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Top Public Universities for Undergraduate Classics

inquiryrminquiryrm 4 replies1 threads New Member
Hello all,

I am seeking information on some of the best Classics departments among public universities.

I was going to PM @warblersrule , but my account is new and I couldn't figure out how to message someone.

From what I've gleaned looking at other threads, some of the top programs include:

- UCLA
- Michigan
- UNC
- UT Austin
- Cincinnati

More specifically, I am interested in compiling a list of programs that have a very good classics department but are also not outrageously selective for transfer applicants.

Although I have a decent GPA (45 semester credits and 3.8), I am a non-traditional student lacking some of the more common items that admissions look for (volunteering, school clubs, sports, etc.). I only have a GED and the college credit mentioned above. Any advice would be very appreciated!


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Replies to: Top Public Universities for Undergraduate Classics

  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    What state do you reside in? I'm curious why you are interested in state schools outside of your own (they will be fairly pricey and not too likely to provide out of state aid-- some exceptions.) For classics I would definitely look at Jesuit colleges and universities. I would think Admissions have different criteria for transfers but I'm not sure. Might depend on if you're transferring from a CC or a 4 yr.
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  • inquiryrminquiryrm 4 replies1 threads New Member
    @Techno13

    I am a software developer looking to go back to school and finish my degree (for personal enrichment/achievement purposes). My job allows me to work remotely, so I am hoping to reside in a given state until I am able to get in-state tuition. I did this in Colorado when living there, and it was quite easy.
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  • inquiryrminquiryrm 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Also, most of my credit will be coming form CC, not a 4yr.
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  • merc81merc81 10496 replies160 threads Senior Member
    edited November 8
    For a generally lightly subscribed major such as classics, you may want to browse IPEDS for an indication of popularity across schools of potential interest. For example, the University of Cincinnati registered six bachelor's recipients in a recent year in Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General, a respectable figure in this context.

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Cincinnati&s=all&pg=2&id=201885#programs
    edited November 8
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10046 replies172 threads Super Moderator
    edited November 8
    All of the universities you listed are excellent for Classics. I'll admit I am somewhat biased since I received a degree from one of the universities and took many courses at another.

    Michigan and UCLA, along with Berkeley, are unique among public universities in offering not only Classics but also adjacent fields such as Egyptology, Assyriology, and (in the case of UCLA) Indo-European linguistics. Michigan also has the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and a large collection of papyri, mostly from its excavations at Karanis. UCLA benefits greatly from its close associations with the Getty Villa, one of the finest collections of ancient art in the world.

    https://lsa.umich.edu/kelsey
    https://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/

    UT Austin and Cincinnati have pretty well-rounded Classics programs, but historically they have been especially strong in Bronze Age archaeology and Linear B studies, for which there's nowhere better except Oxford. UT Austin offers more in the way of related disciplines; it is strong in archaeology, particularly Mesoamerican studies, and it has some excellent Semiticists on faculty like Na'ama Pat-El.

    UNC Chapel Hill is relatively unique in guaranteeing financial aid to all admitted domestic students. As far as I am aware, UVA is the only other public university to make that pledge, although Michigan has been improving its financial aid. Carolina has a very good, well-rounded Classics program, and the town of Chapel Hill itself is lovely. The religion department is extremely strong at Carolina as well, with some very high profile faculty like Bart Ehrman and Jodi Magness.


    A few others to consider -- Ohio State, Wisconsin, U Minnesota, U Iowa, Indiana U, SUNY Buffalo, U Arizona, Florida State, U Missouri, CU Boulder, UT Knoxville, and probably others that I'm forgetting.

    There's a lot of good undergraduate Classics programs out there, and only applicants to PhD programs need to be concerned with looking for the best programs in the field. Any university that offers introductory and intermediate Greek and Latin every year should be enough for your purposes, especially if you're not coming in at a high level in Greek or Latin.

    Notre Dame has a more or less comprehensive list of Classics departments, and the SCS has a good albeit not complete list of Classics programs at universities.

    https://classics.nd.edu/about/resources/classics-around-the-world/

    https://classicalstudies.org/education/graduate-programs-north-america
    edited November 8
    Post edited by warblersrule on
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78557 replies695 threads Senior Member
    inquiryrm wrote: »
    @Techno13

    I am a software developer looking to go back to school and finish my degree (for personal enrichment/achievement purposes). My job allows me to work remotely, so I am hoping to reside in a given state until I am able to get in-state tuition. I did this in Colorado when living there, and it was quite easy.

    Generally, there is at least a year waiting period after moving to the state and doing the other indications of residency before getting residency for tuition purposes. Each state can have its own rules that are not the same as others.
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  • inquiryrminquiryrm 4 replies1 threads New Member
    @warblersrule

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I wasn't aware of the UNC financial aid guarantee, that's a huge plus.

    Since my wife will be working while I finish my degree, I have been honing in on places located in or nearby cities (for reasons of accounting jobs for my wife). I was leaning towards Cincinnati for that reason (as well as the fact that Ohio State would be a great backup). The transfer admission rate for the two are 49% and 84% respectively.

    I was a bit worried about UT Austin as the transfer admit rate is only 23% (which seems to be on par with UCLA). UCLA and Berkeley are great, but surrounded by very expensive cities and seem to have issues with overpopulation (failure to be able to get into courses needed for degree).

    Michigan seems to be a bit higher at 39% (which honestly shocked me, as I thought it would be much lower). I'd love to take a shot at Michigan, but I don't think I'd be left with a great backup, and I'm not sure how the job market is in such a small town.

    Also, I'm still not sure whether I will be doing something like Classical Humanities/Classical Civilizations or the Classics (language intensive) track. Since I love languages, I have been leaning towards Classics.

    This is much more difficult than I initially expected.
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10046 replies172 threads Super Moderator
    inquiryrm wrote:
    UCLA and Berkeley are great, but surrounded by very expensive cities and seem to have issues with overpopulation (failure to be able to get into courses needed for degree).
    Yeah, they're not cheap options for anyone not commuting from home. I made about $20-22K a year as a PhD student at UCLA, which was (barely) enough to live on, but rent is rising every year, and commuting from the cheaper parts of the LA area can be a pretty long commute. It is not difficult to get into the less popular classes at UCLA, including most areas of the humanities, but classes in popular fields (CS, geography, life sciences, etc.) fill up quickly. UCLA is the smallest of the UCs by campus size but the largest by enrollment, and the steadily growing undergraduate enrollment has forced the administration to install more seats in lecture halls to avoid having students sitting on the floor.

    Cincinnati sounds like a good fit based on what you're looking for. As @ucbalumnus pointed out, you'll have to check out the rules for gaining residency at each university.

    If you live in the Midwest or West, also check out MSEP and WUE, which cap out-of-state tuition at 150% of in-state tuition.

    https://msep.mhec.org/
    https://www.wiche.edu/wue
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  • inquiryrminquiryrm 4 replies1 threads New Member
    @warblersrule

    One final question. From your experience, is a traditional Classics track a better option than the newer Classical Civilizations tracks (less language intensive)? I'm not 100% about graduate school. I may go to graduate school, law school, or back to software development. I do, however, want to be well-rounded and prepared for any of the above choices.

    Again, thank you so much for the help!


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  • rickle1rickle1 2028 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I would be surprised if William & Mary doesn't have an outstanding Classics department. Outstanding academics! It's essentially an LAC but a state school.
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10046 replies172 threads Super Moderator
    inquiryrm wrote:
    From your experience, is a traditional Classics track a better option than the newer Classical Civilizations tracks (less language intensive)? I'm not 100% about graduate school. I may go to graduate school, law school, or back to software development. I do, however, want to be well-rounded and prepared for any of the above choices.
    I think every Classics major should take at least a year each of Latin and Greek, though some classicists would say that's an old-fashioned view. Some things simply do not translate well. Beyond that, it's really a matter of personal preference whether one takes more language courses or more civilization courses.

    Any student interested in graduate studies in classics, however, should have a strong language background.
    • MA programs - 3 years of Greek or Latin, 2 years of the other, reading knowledge of German or French
    • PhD programs - 4 years of Greek or Latin, 3 years of the other, reading knowledge of German and French
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