Undergraduate Program

Studying Classics at WashU

Our majors improve their memories and expand their minds through language work. They strengthen their analytical abilities through critical reading of a wide array of ancient sources, their research ability in projects of many kinds, and their writing and oral presentation skills through numerous methods on a daily basis. Majoring with us provides opportunities to study abroad, assist faculty in research, and pursue independent projects with faculty guidance. In recent years, we have had over forty majors and minors enrolled at once, and sometimes as many as sixty. 

The department’s two major options, Classics and Ancient Studies, are both ideal opportunities to practice and polish the fundamental liberal arts skills while immersed in a fascinating and relevant subject and working closely with a vibrant faculty. The department feels strongly that the study of Greek and Roman civilizations encompasses more than literature alone and does not end with antiquity; rather, there are various aspects of antiquity and they all shed light on one's own time as much as the contemporary world illuminates the past. Accordingly, the student and the advisor will devise an individually planned program which will incorporate the totality of the student's interests in antiquity as well as in subsequent periods and other areas.

Every major completes a capstone experience, a flexible component of the major program that is described on this page.

All Classics and Ancient Studies majors and minors have access to our Undergraduate Study Room, located near faculty offices in Umrath Hall, Room 238. Umrath 238 also houses our department library. Additionally, students can find additional research resources here.

We have been pleased to award many of our most distinguished majors departmental prizes at graduation.

For downloadable content, please see our introduction to the program as well as our informative flyer.

Why Classics?

Professor Timothy Moore shares the joys and practical benefits of majoring in Classics and discusses the many opportunities available to Classics majors at WashU. Alums Joshua Trosch (LA '15) and Sarah Brophy (LA '08) join him to discuss what they've taken away from their studies.

Sophomore scholar of tragedy wins travel award from Office of Undergraduate Research

Sophomore scholar of tragedy wins travel award from Office of Undergraduate Research

Majors & Minors

Classics Major

The major in Classics emphasizes the study of Greek and/or Latin literature read in the original languages. In fulfilling the general requirements for the degree, prospective majors in Classics are urged to select courses in their major and in other departments according to their own interests, abilities, and long-range educational plans.

Visit the Bulletin for major requirements

Ancient Studies Major

The Ancient Studies major emphasizes ancient political, social, and cultural history and material culture; work in one or more ancient languages is recommended but not required.

Visit the Bulletin for major requirements

Classics Minor

The minor in Classics emphasizes the reading of Greek or Latin literature in the original language.

Visit the Bulletin for minor requirements

Ancient Studies Minor

The minor in Ancient Studies emphasizes one or more aspects of antiquity without required study of an ancient language.

Visit the Bulletin for minor requirements

Undergraduate Opportunities

Study Abroad

The Department of Classics recommends strongly that its students study abroad for a semester, a year, or a summer. Most students do so during their junior year. Although Greece and Italy are of obvious interest to students engaged in the study of the Greco-Roman world, other opportunities are available for overseas study.

go overseas

Summer Language Study

Several excellent programs offer intensive courses in Greek or Latin during the summer, allowing students to progress more quickly to advanced study of the language.

browse options


The departmental honors program is open to Classics and Ancient Studies majors with a strong academic record and is particularly recommended for those planning to pursue graduate work.

learn more

Undergraduate Research

The Department of Classics encourages its majors and minors to do research both independently and in cooperation with faculty members. 

consider a research project

Language Placement Exams

Students who have previously studied Latin or Greek can test their skills to be placed appropriately

more info

Join the WashU Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi

The Alpha Xi Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi is the honor society of students of Greek and Latin at Washington University.


Learn More about Eta Sigma Phi
view of Ridgley Hall through the archway of Brookings Hall

Deciding to pursue a second major in Classics was the best decision I made at WashU. As a pre-med with a primary major in Biology, it was very important to me to broaden my interests beyond just the realm of science and medicine, and Classics was the natural choice. Not only did Classics allow me to balance my schedule between science, language, and ancient history, it also gave me a better appreciation for how modern languages, government, cultures, and even medicine evolved from the ancients.

―Lisa DornMD / PhD Candidate, Medical Scientist Training Program, The Ohio State University