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Students who pursue the Latin major read a wide variety of authors and can expect to achieve a high level of competency in the ancient language of the Romans. Coursework includes such favorites as Vergil, Ovid, Cicero, Julius Caesar, and Catullus, but students can expect to be able to read other authors like the historians (Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus) and genres like lyric, satire, and drama.  

To support Latin majors as they pursue their educational goals, CANES provides annual scholarship opportunities. We also offer a summer study abroad program led by members of our faculty. Learn more under Resources and Scholarships.

For those who are interested in teaching Latin at the secondary level, the School of Education offers certification. Students of this program take Latin courses in our department, while receiving their teacher training in the School of Education. 

Declaring the Latin major is as easy as meeting with the CANES advisor. Make an appointment today.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Mathematics Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include 6 credits in biological science; and must include 6 credits in physical science
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S Students PURSUING AN L&S MAJOR

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

The Latin major requires 26 total credits of coursework beyond the first two semesters of Latin. 

Majors interested in teaching Latin in high school should consult the undergraduate advisor and the School of Education about requirements for teaching certification.  

Note about Language: The College of Letters & Science will award degree credit for foreign language work successfully completed in high school under certain circumstances and if an additional foreign language course is taken at UW–Madison. For more information, consult the Retroactive Credits policy under Policies and Regulations.

LATIN 203
LATIN 204
Intermediate Latin
and Introduction to Latin Literature
8
LATIN 301
LATIN 302
Latin Literature of the Roman Republic
and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire
6
Select four courses at the 500 level or above12
Elementary Prose Composition
Vergil
Latin Poetry
Roman Drama
Roman Elegy
Roman Lyric Poetry
Roman Satire
Roman Novel
Latin Historical Writers
Latin Philosophical Writers
Latin Oratory
Mediaeval Latin
Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
Senior Thesis
Directed Study
Additional Electives to reach the 26 credit minimum for the major 1
Total Credits26
1

 LATIN 203 through LATIN 699 can be used as additional electives to meet the 26 credit minimum.

residence and quality of work

2.000 GPA in all LATIN courses and courses that count toward the major

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level credits in residence1

15 credits in LATIN, taken on campus

1

 LATIN courses marked as Intermediate or Advanced count as Upper Level in the Major.

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Latin Major in consultation with the departmental undergraduate advisor.

Honors in the Latin Major Requirements

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Latin students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 in all major courses at the intermediate or advanced level
  • Complete CLASSICS 591 Undergraduate Seminar: Approaches to the Classical World
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in CLASSICS 681 Senior Honors Thesis and CLASSICS 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 credits.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Gain knowledge of the ancient languages.
  2. Develop close reading skills that emphasize accuracy and precision in translation.
  3. Develop critical reading skills, especially the ability to engage in source criticism.
  4. Gain competency with core texts of the ancient western and near eastern literary canon.

ADVISING 

How does the Latin major fit into my educational goals?

While there are a wide variety of reasons to visit your major advisor, there seem to be two recurring questions:

1. Can I complete the major during the time I have left at UW?

2. Which classes will be offered in the future?

If you like to plan, seeing your major advisor is very important; it can make the difference between fitting in Sallust and Lucan before you graduate.  Many students also try to complete more than one major or certificate, and discussing how you might be able to reach this goal is another primary role of your major advisor. Advisors can speak to you about course content, which courses fit best with your interest areas, and what kinds of courses might work best with your learning style e.g. do you prefer multiple choice or essays?  Any and all of these discussions can occur during your advising appointment.

In addition to discussing the major, advisors also know a lot about:

  • General Education requirements
  • Breadth requirements
  • Interpreting university policies and deadlines
  • Connecting majors to careers
  • Getting involved with campus organizations
  • Finding volunteer and/or internship opportunities
  • Talking about your challenges and difficulties
  • Connecting with tutors
  • Picking a study abroad program
  • Practicing for interviews
  • Talking about grad school
  • Proofreading resumes and cover letters

Ready to meet with the CANES advisor?  Make an appointment today.

CAREERS

While many students have a difficult time believing it, a humanities major such as ours, enables students who complete it to consider just about any type of career or educational pursuit.  Our coursework builds the critical thinking and communication skills needed to succeed in careers ranging from politics and education to business and law.   

Think about what you learn in a classroom setting as well as what you do each day to be a successful student; the skills you develop are equally important in the workplace:

  • critical reading, reflection, and analysis
  • proper research design and methodology 
  • expanded world view and exposure to new ideas/ways of thinking 
  • effective teamwork to advance a common project/purpose
  •  effective time-management and self-motivation to complete projects independently
  •  demonstrated writing proficiency in short- and long-essay format
  •  discussion and debate strategies 
  • broader knowledge of career and graduate-study options

One of the more significant skills CANES majors develop is language acquisition. Your study of Greek, Latin or Biblical Hebrew sets you apart and demonstrates your willingness to explore and expand your understanding of history and culture.  Not to mention, the study of ancient languages shows discipline and perseverance, since they are such difficult languages to learn. Overall, you will have a wide variety of skills and talents to start you on the path to a rewarding career. Visit our website for more information.

Faculty

William Aylward

Jeffrey Beneker 

Jeffrey Blakely

William Brockliss

Alex Dressler

Jeremy M. Hutton

Alice Mandell

Laura McClure

J C McKeown

Grant Nelsestuen

Nandini Pandey

Mike Vanden Heuvel

EMERITUS FACULTY

Ronald L. Troxel

ACADEMIC STAFF

Bill Bach, Department Administrator

Toni Landis, Advisor/Student Services Coordinator

Scholarships and Prizes

In addition to routinely nominating or recommending exemplary undergraduate majors for national, regional, local and university awards, CANES offers the following competitions to classical humanities, classics, and Latin majors annually:

Ruth M. Kuhlman Undergraduate Scholarship

Established in 1998 with a bequest from Myron George Kuhlman in memory of his wife, Ruth Miller Kuhlman (BS in Education '32), this is a monetary award for undergraduates to benefit and advance their studies within the field of classics. Total amount of award may be up to $2500 and the award may not be granted every academic year depending on quality of entries and availability of funds. This competition is only open to classics, classical humanities, and Latin majors. Students should apply via Scholarships@UW (which can be accessed through their MyUW page). Generally, the online application is open in early November with a deadline for submission in early February.

Gertrude E. Slaughter Summer Study Scholarship

A monetary award in memory of Gertrude E. Slaughter, author and widow of Professor Moses S. Slaughter 1896–1923, for undergraduate students to advance their studies at an accredited center such as the American School in Athens or the American Academy in Rome, or to participate in an active archaeological field project. Awards will be in the amount of up to $800. This competition is open only to classics, classical humanities, and Latin majors. Students should apply via Scholarships@UW (which can be accessed through their MyUW page). Generally, the online application is open in early November with a deadline for submission in early February.

Logan Prize for Greek Translation

A monetary award in memory of Fellow of Classics, John Watson Logan (Ph.D. '23), for the translation of a passage of ancient Greek. The passage will be selected each year by the chair of the Prize Committee and awards may not be granted every academic year depending on quality of entries. This competition is open to all undergraduate students who have completed at least one semester of ancient Greek and is normally publicized in classes and to department majors in early April.

Pillinger Prize for Latin Translation

A monetary award in memory of Assistant Professor Hugh Edward Pillinger (1965-1970) for the translation of a passage in Latin. The passage will be selected each year by the chair of the Prize Committee and awards may not be granted every academic year depending on quality of entries. This competition is open to all undergraduate students who have completed at least one semester of Latin and is normally publicized in classes and to department majors in early April.

Study abroad

CANES offers two options for summer study:  UW–Classics in Greece and UW–Classics in Italy.

Each three-week program is offered alternating summers and guided by a department faculty member.

To learn more, visit our website.