Why Classical Studies?

Whether pursued as a major/minor, graduate degree, or studied as an elective, Classical Studies provides an excellent foundation for a liberal arts education. Some Classical Studies students choose to pursue graduate study in the field, some choose to teach Classics in secondary schools, while others pursue careers in such fields as law, medicine and business. Many students chose to pursue Classics as a complement to another major or field of study, or simply because they have a passion for the subject matter.


Professional Development

The Greek and Latin track in our master’s program is useful for students wishing to pursue further graduate study of the Classics in a doctorate program. Professors who are also published scholars teach students the protocols of academic writing and research, working closely with them in small seminars.

Both the bachelor’s and the master’s programs in Classical Studies are important for those interested in teaching secondary-school Classics. Latin, especially, has regained popularity, and qualified teachers are in demand. The National Committee for Latin and Greek sponsors a National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week in early March each year and The American Classical League posts searchable job openings for the entire United States.

The Classical Studies program offers Latin Teaching Certification in conjunction with the Education and Counseling Department.

Now more than ever, employers and professional schools are attracted to students who have received a rigorous classical education, one that enhances their writing and thinking abilities, their powers of analysis, their breadth of vision, and their problem-solving skills. Having a background in Classics strengthens your resume for graduate and professional work in any area and also enhances your performance on graduate and professional exams.

One of the most important—but most neglected—benefits of a classical education is it helps students develop their own philosophy of life. The classics pose life's central questions with power, concision, and beauty: what is it to be human? what is it that matters most, and how do we best live our lives? The classics help develop our quality of mind and add to our storehouse of wisdom, which one of the seven sages of ancient Greece, Bias of Priene, called the most precious possession we can take on our journey through life.

Many students find Classical Studies to be an excellent option for a double major or a minor, especially since so many of our courses can also count towards the core curriculum requirements. The interdisciplinarity of the Classics, as well as its seminal importance for many disciplines, broadens the vision of students majoring in a host of other fields. Here are just some of the aspects of the classical world which are relevant to other disciplines:

  • Philosophy: the writings of Plato and Aristotle
  • English: influences of the classical world on British writers
  • Theology: the context of the beginnings of Christianity
  • History: the ancient Greek and Roman period
  • Political Science: the beginnings of Greek democracy and law
  • Biology: the Latin and Greek etymology of medical terms
  • Theatre: Greek and Roman tragedy and comedy
  • Art History: classical art and archaeology
  • Engineering: classical architecture

Modern Languages: foundation for Romance languages, comparative linguistics


Classical Studies - Set Yourself Up for Future Success

Hear what The Princeton Review says about majoring in Classical Studies: 

“We can't overestimate the value of a Classics major. Check this out: according to Association of American Medical Colleges, students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science. Crazy, huh? Furthermore, according to Harvard Magazine, Classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school. ... Even furthermore, Classics majors consistently have some of the highest scores on GREs of all undergraduates.”


What Our Alumni Say

Megan Quinn standing in front of the Colosseum

Meghan Quinn '21 MA

"As a teacher taking graduate classes in the evening, Villanova has been very accommodating to my needs. If I am ever required to attend events such as parent-teacher conferences, back-to-school night or a district board meeting, my professors have been very understanding and allow me to conveniently view whatever I missed online. Program director Dr. Valentina DeNardis has made the master’s program a pioneer in in the online/hybrid format, and she has done a superb job in incorporating the most modern technology in such an ancient field of study. I have translated ancient texts with students tuning in from states as far away as Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. At Villanova, I study with the most outstanding professors and students with a passion for the Classics. I highly recommend this program without any reservation."

Jonathan Pohlig '15 MA

"The Villanova graduate program was a perfect fit for me as a full-time teacher. I was able to take two classes a semester during most terms and this really helped me feel like I was making relatively swift progress through the program. I enjoyed all of my classes, but I found the survey courses in both Latin and Greek to be the most enjoyable because of the way these courses concentrated primarily on the texts at hand. The surveys greatly improved my ability to read large chunks of Latin and Greek and I find this skill to be absolutely essential for teaching Classical languages to high school aged students. It is imperative for a teacher of Classics to continue to read authentic texts to sharpen language skills and observe the various ways ideas can be expressed. It is not uncommon for me to bring to my own classroom some of the material from my coursework, and there could be no better indication of utility than that. I found working with Professors Andrew Scott, Alissa Vaillancourt and Valentina DeNardis to be an absolute pleasure. All three are eminently qualified, approachable and run very organized courses."

Classical Studies Program 
SAC Rm 304
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Director of Classical Studies: 
Dr. Valentina DeNardis