When To Study Abroad - Classics and Ancient Civilization Major

The study of the classical world, rich with history, language, and a vibrant modern legacy, almost begs its pupils to study abroad. There is no replacement for first-hand experience in places that have become so important to world history. Whether by means of study in one of many fine institutions throughout the classical world’s traditional heart in Greece and Italy, or in the many other parts of Europe and the Mediterranean influenced by its starling cultural span, students will discover a great deal of academic and personal enrichment.

For many students in the Classics or Ancient Civilizations majors, their third year is the most opportune time to study abroad. This is partially due to the structure of the major requirements and partially due to the fact that few students declare these majors before their second year.

The Classics major is demanding in terms of language study. Students typically need at least 3 years to complete the required Greek and Latin language tracks. Therefore it may be difficult for Classics students to stay on track if they do not include language study in their study abroad plans. Ancient Civilizations students may have a bit more flexibility in this area, because their course outline is less strictly structured.

Detailed accounts of the requirements for majors in Classical Languages and Ancient Civilizations can be found here: http://www.uiowa.edu/~classics/programs/undergrad/undergrad.html

Students in both majors will cover a variety of subject areas, including languages, literature, history, philosophy, art, archaeology and religion, though with some key differences. For a major in Classical Languages, students must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit in the major. Students will complete Intermediate or Advanced Greek and/or Latin courses as well as Greek or Latin prose composition – a course which is only available here on campus. Majors in Ancient Civilizations, on the other hand, will complete 30 semester hours (at least 15 must be at the advanced level) in subjects such as Ancient art, history, philosophy or religion, and may include study in Greek and Latin language.

Please note that transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis.



Classics majors should be aware of the demanding language study that their degree requires, and plan study abroad accordingly. If language study (in Greek or Latin) is not available in their chosen study abroad program, if may be difficult for them to stay on track. Further, there is a required composition course that is only available here on campus. Otherwise, many other courses taken abroad can be applied to the Classics or Ancient Civilization major, with departmental approval.

Recommended University of Iowa Programs

Archeological Fieldwork in Sicily

This course is a 5-week field school at the Greco-Roman site of Gangivecchio in Sicily. The site is centered on a 14th century Benedictine Abbey, now the home of the Tornabene family, which sits on a Greco-Roman site, possibly dating from the Greek colonial period, 7th to 6th centuries B.C., all the way up to the 19th century, when the property was purchased by Vincenzo Tornabene in 1856. The school will be strip excavating Particella 19, the site of a Roman villa of the High Roman Empire, with some possible surface survey prospection in the immediate vicinity of the site. The field director will be a Sicilian archaeologist, Dr. Maria Gabriella Cerami of Palermo, who is also the artifact specialist.

Recommended non-UI programs

Currently administered by Duke University, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (ICCS) has over 100 member institutions. The “Centro” in Rome provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to study ancient history, archaeology, Greek and Latin literature, Italian language, and ancient art. The centerpiece of the program is the Ancient City course, which features intensive history taught with the city itself (its streets, monuments, and museums) as its classroom.

The College Year in Athens experience is designed to guide students to a greater understanding and appreciation of Greece—ancient, medieval and modern—and the surrounding region. The academic aim of College Year in Athens has been to enable students to come to grips with their subject matter in ways that are unavailable in other locations and contexts. Like the ICCS in Rome, the program of studies emphasizes in-the-field instruction and direct contact with the sites, monuments, landscape and works of art of Athens and Greece. In addition to many other subject areas, available language courses include Greek and Latin.

Arcadia University Study Abroad features many programs around the classical world, including the Arcadia Center in Athens and several sites in Italy, as well as a summer program that tackles several of these key locations. The Arcadia Center in Athens offers a wide variety of courses that delve into Greek history, politics and culture. Many courses incorporate field-study excursions to sites of historical and cultural importance. All courses, with the exception of the Greek language courses (mandatory for all students), are taught in English.