Skip to Main Content

The University of Tennessee

Undergraduate Academic Programs

Frequently Used Tools:


Classics Major Guide for 2010-2011

What is Classics

Classics is the study of the languages, literatures, and cultures of Greek and Roman Antiquity from the beginnings in the Aegean Bronze Age through the fall of Rome. These are the cultures which give us the “Western” traditions of constitutional government, private property, freedom to dissent, open markets, civilian control of the military, and faith in the average citizen. Classical authors include Homer and Plato, Cicero and Vergil, writers who can tell us much about the human condition both in antiquity and today.

The Department of Classics offers major concentrations in Greek, Latin and Classical Civilization. The concentrations in Greek and Latin include the study of the languages and literatures of classical Greece and Rome and selected courses in aspects of Classical Civilization. The concentration in classical civilization offers a thorough study of classical mythology, civilization, art, and architecture without requiring knowledge of Greek and Latin.

Career Opportunities in Classics

Classical language majors may become high school teachers or may go on to a Ph.D. to become university faculty. Classical Civilization majors choose a variety of career paths outside academics or continue for a Ph.D. in archaeology or another field related to the Classical world.  Both classical language and classical civilization majors will have a strong liberal arts degree.  All three concentrations provides excellent background for careers in business, law, medicine, and museum archiving and curatoring. Training in Classics provides a broad, humane cultural perspective, and the ability to read with understanding, write with precision, think with clarity, and speak effectively. Many employers find these qualities attractive.

Salary Trends in Classics

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary.

High School Preparation

While no high school preparation is necessary for a Classics major, the study of at least two years of Latin in high school makes for more efficient completion of any of the three concentrations in the major, Greek, Latin, or Classical Civilization.

How to Major in Classics

Please call Dr. Elizabeth Sutherland in the Classics Department, (865) 974­-5383, so that we can arrange to meet with you, welcome you to the program, and arrange for your advising.

Requirements for Classics

The major consists of 27 hours, and has no prerequisites or progression requirements. It is completed in one of three concentrations:

Note: Students are encouraged to satisfy the foreign language requirement with Greek or Latin.
1) Classics 201 Introduction to Classical Civilization
2) Nine hours selected from any Classics course numbered 200 or above (excluding Classics 273). 
3) Fifteen hours chosen from the following: Greek 261 Intermediate Greek: Grammar Review and Readings and 264 Intermediate Greek: Epic Poetry; Latin 251 Intermediate Latin I and 252 Intermediate Latin II; any Classics course numbered above 300; History 382 Ancient Near Eastern Civilization, History 400 History and Archaeology of Mesopotamia, and Philosophy 320 Ancient Western Philosophy

II) GREEK Requirements:
1) Eighteen hours of Greek language courses numbered above 200
2) Nine hours selected from the following: any courses in the Classics Department numbered above 200 (other than Classics 201 and 273); History 382 Ancient Near Civilization, History 400 History and Arcaeology of Mesopotamia, and Philosophy 320 Ancient Western Philosophy

III) LATIN Requirements:
1) Eighteen hours of Latin language courses numbered above 200
2) Nine hours selected from the following: any courses in the Classics Department numbered above 200 (other than Classics 201 and 273); History 382 Ancient Near Civilization, History 400 History and Archaeology of Mesopotamia, and Philosophy 320 Ancient Western Philosophy

The Department of Classics also offers an Honors major in each of the three concentrations.  Please contact the department if you have questions about these or any of our other programs.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The department offers several opportunities for study and travel in the classical countries, including an archaeological dig on the Greek mainland.  Through the Haines-Morris Endowment, the department has its own strong scholarship program, including scholarships for foreign study.

Highlights of Classics

The Classics Department has a faculty of distinguished research scholars who are also award-winning teachers and advisors, and who are committed to working with undergraduates. The undergraduate Classics Club is an officially recognized (and fun!) student organization.
Through the Rutledge Memorial Lecture Fund and the Haines-Morris Endowment, the department every year brings to campus some of the most distinguished and interesting classicists from this country and abroad. The Classics Department is well connected both with the American Academy in Rome and with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and provides opportunities and funding for students to study in Italy and Greece. For many years, the department has been able to give selected students first-hand experience at an active archaeological dig. The department also helps support a vigorous local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

"Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. 
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office web site ( for information on study abroad opportunities.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Classics 111, 112 (Latin) or Classics 121, 121 (Greek) 8
Natural Science Lab Sequence 8
Quantitative Reasoning 6-8
Social Sciences 3

Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Non-US History Sequence 6
Natural Science 3
Classics 251, 252 (Latin) or Classics 261, 264 (Greek) 6
Classics 221 or 222 (Humanities B) 3
Arts and Humanities A, B, or C 3
Social Sciences 9

Junior Year Credit Hours
Classics 253 (Humanities A) 3
Classics (major) 6
Upper Level Distribution 6
Upper Division Electives 12
Communicating Orally 3

Senior Year Credit Hours
Classics (major- 300-400 level) 9
Communicating Through Writing 3
Upper Division Electives 15
Elective 0-2

GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Dr. Elizabeth Sutherland
Dept. of Classics
101 MClung Tower
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-0413
phone 865-974-5383



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.