University of South Carolina


Classics: What to Expect

As a Classics major at the University of South Carolina, you will learn from a faculty of distinguished scholars who teach small major-specific classes and can give you a high degree of individual attention and mentoring. The Classics program is situated in the context of a major research university which provides wider connections to many other disciplines including a nationally-ranked Comparative Literature graduate program, an innovative interdisciplinary group which studies Classics in contemporary perspective, a strong history department, and exposure to international scholarships in the form of conferences. You will develop important skills including precision, analysis, awareness of cultures other than your own, historical perspective, and an improvement of written and oral expression in English. As a Classics major, you will choose a concentration in ancient Greek, Latin, or Classical Studies.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Classics:

  • Latin Concentration: 18 hours in Latin courses level 300 or above and 6 hours in Greek courses level 300 or above
  • Greek Concentration: 18 hours in Greek courses level 300 or above and 6 hours in Latin courses level 300 or above
  • Classical Studies Concentration:
    • 6 hours from Greek or Latin courses level 300 or above
    • Classical Mythology
    • Greek and Latin Literature in Translation or Great Books of the Western World I
    • 3 hours from Greek History and Civilization to 146 B.C.; The History of Rome, 753-27 B.C.; or The Roman Empire, 27 B.C. – 480 A.D.
    • 6 hours of Program Electives

On average, there is an 8 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific language courses including Greek and Latin. There is a 40 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific Classic-in-Translation courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. Classics majors have studied abroad in a variety of locations including Greece, Italy, France, Germany, China, Russia, Spain, and Costa Rica. Students have also been a part of study abroad programs such as College Year in Athens. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many Classics majors go on to pursue a Ph.D. in Classics, a Ph.D. in ancient history, or a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. Many graduates may also go on to pursue a graduate degree in religious studies, philosophy, or history. Law school is also a popular choice for Classics majors.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. As a Classics major you will have the opportunity to compete through class performance for the Irvine F. Belser Award in Classics and the Robert F. W. Alston Award in Ancient Languages. The Department of Language, Literatures & Cultures offers additional scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Students in the Undergraduate Foreign Language Teacher Certification Program in Latin get hands-on experience through supervised teacher-training. Classics majors at the University have had a wide range of exciting and unique research opportunities. Magellan Grants have furnished opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research. One Classics major at the University produced an edition of a work by a late-antique Greek mathematician.

Student Spotlight

Janet Safford received a Magellan grant to work on a transcription and collation of a codex of Pappus Alexandria while at the University of South Carolina. Janet worked with Dr. Heike Sefrin-Weis during her very unique research experience. “Dr. Sefrin-Weis was incredibly patient with me and spent hours helping me learn to read a cursive type of Greek handwriting that looks nothing like what textbook Greek does,” she said. Janet spent a few hours every day transcribing an 80-page codex. She then took her transcription of the Vatican Pappus Codex and collated (compared every single word and quill stroke) it to another manuscript of Pappus to see where they had variations. Janet learned important skills that can be used in her future endeavors. “I learned how to collate manuscripts and how to read virtually any type of ancient Greek handwriting,” she said. “Because of my training, I get to join the dialogue of scholars who argue whether a change [in a manuscript] was accidental or had a theological agenda.” Janet offers advice for current Classics majors who are interested in getting research experience. “Instead of looking for a research experience, look for a professor who is passionate about the same weird subject you are,” she said. “Find time to talk about this common interest and explore what has not been done or adequately researched in your field. Mention to this professor that USC has grant money available to students who want to pursue research and have a mentor who will help to oversee this task.”

Career Opportunities

Classics majors often pursue careers teaching Latin. The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures offers an Undergraduate Foreign Language Teacher Certification Program in Latin. Many classic majors also go on to pursue graduate degrees.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of South Carolina focuses on the teaching of foreign languages, their associated literatures, and global culture. Students learn from native speakers, benefit from innovative web based programs where they interact directly with their peers in other countries, and study with professors who have written the books they use in courses. The department offers undergraduate majors in Classics, Comparative Literature, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Undergraduate Foreign Language Teaching Certification Program is also offered in French, German, Latin and Spanish. The department is home to internationally known scholars in language acquisition, children’s literature, Chinese, Classics, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic. The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is one of the largest and most active in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Points of Pride

  • The Comparative Literature Faculty is ranked 10th in the nation in research productivity.
  • The department is home of the Confucius Institute, a center for the study and teaching of Chinese language and culture affiliated with the Beijing Language Cultural University.
  • Russian major William Brown was recently award a prestigious Boren Scholarship.
  • Professor Nicholas Vazsonyi in German is an internationally renowned Wagner scholar who has lectured at the Kennedy Center and whose recent book was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal.

Additional Resources
Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Website
College of Arts and Sciences Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin