There is no prescriptive checklist for identifying a potential Classics major. But if you love language, literature,history, archaeology, philosophy, art, architecture, ethics, politics, law,religion, rhetoric, mythology, psychology, sociology, women’s studies, gender studies, urban studies, and just about anything else, Classics has something to offer you. Classics is an interdisciplinary field, so nearly everyone can find a subject of interest. Our department offers courses in the ancient languages and the ancient cultures, but our majors do require knowledge of one or both of the ancient languages. Latin and Greek provide the bases for about 80% of English, and learning to read them will train you to think carefully and precisely. You will read some of the greatest literature ever written, and study two of the cultures that stand as the foundation of so much of our own. You will also learn to articulate yourself, both in speech and in writing, through coursework, class discussion, and a senior capstone research project. If this sounds appealing to you, then you just may be a Classics major in the making.
The UNC Asheville Classics Department offers three concentrations: Classical Languages and Literatures, Classical Civilization, and Latin with Teacher Licensure. We also offer a classics minor. All programs draw on a common core of material, but their emphases are different, and all aim to give the student as complete a background in Greco-Roman culture as possible. Strong emphasis is placed both on acquiring the linguistic skills necessary to be able to read the ancient texts in their original languages and on gaining an understanding of the cultures in which Western culture is firmly rooted. A Classics degree is an excellent general intellectual training, and does not limit the student to any one future career.
Concentration in Classical Languages and Literatures:
I. Required courses in the major—36 hours, including: 4 hours from the Classical civilization courses: 250, 325, 326, 385, 386, 425, 426; 20 hours from Greek and/or Latin language courses: CLAS 305, 306, 307, 308, 405, 406, 407, 408; 8 additional hours chosen from CLAS 212 (if taken before enrolling in upper level Latin courses), 300-400 level Greek and Latin language courses, 200-400 level civilization courses; and CLAS 498. Note: if pursuing Latin licensure, all 20 hours of language courses must be Latin.
II. Required courses outside the major—None. Courses dealing with the Greco-Roman world offered by other departments may be substituted for the Classical Civilization course with prior approval of department chair. Competency at the intermediate level in French or German is recommended for students who wish to pursue graduate study.
III. Other departmental requirements—Major and oral competencies will be demonstrated by a final examination consisting of two hours of written translation of Latin and/or Greek and successful completion of CLAS 498, which includes formal presentation of the research conducted in the course. Writing and Information Literacy competencies will also be demonstrated in CLAS 498.
Concentration in Classical Civilization:
I. Required courses in the major—36 hours, including 4 hours from CLAS 325 or 326; 4 hours from CLAS 385 or 386; 4 hours from CLAS 425 or 426; 8 hours from Greek and/or Latin language courses at the 200-400 level; 12 additional hours from 200-400 level Classical Civilization courses; and CLAS 498. ANTH 225, PHIL 250 or 255 may be substituted for one of the courses in the 12 additional hours. Other elective courses may also be substituted with prior approval of department chair.
II. Required courses outside major—None
III. Other departmental requirements— Major and oral competencies will be demonstrated by a final examination consisting of one hour of written translation of Latin or Greek and successful completion of CLAS 498, which includes formal presentation of the research conducted in the course. Writing and Information Literacy competencies will also be demonstrated in CLAS 498.
Concentration in Latin with Teacher Licensure:
Licensure as a teacher in Latin requires the completion of the Classical Languages & Literatures concentration with all 20 hours of language courses being Latin. See Education Department section for additional required professional education courses.
Declaration of Classics Major or Minor
If you are considering a major in classics, please identify yourself to the faculty: we want to meet you and tell you about our program. When you begin UNC Asheville, your advisor will be the professor of the introductory colloquium class that you choose. The faculty in the Classics Department offer first year colloquia each fall, and you may consider those courses. If you choose other colloquia, let your advisor know of your interest in Classics. We also offer a LLC "From Athens to Rome." We recommend that you begin with the appropriate level of Latin or Greek as soon in your career as you can—preferably in your first semester. Latin and Greek fulfill the core language requirement (as does Hebrew, though it is not an integral part of the major as such) and you will meet both faculty and other students in these classes.
Declaring a major or minor in classics is done online (go to the Registrar's website for the major/minor declaration link).
Language Placement Tests & AP Credit
Language Placement Tests
Language placement tests are offered during summer orientation sessions, at the beginning of each semester, and by arrangement with the Department Chair if no other time is possible. The Classics Department offers a placement test for Latin, and we strongly encourage you to take it so that we can direct you to the level appropriate to you. We encourage you to take the highest level of Latin that you can comfortably take. Even though it may be tempting to “review” introductory material, you will benefit more from beginning at a level that is challenging to you. The placement test does not award course credit, but if you place out of Latin I and II you will have demonstrated proficiency and therefore place out of the core language requirement. So the placement test is important:don’t avoid it.
UNC Asheville does award academic credit of 3 semester hours to students who receive scores of 3, 4, or 5 on Advanced Placement tests offered by the College Board. For those who take a Latin AP exam, the schedule is listed below. If you score a 4 or 5, for example, on one of the Latin AP exams, you will receive 3 hours of credit for CLAS 102 (Latin II) and you can enroll in a 300-level Latin course.
Review the course requirements in the UNC Asheville Course Catalog for each of the classics concentrations and classics minor.
Classics courses at the 100 level include beginning Greek, Hebrew and Latin. These courses are open to all students and meet the Second Language requirement in the General Education curriculum. The Classics department also offers new students the opportunity to take LSIC freshman colloquium courses and to join our LLC (Living and Learning Community) "From Athens to Rome." Classics courses at the 200 level include a classical civilization course on Mythology which to open to everyone, and a Greek & Latin Roots in Medical Terminology, which is open to non-majors and minors. Classics courses above the 200 level include a wide range of classical civilization courses and advanced Greek and Latin courses, in which students read classical texts in the original language. Students can also obtain credit for independent reading and undergraduate research under the supervision of a faculty member. Classics majors take competency exams and enroll in the Classics capstone course in their senior year. The capstone course requires a substantial research paper, which is presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Required Reading for Students in 200-400 level courses
Students develop critical thinking and writing skills in the upper level classical civilization and Greek and Latin language courses. To help students get the most benefit from these courses, the department requires that students read the guidelines on writing papers in Classics courses that the department makes available as needed.
Because Classics does not require an exorbitant number of hours for its major concentrations, a major in Classics can be combined with several other departmental majors quite easily, including Philosophy, Language and Literature, History, Modern Languages, and many others. Some majors, however, require many more hours than Classics, and if you are interested in a double major in Biology and Classics, for example, your schedule will allow few if any electives, and you will need to plan very carefully and well in advance. You will also need to consider the possibility of a thesis and a capstone research project, if you choose another major that requires a senior thesis. It is certainly possible to complete a thesis and the capstone project, but it will be wise to choose early and plan well.
Competency Exams and Orals
Near the end of their last semester, majors demonstrate their competency in Greek and/or Latin through one to three hours of written exams. Majors with concentration in Classical Civilization take one translation exam in either Greek or Latin. Majors with concentrations in Classical Languages and Literatures translate three texts from Greek and Latin authors. If possible, passages should represent both prose and poetry. Dictionaries are permitted, though a Homeric dictionary is not allowed for Homer exams. Translation passages come from the courses that majors have taken. Several weeks before the exams, majors will be asked to turn in their preferences from the courses they have taken in the respective languages to the department chair. Majors may also request an unseen passage of the department’s choice. Competency exams will be given during a two-week period, in November for fall graduates, and in April for spring graduates. Exams will be graded quickly so that those needing to retake one or more exams may be notified very soon.
Departmental Distinction and Honors
The Classics Department can recognize its graduates with an award of departmental distinction. Distinction is based on the following criteria:
- A 3.5 minimum GPA in the major
- Performance over the student’s entire career will be taken into account when we make our recommendations for awarding departmental distinction, and a student judged worthy of departmental distinction will have consistently have contributed well in oral class work and produced articulate and well-researched written work that reveals a clear and sophisticated understanding of the material under discussion. Some students may be invited to write a Senior Thesis as the culmination of his/her studies here. We may also designate a thesis as a Thesis of Distinction.
Evidence of enthusiasm and talent which goes beyond taking the bare minimum of courses for the major (though student circumstances will be taken into account in determining eligibility on this criterion). Such evidence may include:
- the successful accomplishment of extra electives in Classics.
- presentation of a project of undergraduate research outside the department (e.g. at NCUR, UNC Asheville’s Symposia or some other conference).
- entry to graduate school in Classics (or potential for such, as determined by the department) or some other academic award, such as a Fulbright scholarship.
- Service as a Classics Peer Tutor, or other service to the department.
Attendance & Plagiarism Policies
Faculty members in the Classics Department recognize that unexpected occasions may arise when a student must be absent from class. Specific absence policies will be developed by each faculty member and stated in course syllabi, but in general you should expect the following policy:
- Three absences will be allowed in Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes.
- Two absences will be allowed in Tuesday-Thursday classes.
- One absence only will be permitted for classes that meet once a week.
Students remain responsible for all material covered in missed classes, including reading assignments, announcements and changes of schedules. Should any further unexcused absences occur, however, the instructor has the option of lowering the final course grade by some percentage. Failure to attend class in a responsible and committed manner may thus be grounds for failure in the course.
Students must abide by the Academic Honesty policies found in the Student Handbook.