Classical Studies, a program within the Humanities Department, explores the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, from the Aegean Bronze Age and Minoan-Mycenaean civilization to Late Antiquity, the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, and the early Byzantine period. It advances interdisciplinary research into Greco-Roman literature, society, history, philosophy, religion, theatre, art, and the relationship of ancient Mediterranean cultures to one another in antiquity and post-antiquity through the study of classical languages, reception studies, mythology, anthropology, and archaeology. Gaining knowledge and developing an understanding from examining literary and material evidence of ancient Greece and Rome is intended to enable students to formulate theories about many facets of life in these civilizations which relate to contemporary life and culture.

Many students take classical studies courses to fulfill core curriculum language, fine arts, and diversity requirements, and to prepare for teaching or graduate studies. All undergraduate students are offered classical language courses at the introductory and intermediate levels, and a variety of upper-level literature courses (in the original languages) in such authors as Vergil, Ovid, Cicero, Caesar, Homer, Herodotus, and Plato. An increasing number of courses are offered online to distance students.

Undergraduates major or minor in classical studies with a concentration in either classical civilization or classical languages (ancient Greek and Latin). Majors must complete the senior classics capstone course and may opt to concentrate in just Latin. There is a combined B.A./M.A. degree program.

The Master of Arts degree program in classical studies is offered on campus and online, and currently has two tracks: Latin, and classical languages (ancient Greek and Latin). A classical culture track is in development. The ability to read classical scholarship in French, German, or Italian is required. Some graduate courses can be taken by non-matriculated students. Courses for the M.A. in classical studies are available fully online.


Departments/programs/subject areas supported

The mission of the classical studies program at Villanova University is to provide a multi-disciplinary learning experience for the study of the epoch and ethos of ancient Greece and Rome. Students may gain linguistic skills in learning ancient Greek and Latin and then develop these skills further as they translate and analyze literary works in the original languages, from the 8th century BC epics of the Greek poet Homer to the 4th century AD theological works of Saint Augustine.

While the classical studies program is concerned first and foremost with Latin and ancient Greek languages and literatures, it promotes an understanding of the foundations of Western civilization and complements a wide variety of scholarly fields, including linguistics, literature, theater, art, architecture, engineering, history, law, economics, political science, philosophy, theology, science, medicine, sociology and diversity studies (gender, race, ethnicity, etc.).

The classical studies program speaks directly to the mission of Villanova University as a Catholic Augustinian institution in that it fosters scholarship on the historical and literary context for the beginnings of Christianity and the life and works of Augustine.

Primary departments/programs:

  • Classical Studies Program, undergraduate and graduate
  • Department of Humanities, undergraduate

Cognate departments/programs:

  • Art History, undergraduate
  • Augustine and Culture Seminar, undergraduate
  • Cultural Studies, undergraduate
  • Ethics, undergraduate
  • Gender and Women's Studies, undergraduate and graduate
  • Global Interdisciplinary Studies, undergraduate
  • History, undergraduate and graduate
  • Honors, undergraduate
  • Liberal Studies, undergraduate and graduate
  • Philosophy, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral
  • Theatre, undergraduate and graduate
  • Theology, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral

Resources Collected

Print is the preferred format, especially for monographic or other longform literature.

Essential print series:

  • Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt
  • Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana
  • Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis (Oxford Classical Texts)
  • Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries
  • Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics
  • Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft
  • Loeb Classical Library
  • Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch bis zum ausgehenden 13
  • Novum glossarium mediae latinitatis
  • Prosopographia Imperii Romani
  • Thesaurus Linguae Latinae

Digital format is common for journal literature, reference materials, reserve materials such as adopted textbooks, and online surrogates of older books in the public domain.

Essential electronic resources:

  • L’Année Philologique
  • Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt
  • Bibliotheca Teubneriana Latina (BTL)
  • Brepols' Library of Latin Texts
  • Brill's New Jacoby
  • Brill's New Pauly
  • Digital Loeb Classical Library
  • Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG)
  • Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL)

Resources and materials collected selectively or by request:

Multi-media resources are typically acquired only on request. Video streaming is preferred.

Resources not collected:

Microforms of any kind.


Collaborations within the library

Humanities liaison team, consisting of librarians for: Humanities/Classics/Theology, Philosophy/Ethics, English/Theatre/Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program.