Top 6 classics programs in the world
Studying classics is not always the most common path students choose at the university level. Classics or classical studies is the study of antiquity. It encompasses the study of the Greco-Roman world, particularly of its languages and literature (Ancient Greek and Classical Latin) but also of Greco-Roman philosophy, history, and archaeology.
Studying this obscure major can provide you with many of the transferable skills employers love. To name just one, you’ll have learned how to discuss and argue logically about different topics, a skill particularly valuable for careers in industries such as the civil service, journalism and law.
There are a wide-range of career opportunities for Classics majors. Below we have listed the top six schools around the world that provide students with unmatched educational opportunities for pursuing a degree in classics. Watch the full video on our YouTube channel for more shots of each university that tops our list.
Interested in majoring in English and Literature? Check out the best universities around the world for studying English and Literature.
1. Sapienza University of Rome
The Department of Classics at Sapienza, which took its present form in July 2010, spans across 25 distinct areas of research which between them cover not only Ancient Greece and Rome, but also Ancient Africa and the Near and Far East from prehistoric times to the Medieval period. At both the undergraduate and graduate level, the university offers courses on Greek and Latin language, ancient history, literature, philology, archaeology, epigraphy, the classical tradition, topography and ancient art - making it one of the most important centres for classical studies in the world.
The Department also has its own prestigious journal, and coordinates archaeological projects internationally, in Europe, Africa and the Near and Far East. It boasts four museums, including the Museum of Classical Art - founded in 1892 and located within the Faculty of Letters -which houses well over a thousand casts of classical sculptures.
The Department is divided into three key research areas:
- Greek and Latin Philology
- History, Epigraphy and Topography (East and Ancient Mediterranean)
2. University of Oxford
The traditional picture of research in Classics is of scholars working alone in a library; a great deal of such research continues to take place, of course, but alongside this at Oxford is a collaborative project of opening up fresh areas of study and making possible a new range of international and interdisciplinary contacts.
Oxford has long been a leading centre of classical research. with focuses in Reception and Performance, Literature and History, Religion as well as Language and Philosophy. Research centers at Oxford have been devoted to Greek and Roman Drama, Ancient Documents, Classic Art, and Byzantine Research.
3. University of Cambridge
Cambridge is a wonderful place to study Classics, with a world-renowned set of specialists, and unique resources such as the Faculty's own Museum of Classical Archaeology and the Fitzwilliam Museum's Department of Antiquities.
It also makes graduates highly marketable. In the Guardian's last two University Guides to Classics, Cambridge came top in the country overall and for 'Career Prospects'.
Cambridge offers two undergraduate courses — a three-year one for those with an A-level or equivalent in Latin, and a four-year one for those without. The two courses are equally rich and stimulating, reflecting the wide-ranging nature of the subject.
Study of Latin and Greek language and literature is central to each, but on top of that you can choose from a range of aspects including ancient history, art and archaeology, linguistics, ancient philosophy, and modern responses to classical antiquity, to tailor your own curriculum. There are also a number of opportunities to travel for study trips or archaeological digs.
4. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, or LMU Munich
Founded in 1492, The Institute of Ancient History at LMU Munich is one of the largest centers of teaching and research in Ancient History in Germany AND worldwide. The department has 3 full chairs, 3 tenured professorships, 4 academic assistantships, and 2 secretaries.
At LMU Munich, Ancient History is studied starting at the 1st appearance of written sources in Egypt and Southern Iraq during the late 4th millennium BCE. The department has increasingly shifted its research interests in recent years, moving away from traditional areas of interest, such as the history of events and constitutional history, and towards other promising areas. These include cultural, social, and economic history, the history of mentalities and everyday life, as well as regional studies.
The Institute further focuses on the Digital Humanities, especially on creating and updating an online corpus of texts, the "Ancient Records of Middle Eastern Polities".
5. Harvard University
At Harvard you are able to study classics as a concentration (i.e. "major") in one of the following tracks:
- Classical Languages and Literatures
- Classical Civilizations
- Classics as one half of a Joint Concentration
- Joint Concentration in Ancient History (Greek and Roman)
- With another field as coordinated by the student
- Classical Civilizations as a Secondary Field (i.e. "minor")
- Language Citation in either Latin, Ancient Greek, or Modern Greek
Most of the concentrators at Harvard pursue non-academic careers; a Classics concentration has proved rewarding for students who have gone on to careers in law, medicine, divinity, journalism, business, and the arts.
6. Princeton University
In the Classics department at Princeton University, students engage with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome to better understand how classical antiquity has shaped and continues to shape the present. They are also able to build a wide range of intellectual and practical skills: how to make sense of and learn from foreign languages and distant cultures; how to analyze an argument, to interrogate a long-standing assumption, to see the ancient roots of contemporary concepts; how to develop, communicate, and defend their ideas.
Classics students at Princeton have gone on to flourish in a range of professional fields, including law, medicine, publishing, public affairs, finance, teaching, and non-profit work. Those interested in becoming professional classicists have gone on to top graduate programs and been awarded national and international fellowships
Variety of tracks are available, depending on the specific lens students want to use to examine the classics.
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