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Washington and Lee University

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The Classics Department offers a major in either Greek or Latin, or both ancient languages together, as well as courses of interest to all students, including Pompeii, the Age of Augustus, Ancient Epic, Greek Tragedy, Mythology, The World of Late Antiquity, etc. Believing strongly that the languages must be situated within their social contexts, we encourage student majors to explore offerings in Philosophy, History, Art History, Linguistics, Religion, Theatre, and Archaeology as well. Courses for the major are listed in the University Catalogue under the separate headings of Classics, Greek, and Latin, as well as in other departments offering related courses (History, Religion, Philosophy, Art, etc).

The wide scope of Classics, and its emphasis on close study, analysis, and critical thinking makes the field an excellent preparation for a wide range of professions. Recent graduates are pursuing a variety of careers including academia, law, medicine, journalism, consulting, teaching, and public service. The Department's small size ensures that every major receives personal guidance and instruction throughout his or her years at Washington and Lee.

Because W & L is a member of Sunoikisis, a collaborative virtual Classics Department sponsored by the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C., our faculty and advanced students may participate in the courses, conferences, archaeological expeditions, and other opportunities offered by this consortium. All collaborative courses are taught on campus by W & L faculty with the additional advantage of weekly online guest lectures and discussions with students and faculty from other participating colleges. For further information, click the link above or contact a faculty member.

We are a member of Eta Sigma Phi, the national collegiate Honor Society for students of Classics. Students who have formally declared Classics as a major, who have achieved a GPA of 3.7 or higher in the major, and 3.5 or higher overall, and who have successfully completed at least one course at the 300 level in either Latin or Greek may be recommended by  the Classics faculty for membership. Inviitations are issued at the end of winter term. Memberss of Eta Sigma Phi are eligible to apply for a variety of opportunities including prizes and scholarship support.

HONORS IN CLASSICS. Classics majors who have achieved distinction in the major may be eligible to write an Honors Thesis during the senior year and should begin conversations with faculty during winter term of the junior year. For more information, click here.


Washington and Lee students are eligible for a wide variety of grants and fellowships to support study and travel    during the undergraduate years as well as for graduate studies. Please visit the university website on Grants and Fellowships which lists all these opportunities with links to detailed information on each, deadlines, application materials, etc. Freshman year is not too early to begin browsing this site and planning options for the future. Explore the section of this site on Opportunities for Students for information on scholarships for Classics majors.


Work Begins to Unearth an Ancient Mosaic

Ancient Dentristy: Oldest filling found in Italy

Ceramic Fragments point to Artistry in the Ice Age

Snow Damages the Colosseum

Istanbul Yields Ancient Treasure

Greece to Rent Out Ancient Sites

Review of the  movie Immortals

Digital Preservation of Manuscripts

"Why major in Classics?" from the Princeton Review

Wall collapses in Pompeii

Prof. Benefiel in Smithsonian Magazine

For a discussion of why Classics remains relevant, see "Classics Rock," in Foreign Policy.


  • Graffiti Project InterfaceW&L Faculty to Present Collaborative Project at LAWDI Institute
    W&L professors Rebecca Benefiel (classics) and Sara Sprenkle (computer science) will present their prototype of a new web application involving the ancient graffiti of Pompeii at the Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI) later this month.
  • Athena Kirk, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow in W&L's classics departmentW&L's Kirk on WMRA's "Virginia Insight"
    Athena Kirk, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow in the Classics Department at Washington and Lee University, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA's "Virginia Insight" show on Monday, Feb. 25, to discuss humans, philosophy and animals.
  • Athena Kirk, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow in W&L's classics departmentCourse by W&L's Kirk Wins Award from Humane Society
    Athena Kirk, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow in the classics department at Washington and Lee University, has received the 2012 Distinguished New Course award from the Humane Society of the United States and the Animals and Society Institute for the seminar, "The Ancient Animal World," which she taught in Fall 2012.
  • Kevin Crotty, Professor of Classics at Washington and Lee UniversityKevin Crotty to Give Childress Professorship Inaugural Lecture
    Kevin Crotty, professor of Classics at Washington and Lee University, will give the J. Donald Childress Professorship Inaugural Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.
  • Michael Laughy, assistant professor of Classics, Washington and LeeW&L Professor's "Snake Goddess" Research Cited
    Research by Washington and Lee professor Michael Laughy is featured by LiveScience.
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