrative leadership roles.

Training in statistics and mathematics is essential for many social scientists. Mathematical and quantitative research methods are increasingly used in geography, political science, and other fields. The ability to utilize computers for research purposes is mandatory in most disciplines. Most geographers must also be familiar with GIS (geographic information system) technology.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Classical Studies?

Career Specializations within Classical Studies

Professionals in the social sciences conduct research to help us understand different ways in which individuals and groups make decisions, exercise power, and respond to change. Interviews and surveys are widely used to collect facts, opinions, or other information. Through study and analysis, social scientists suggest solutions to social, business, personal, governmental, and environmental problems.

Depending on the job, social scientists may need a wide range of personal characteristics. You need intellectual curiosity and creativity, because you’re constantly seeking new information about people, things, and ideas. Objectivity, open-mindedness, and systematic work habits are important in all kinds of social science research. The ability to think logically and methodically is important to a political scientist, for example, to compare the merits of various forms of government. Perseverance is essential for an anthropologist, who might spend years accumulating artifacts from an ancient (or contemporary) civilization. Excellent written and oral communication skills are necessary for all these professionals.

Here are some examples of careers you can pursue with a Classical Studies foundation and extra educational credentials:

  • Anthropologists and sociologists often find opportunities to perform policy research for consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and social service agencies in such areas as crime, ethnic conflict, public health, and refugee policy. They can also work in product development, marketing, advertising, and in human resources, focusing on conflict resolution and issues relating to workforce diversity.
  • As construction projects increase, archaeologists are needed to perform preliminary excavations in order to preserve historical artifacts. Geographers advise government, real-estate developers, utilities, and telecommunications firms on where to build new roads, buildings, power plants, and cable lines; and on environmental matters, such as where to build a landfill or preservation of wetland habitats. As the use of GIS technology expands, geographers can find numerous job opportunities applying the technology in non-traditional areas, such as emergency assistance to track locations of ambulances, police, and fire rescue units, and in homeland security and defense.
  • Historians and political scientists also find jobs in policy or research. Historians may find opportunities with historic preservation societies, as public interest in preserving and restoring historical sites increases. Political scientists utilize their knowledge of political institutions to further the interests of nonprofit, political lobbying, foreign relations, immigration, and social organizations. Most positions require at least a master’s degree. Philosophers generally seek a PhD in order to teach at the college and university level.

Our Partner Listings