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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Classical Languages and Literature (CLAS)

College of Arts and Humanities
1210 Marie Mount Hall, 301-405-2013 or -2014
ldoherty@umd.edu (Chair) or fbarrene@umd.edu (UG advisor)
Chair: L. Doherty
Professors: L. Doherty, J. Hallett (Distinguished Scholar-Teacher), G. Staley
Associate Professors: E. Adler
Assistant Professors: F. Barrenechea, J. Bravo
Lecturers: M. Pittas-Herschbach
Affiliate Professors: J. Burton
Affiliate Associate Professors: J. Scholten
Professors Emeriti: H. Lee, S. Rutledge (Assoc Prof Emeritus), E. Stehle
Visiting Faculty: P. Parara (Visit Asst Prof)

The Major

Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronym(s): CLAS, LATN, and 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 express human experience. Latin is a 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 situate 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 and Classics students score among the top in the Analytic Writing 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 medical school and library school.  Latin teachers are in demand and numerous students have found rewarding jobs teaching secondary school, with continued involvement in the Classics community.  Others have gone into business or gotten jobs in (among other fields) professional writing or editing, archival work, academic administration, information technology, or 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 students.  It conducts annual study abroad programs in Italy, Greece, and France. These programs abroad are open to non-majors as well as to Classics majors and minors.  We also host a chapter of the national Classics honor society, Eta Sigma Phi; students are invited to join when they reach the 300 level in either Latin or Greek with a B+ average in the language courses and a B average overall.

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 LATN201 (4 credits) and may not take LATN201 or lower for credit.  For further information, and for placement in Latin or Greek courses, contact the department's undergraduate advisor.  We do not yet have online placement exams for these languages but can place you based on our assessment of your previous course work.  We offer four partial tuition scholarships each year to students who took Latin in high school and who continue their studies at UMCP.

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 (LATN201 or GREK201) 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  
LATNCourses at the 200/300 level 18
LATNCourses 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 
GREKCourses at the 200/300 level 18
GREKCourses 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 
LATNLatin courses 18
GREKGreek courses* 12
GREKGreek courses 18
LATNLatin courses* 12
 Supporting Courses 9
  For example, CLAS170, HIST110, 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 LATN120 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 CLAS409X (capstone seminar), to be taken in the junior or senior year.  As a special exception, either LATN201 or GREK201, 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.

Other Requirements for the Major

Students in the Classical Humanities track should work with their advisor to craft a meaningful set of courses with a focus on some particular aspect of the classical world, such as myth and religion, literature in its historical context, visual and material culture, or classical reception.

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.


The interdisciplinary minor in Archaeology is intended to introduce students to the global importance of archaeology and its value as a mode of scholarly inquiry.

The minor requires a minimum of 15 credits and consists of three elements:

1.    A required 3-credit, 300-level course, Archaeological Methods and Practice, cross-listed as ANTH305, CLAS305, and ARTH305, to be offered once each year.  There is a one-course prerequisite, to be chosen from among the following: ANTH240, CLAS180, ARTH200.

2.    3 to 6 credits in approved courses offering fieldwork experience.  There are many options at UMCP, including historical archaeology courses in ANTH that do not require travel abroad.  Study-abroad programs at other institutions must be approved in advance by a UMCP faculty member with the appropriate specialization.

3.    6 to 9 credits in supporting courses involving subject matter that includes a significant focus on archaeology (in, e.g., ARCH, ANTH, ARTH, CLAS, HIST, JWST, LARC, RELS).  A list of approved courses will be made available to students interested in the minor.  The list will be updated as course offerings change.

Advising will be coordinated in any given year by the faculty member who is teaching the required, cross-listed course.  Contact Prof. Lillian Doherty in the Classics Department for information.

As required for all minors, at least 9 credits overall must be in courses at the 300- or 400-level.  The grade point average in the minor must be at least 2.0 and no grade below "C-" can be counted toward the minor.  A maximum of 6 credits may be counted toward both the minor and the student’s major.  A maximum of 6 credits earned at other institutions may be counted toward the minor.

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:
CLAS170 Greek and Roman Mythology   (3)                                           
CLAS470 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:
CLAS270 Greek Literature in Translation (3)                                          
CLAS271 Roman Literature in Translation (3)                                   
CLAS320 Women in Classical Antiquity (3)                                       
CLAS330 Ancient Greek Religion: Gods, Myths, Temples (3)            
CLAS331 Ancient Roman Religion: From Jupiter to Jesus (3)          
CLAS370 Classical Myths in America (3)                                             
CLAS374 Greek Tragedy in Translation (3)                                           
CLAS419 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:

Latin101 Elementary Latin I (4)                                                             
Latin102 Elementary Latin II (4)                                                             
Latin201 Intermediate Latin (4)
Latin3xx Two reading courses chosen from the following: Plautus, Petronius, Ovid or Horace and Catullus (6)
Latin4xx 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.

Greek Language and Culture

This minor may be earned in EITHER the ancient or the modern Greek language (not a combination).   In completing it, the student will reach an intermediate or advanced level of proficiency in the language and will also be introduced to the history and culture of Greece.

The minor requires 9 to15 credits in ancient OR modern Greek language courses, i.e., courses with the GREK prefix; at least one language course must be at the 300- or 400-level.  All the language courses counted toward the minor must be in either ancient OR modern Greek, not a combination.

The minor also requires 3 to 6 credits in courses taught in English; these may focus on either ancient or modern Greek literature, history, and culture.

As required for all minors, at least 9 credits overall must be in courses at the 300- or 400-level.  The grade point average in the minor must be at least 2.0 and no grade below "C-" can be counted toward the minor. A maximum of 6 credits may be counted toward both the minor and the student's major.  A maximum of 6 credits earned at other institutions may be counted toward the minor.                                 

To make an appointment to explore or declare a minor, contact the department chair, Dr. Lillian Doherty ( ldoherty@umd.edu ).  She will put you in touch with the undergraduate director in Classics.


Departmental advising is mandatory for all majors every semester and is recommended for those seeking minors.

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.  Students may also pursue an interdisciplinary minor in archaeology. Contact Prof. Jorge Bravo ( jbravo@umd.edu ) or Prof. Lillian Doherty ( LDoherty@umd.edu ) for further information.


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 submit abstracts for papers to be presented at regional and national Classics conferences. They can also join the Society for Classical Studies, 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 awards a number of special scholarships and awards, some reserved for Classics majors and others awarded to them in preference. 

For Classics majors only: The Avery Prize is awarded annually to a Latin student of special merit and the Hubbe Prize to a Greek student of special merit.  The Mildred Steyer Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding major in Classics.  The Odyssey scholarships support students who study abroad and other student needs.  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.

Thanks to a generous grant from the National Italian American Foundation, the department now offers a number of full or partial scholarships for its winter term and early summer study abroad programs in Italy.  These scholarships are awarded by preference to students majoring in Classics and related fields.  Summer scholarship money is also available through this grant for student research on the influence of ancient Roman culture in America.

Awards and Recognition

Outstanding students in Greek and Latin 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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