The Program in Classics (thru 2015-16)


PLEASE NOTE:

IN 2015-16 the Department thoroughly revised the curriculum of the program in Classics.

  • Students who will graduate with a catalog year through 2015-16* should follow the former curriculum as detailed below.
  • Students with a catalog year of 2016-17 and after* should follow the revised curriculum as detailed here.
  • Students who wish to transition from the former curriculum to the revised curriculum should consult their advisor.

*Generally, students follow the curriculum as it appears in the GVSU Catalog in the year in which they matriculated. In other words, the year in which you entered GVSU is, generally speaking, your "catalog year."


The Department of Classics offers major and minor programs in classics with five distinctive tracks or emphases: Classical Languages (major only), Greek, Latin, Latin Secondary Education (major only), and the Classical Tradition. Although all five combine the study of language and classical culture, they differ in focus and aim.

Degree programs in Classical LanguagesGreek, and Latin offer full courses of undergraduate study in classics that stress the languages and literature of the classical world.

Whereas the Greek and Latin emphases encourage students to focus upon one of the two languages exclusively, the Classical Languages emphasis provides flexibility in pursuing a course of study in both Latin and ancient Greek.

The Latin Secondary Education emphasis offers prospective Latin teachers preparation in Latin comprehension and instruction and in classical civilization at a level consistent with state and national norms. These students work within both the Department of Classics and the College of Education. While the College of Education is ultimately responsible for overseeing the certification process for students, the Department of Classics is responsible for overseeing the major and for recommending qualified students for admission to the College of Education.

Grand Valley's innovative Classical Tradition emphasis focuses upon the legacy of the classical world and specifically investigates the relationship between Greek and Roman civilizations and the literary, artistic, intellectual, social, and political traditions of other cultures. This emphasis affords students who seek a broad acquaintance with the classical world, but whose interests do not fit easily into other departmental programs, the opportunity to design individual programs to fit their talents, interests, and career goals.

Students who plan on graduate work in Classics should be mindful that many graduate programs prefer to admit students who have completed at least one year of advanced work (at the 300 level and above) in both languages; such students should consider either completing a major emphasis in one language and a minor emphasis in another or pursuing advanced study of the languages beyond the minimum requirements of the Classical Languages emphasis.


Classical Languages Emphasis (major only)

At Grand Valley and nationally, most Classics majors take both ancient Greek and Latin. The Classical Languages emphasis provides the flexibility to pursue both languages within one major.

Access to the languages in which the seminal works of the ancient world were composed provides students with a special perspective on ancient culture and gives them a unique insight into the foundations of poetry, drama, history, philosophy, religion, law, and the sciences.

Training in the classical languages represents the kind of serious mental rigor and discipline that is an excellent training for a variety of careers.

Students interested in graduate studies in Classics should plan on attaining advanced levels in both languages.

 

Consult the GVSU Catalog for detailed program information:

Classics
Classics Major
   Classical Languages Emphasis
 


Greek Emphasis

The earliest texts written in Greek date from around the 14th century BCE, and the modern form of the language continues to be spoken today by millions of people throughout the world. During the classical period of its development, Greek was the language of one of the greatest flowerings of culture in all human history.

The eighth through the fourth centuries BCE saw the poetry of Homer and Sappho, the drama of Aeschylus and Aristophanes, the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

For nearly a thousand years from the fourth century BCE onward, Greek was spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean, and in this "common" - or koine - form, it was the language of the New Testament.

Students of ancient Greek gain access to these texts and more, all of which continue to fascinate and instruct, and still provide the intellectual foundations of many different fields.

Grand Valley is the only public university in West Michigan to offer a full undergraduate program in ancient Greek. It includes a major and a minor emphasis in Greek, courses to fulfill the University's B.A. cognate requirement in a foreign language, and courses in ancient Greek literature and culture in translation.

Majors who intend to continue their study in a graduate program in Classics are strongly advised to take both Greek and Latin.

 

Consult the GVSU Catalog for detailed program information:

Classics
Classics Major
   Greek Emphasis
Classics Minor
   Greek Emphasis
 


Latin Emphasis

The language of the ancient Romans became, through their Empire, the language of Western Europe. Even after the Roman Empire collapsed, Latin continued as the language of literature, science, philosophy, medicine, law, and religion for over a thousand years: John Milton, Isaac Newton, Baruch Spinoza, and Thomas Aquinas all wrote in the same language as Cicero, Virgil, Caesar, and Plautus.

As a language of daily life, Latin evolved into the modern Romance languages of Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian, which are spoken today by over 500 million people throughout the world. It also left deep traces in the structure and vocabulary of many other languages, including English.

The study of Latin, then, opens doors to the history and culture of the classical world and to a wide variety of other fascinating and useful fields as well.

Grand Valley offers a full undergraduate program in Latin, including a major and a minor emphasis in Latin, courses to fulfill the University's B.A. cognate requirement in a foreign language, and courses in Latin literature and Roman culture in translation.

Majors who intend to continue their study in a graduate Program in Classics are strongly advised to take both Greek and Latin.

 

Consult the GVSU Catalog for detailed program information:

Classics
Classics Major
   Latin Emphasis
Classics Minor
   Latin Emphasis


Latin Secondary Education Emphasis (major only)

 

"After graduating from Grand Valley [...] I interviewed with five different schools, had on-site interviews with two schools, and got three job offers - two of the schools offered me positions just based on my phone interview." - Renee Mayes '09

 

The Department of Classics introduced the program in Latin Secondary Education, designed to help address the shortage of certified Latin teachers nationwide, in 2004.

The Latin Secondary Education emphasis offers prospective Latin teachers preparation in Latin comprehension and instruction and in classical civilization at a level consistent with state and national norms. We are excited about the opportunity this gives us to bring new perspectives on the ancient world to new generations of students.

Further reading:

 

"A Dead Language That's Very Much Alive," The New York Times, 6 October 2008:

The number of students in the United States taking the National Latin Exam has risen steadily to more than 134,000 students in each of the past two years, from 124,000 in 2003 and 101,000 in 1998, with large increases in remote parts of the country like New Mexico, Alaska and Vermont. The number of students taking the Advanced Placement test in Latin, meanwhile, has nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

 

"The role of Latin in American education: A position paper from the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL)":

The quality and survival of the Latin program is directly dependent on the effectiveness of classroom teaching. For this reason, ensuring that teachers are qualified and/or receive appropriate training and staff development activities to acquaint them with all available methods, pedagogical strategies, and materials is essential. Cynthia White from the University of Arizona states that teachers must not only be "skilled Latinists", they "must also be skilled at teaching Latin."

 

 

Consult the GVSU Catalog for detailed program information:

Classics
Classics Major
   Latin Secondary Education Emphasis
 


Classical Tradition Emphasis

The connections between the world of classical Greece and Rome and the cultures of other places and other times form a rich, varied, and increasingly important area of study.

As classical civilization faded, it left in its place a legacy of precedents and possibilities in every area of culture - in art and literature, certainly, but also in philosophy, religion, political thought, and social organization - which were taken up, used, and interpreted in many different ways in the new cultural environments of later times.

Examples of this process can be seen all around us and range from the paintings of Botticelli and Raphael in the Italian renaissance, through the dramas of Shakespeare and the West African playwrights Efua Sutherland and Wole Soyinka, to the ideas behind the American Constitution, the architecture of our Capitol, and even the design of our money.

Indeed, the continually shifting sense of connection with the classical past provides an important key to a culture's - and a nation's - sense of its own historical identity.

Grand Valley's unique Classical Tradition emphasis focuses upon these connections. Individual courses and degree programs are designed for students who seek a broad acquaintance with the classical world combined with the study of its important legacies in another specific field.

Affording students the opportunity to design either a major or a minor that fits their own talents, interests, and career goals, the emphasis provides a distinctive framework for cross-cultural study that is at once focused, flexible, and exceptionally rewarding.

 

Consult the GVSU Catalog for detailed program information:

Classics
Classics Major
   Classical Tradition Emphasis
Classics Minor
   Classical Tradition Emphasis
 




Page last modified July 24, 2016