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Careers and Advising

Department of Classical Studies

 

"What Can I Do with a Degree in Classics? "
What CAN'T you do with a Classics degree?

 

Through the study of Latin and Greek, students acquire and refine analytical and communications skills that make them better able to approach any problem creatively and successfully. Classical Studies fosters excellent study habits and the work ethic needed for success in demanding graduate and professional programs and in real-world careers.

Our interdisciplinary training offers students a uniquely broad perspective on the world through the lenses of texts, artifacts, archaeological sites, and social, cultural, and political institutions. The payoff is real: Classical Studies majors regularly score higher on graduate placement exams in every field including the LSAT, MCAT and GRE. The Princeton Review describes the phenomenon:

We can't overestimate the value of a Classics major. Check this out: according to Association of American Medical Colleges, students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science. Crazy, huh? Furthermore, according to Harvard Magazine, Classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school. Believe it or not: political science, economics, and pre-law majors lag fairly far behind. Even furthermore, Classics majors consistently have some of the highest scores on GREs of all undergraduates.

Career counselor Kathleen Brooks, Ed.D, argues, "Classics majors have taken on a rigorous course of study which requires mental discipline and hard work. Students must have strong attention to details and yet a worldly outlook, not to mention a fascination with history.  Studying the Classics can produce stronger vocabulary skills, an understanding of phonetic principles, logical thinking, problem solving skills, critical analysis of complex information and situations, understanding and appreciating other perspectives, and critical listening skills. A Classics major provides a unique perspective on life, culture, the arts, philosophy, literature, and leadership."

When faced with the the dreaded QUESTION, that "moment when someone learns you're a Classics major and asks: 'What are you going to do with that?!?'," Brooks advises,

Your major is not a hammer. You're not going to "do" anything with it. Your major is a body of knowledge, a way of thinking - the mindsets and skills you have acquired. The more relevant question is: How are you going to apply your knowledge, mindsets and skills in the workplace? In other words, how will your Classics major help you THINK and ACT in whatever career you select? After all, you will have several careers and many jobs over a lifetime and that Classics major in your head will follow you everywhere.

Read the rest of her career advice for Classics majors in Psychology Today.


Our alumni have used their undergraduate training in Classical Studies in nearly every field of work and advanced study.

Medicine:
The study of Latin and Greek provides an excellent linguistic background and gives students the thinking skills and mental discipline crucial for a variety of medical careers.

Law:
Classics also prepares students thoughly for law school, since the study of Greek and Latin hones the analytical and interpretative skills that are necessary in legal investigation.

Teaching:

Millsaps offers the only Classics major in Mississippi that will certify you to teach Latin in Mississippi's public secondary schools. With a minor in Education--just three courses and a semester-long teaching practicum - you'll receive state teaching certification.  See our advising document for more details (PDF).

Teaching is a rewarding way of continuing the Classical tradition. According to the American Classical League, there is a critical shortage of qualified Latin teachers at all levels, in both public and private schools. Latin can also be an excellent secondary field for teachers who specialize in other fields such as math or history, for example. Students who intend to teach Latin in the secondary schools must take 16 hours above the introductory level for teacher certification by the state. However, even students intending to teach Latin in private schools should take additional Latin. We recommend that such students complete a Concentration in Latin by completing a major with 16 additional credits in Latin.

Most private schools do not require teaching licensure. Latin teaching jobs are regularly posted with these placement agencies:

Humanities PhDs:
Naturally, Classical Studies provides essential training for students wishing to pursue advanced degrees in Classical Philology and Archaeology. But undergraduate Classics majors also earn PhDs in a wide range of fields including Theology, Philosophy, Library Science, Comparative Literature, English, History, and Medieval Studies. The Classical Journal has great resources if you are considering graduate study in Classics or Classical Archaeology.

Business:
Are you surprised to find out that many Classics students go on to successful careers in business, accounting, and even marketing?

Behavioral Sciences:
Psychologists and social workers know that by reading the great works of Greece and Rome, they gain empathy and a greater understanding of the human condition.

 


Advising in Classical Studies

What Latin class should you take?
We offer a placement test every Summer for students who have taken Latin in high school. Contact Dr. Sypniewski for more information.

Can I double-major in Classical Studies and something else?
A double-major is an exciting way to bring together two fields of study. Take your cue from our recent graduates who have combined their love of Classics with the following majors:

  • Sociology-Anthropology (especially for students intending to study Classical Archaeology)
  • Religious Studies (especially for students intending to go to seminary or divinity school)
  • English (for the literary-minded and lovers of the Classical tradition)
  • Philosophy (for the abstract thinkers grounded in Classical philosophy)
  • History (for the budding ancient and Medieval historians)
  • Biology (for those students intending to go medical school)