Why Classics

Classical studies embraces the study of Greek and Latin language, literature, history and culture. An emphasis in the Classics provides students with valuable content, imparts transferable skills, and increases their capacity for memorization, synthesis of new knowledge, sustained concentration, and listening. The content provides rhetorical knowledge of the culture of the ancient world as well as the world in which we live, but is also profoundly transformative allowing for a greater understanding of the self and the human condition. Often neglected is the point that many of the extant artifacts (literature and otherwise) emanating from the classical age are high works of art in their own form, exposing their “readers” to rare beauty; and, they have continuously inspired further works of art and beauty throughout their reception. Studying classical culture also improves a student’s ability to communicate cross culturally, increases understanding and sensitivity to different cultures, and broadens knowledge of the world.

When you study Classics at Wake Forest, not only will you enjoy small class sizes and personal attention, but you will benefit from a department with a long tradition of teaching and advising excellence.  The Classical Languages Department has enjoyed the services of five winners of the Excellence in Advising Award (Mary L.B. Pendergraft; Carl V. Harris; John L. Andronica; Robert W. Ulery; James T. Powell) and three winners of prestigious teaching awards: the Reid-Doyle Prize for Excellence in Teaching (Michael C. Sloan; James T. Powell) and the Jon Reinhard Award for Distinguished Teaching (Robert W. Ulery).

The faculty in the Classical Languages Department are passionate guardians of a heritage: we seek to maintain that heritage, to understand it ever more deeply, and to transmit it to future generations for their enjoyment and enrichment.  We view our discipline as a critical component to an undergraduate curriculum in the liberal arts and believe it is a relevant course of study for a wide variety of professional pursuits.

At Wake Forest, students may major or minor in Greek, Latin, or Classical Studies. Courses offered by the Department are relevant to studies including but not limited to Anthropology, Art, English, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Religion, and Women’s Studies.

Career opportunities for graduates are many and varied. They include teaching at the secondary level, non-teaching academic positions, journalism, business, museum work, law, library work, editorial work, positions in travel and tourist industry, and government positions in foreign service. The major can help prepare students to enter graduate school in classics, business, law, medicine, comparative literature, linguistics, history, theology as well as other fields. Many Wake Forest classics majors have gone on to graduate and professional study at distinguished institutions and have been successful in pursuing higher degrees.

The following is a spreadsheet of First Destinations for recent graduates.

The Classical Languages Department works closely with the Career and Professional Development Center as you consider life after the major.