BA in Latin
Latin majors acquire the ability to read, analyze, and discuss standard works in Latin, a language with an extremely long surviving literary history, from the 3rd century BCE to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and even into the early modern period, when it continued to be used in fields such as law, philosophy, and theology. Its practitioners include writers of key importance to the humanistic tradition, such as Cicero, Caesar, Catullus, Vergil, Livy, and Tacitus, and its linguistic importance continues as the source of the Romance languages (e.g., Italian, French, and Spanish) and of more than 50% of words in English.
Study of Latin prepares students to enter into MA programs in Latin and Medieval Studies and MAT programs in Latin. It is an excellent foundation for students wishing to pursue further studies in classical archaeology, history, religion and theology, and other humanistic disciplines, and it also provides a solid foundation for law school or medical school.
Students majoring in Latin should be able to:
- Demonstrate broad understanding of the history and culture of ancient Rome.
- Demonstrate sufficient understanding of the vocabulary, morphology, and syntax of Latin 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 texts.
- Demonstrate, in their reading of Latin, 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 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 Latin will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy most BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic & Historical Interpretation, as well as of the requirements in Scientific and Social Inquiry, and the Intellectual Toolkit. 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.
Latin majors will also satisfy College of Arts & Sciences requirements, including the CAS Second Language Requirement, described here.
A major in Latin requires a minimum of ten 4-credit courses*. The requirements are as follows:
- CAS CL 102 or CAS CL 322
- Eight courses from the offerings under Latin above CAS CL 112 or CAS CL 115
- One additional 4-credit 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, two courses from the Classical Civilization offerings* 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 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 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 any of these honors tracks, 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.