BA in Ancient Greek & Latin

Some of the most influential writers in the history of Western civilization arose from the world of ancient Greece, including Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, and Thucydides. The Latin language also has an extremely long and influential literary history, its practitioners including such seminal writers as Cicero, Caesar, Catullus, Vergil, Livy, and Tacitus. The linguistic importance of Latin continues in modern times, as the source of the Romance languages (e.g., Italian, French, and Spanish) and of more than 50% of English words.

Students majoring in Ancient Greek & Latin learn to read key works of classical antiquity in their original languages, acquiring advanced skills in grammar and linguistic analysis. They also learn to explore and discuss orally and in writing the meaning of texts through study of genre, style, cultural context, and the place of individual works in the literary and cultural history of the ancient world. Study of Ancient Greek and Latin provides the necessary training for graduate work in Classics; is an excellent foundation for students wishing to pursue further studies in classical archaeology, philosophy, history, religion and theology, and other humanistic disciplines; and is a good foundation for law school or medical school.

Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in Ancient Greek and Latin should be able to:

  • Demonstrate broad understanding of the history and culture of ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Demonstrate sufficient understanding of the vocabulary, morphology, and syntax of Latin and/or Ancient Greek to read standard works of the classical period accurately.
  • Acquire the skills necessary to use dictionaries, grammars, and other resources that aid the reading and understanding of Latin and/or Ancient Greek texts.
  • Demonstrate, in their reading of Latin and/or Ancient Greek, an understanding of genre, style, cultural context, and the place of the text within the literary history of the ancient world.
  • Communicate clearly and persuasively, both orally and in writing, ideas about Latin and/or Ancient Greek literary texts.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Ancient Greek & Latin will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy most BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic & Historical Interpretation and the Intellectual Toolkit, as well as some requirements in Scientific and Social Inquiry. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Ancient Greek & Latin majors will also satisfy College of Arts & Sciences requirements, including the CAS Second Language Requirement, described here.

A major in Ancient Greek & Latin requires a minimum of ten 4-credit courses*. The requirements are as follows:

  • CAS CL 101 or CAS CL 321 or CAS CG 101
  • CAS CL 102 or CAS CL 322
  • Four courses in one of the two CAS classical languages (Ancient Greek or Latin) above the 100 level
  • Three courses in the other classical language above the 100 level
  • One additional classical studies course, at the 400 level or higher, in either a classical language or a topic in classical civilization or history

With the permission of the faculty advisor, one course from the offerings under Classical Civilization* may be counted toward this major.


*Required courses are divided into four categories: classical civilization (works read in translation), Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, and Latin. Refer to the Classical Studies programs section of this Bulletin for the full list of courses and their categories that may be used to fulfill the requirements stated above and for information on the CAS foreign language requirement for classics majors and minors.

Honors in the Major

The department encourages work toward graduation with Honors in the Major. For students wishing to complete a written honors project, the primary requirement is successful completion of a two-semester program of directed research and writing in their senior year, culminating in an honors thesis and oral defense with a minimum of two examiners. The thesis should exhibit knowledge of primary and secondary sources, with bibliography (if a research paper), or the equivalent at the discretion of the readers, and ordinarily it should not exceed 10,000 words. For students completing a written honors project, the submission of a detailed outline by the end of the fall semester is also required. With advisor approval, students majoring in Ancient Greek & Latin may choose a two-semester program of directed research and writing or fulfill the requirement for honors through graduate courses, including at least one seminar course and one course with a substantial research component.

In order to qualify for an honors track, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a department GPA of no less than 3.4, must submit an application to their faculty project advisor in the spring of their junior year, and must have approval from the director of undergraduate studies and department chair.