Statue of Marcus Aurelius riding a horse

Please consult the Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies advisor with questions about the major in classics.

Declaring the Major

To declare the Classics major, meet with the CANES advisor using Starfish.

Students who declare the Classics major may not combine this major (“double major”) with the Classical Humanities major starting Fall 2023.

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 Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts 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.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Complete the University General Education Requirements for Quantitative Reasoning A (QR-A) and Quantitative Reasoning B (QR-B) coursework.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language.
L&S Breadth
  • 12 credits of Humanities, which must include 6 credits of literature; and
  • 12 credits of Social Science; and
  • 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include one 3+ credit Biological Science course and one 3+ credit Physical Science course.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work Complete at least 60 credits at the intermediate or advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience
  • 30 credits in residence, overall; and
  • 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work
  • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
  • 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level 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. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

A major in Classics allows students to place primary emphasis on learning Greek or Latin, yet gain some language training in both. Whether the primary language of study is Greek or Latin, the major requires 23 credits and assumes students have taken the first two semesters of both languages prior to entering the major.  

Classics–Latin Emphasis

GREEK courses:
GREEK 305 Third Semester Ancient Greek3
GREEK 306 Fourth Semester Ancient Greek3
LATIN courses:
LATIN 305 Third Semester Latin4
LATIN 306 Fourth Semester Latin4
LATIN 401 Readings in Latin Literature3
Two LATIN courses at the 500 level, select from:6
Elementary Prose Composition
Latin Poetry
Roman Drama
Roman Elegy
Roman Lyric Poetry
Roman Satire
Roman Novel
Latin Historical Writers
Latin Philosophical Writers
Latin Oratory
Mediaeval Latin
Total Credits23

Classics–Greek Emphasis

LATIN courses:
LATIN 305 Third Semester Latin4
LATIN 306 Fourth Semester Latin4
GREEK courses:
GREEK 305 Third Semester Ancient Greek3
GREEK 306 Fourth Semester Ancient Greek3
GREEK 401 Readings in Greek Literature3
Two GREEK courses at the 500 level, select from:6
Elementary Prose Composition
Greek Lyric Poets
Greek Comedy
Greek Tragedy
Attic Orators
Hellenistic Greek
Total Credits23

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all CLASSICS and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA in at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major1 
  • 15 credits in CLASSICS, taken at UW–Madison

Honors in the Major

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

Honors in the Major Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major in Classics, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 University GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA in upper-level work in the major
  • Complete the following coursework, with a grade of B or better:


Courses at the Intermediate and Advanced levels are considered upper-level in this major.

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. Recognize, identify, and explain forms, syntax, and vocabulary of the classical and biblical languages.
  2. Demonstrate close reading skills that emphasize accuracy and nuance in translation.
  3. Demonstrate critical reading skills which emphasize textual analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.
  4. Demonstrate competency with texts and authors from the classical and near eastern tradition.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
LATIN 103 or GREEK 1034LATIN 104 or GREEK 1044
Communication Part A (complete during first year)3Quantitative Reasoning A (complete during first year)3
Physical Science Breadth3Ethnic Studies3
Social Science Breadth4Biological Science Breadth3
 14 13
Second Year
LATIN 305 or GREEK 3054LATIN 306 or GREEK 3064
GREEK 103 or LATIN 1034GREEK 104 or LATIN 1044
Communication Part B 3Quantitative Reasoning Part B3
Social Science Breadth4Social Science Breadth3
Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
 18 17
Third Year
LATIN 4013LATIN 500-level course3
or GREEK 500-level course
or GREEK 500-level course
GREEK 305 or LATIN 3053-4GREEK 306 or LATIN 3063-4
Social Science Breadth3Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
500-level LATIN or GREEK course3Elective3
Elective1Elective 3
 13 15
Total Credits 120

If you like to plan, seeing your major advisor is very important; it can make the difference between fitting in Vergil or Homer before you graduateMany 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.  Any and all of these discussions can occur during your advising appointment.

In addition to discussing the major, advisors 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
  • Choosing a study abroad program
  • Practicing for interviews
  • Talking about graduate school
  • Proofreading résumés and cover letters


Humanities majors enable students 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
  • 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
  • proper research design and methodology 
  • broader knowledge of career and graduate-study options

One of the more significant skills CANES majors develop is language acquisition. Study of Greek, Latin, or Biblical Hebrew sets you apart and demonstrates your willingness to explore and expand your understanding of history and culture. In addition, the study of ancient languages shows discipline and perseverance. Overall, you will have a wide variety of skills and talents to start you on the path to a rewarding career! Visit our Alumni page and our Career and Skill Development page for more information.

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

Please visit the Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies website for a complete list of faculty, instructional, and academic staff.

Scholarships and Prizes

In addition to routinely nominating or recommending exemplary undergraduate majors for national, regional, local and university awards, CANES offers the following opportunities for financial support to our 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 open to majors only. The call usually goes out in November and closes in 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, to participate in study abroad, or to participate in an active archaeological field project. Awards will be in the amount of up to $800. This competition is open to majors only. The call usually goes out in November and closes in 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; students may earn 3 credits taking Classics 568: Topics in Classical Literature.

To learn more, visit our website.