Loyola University Chicago

Department of Classical Studies

Career Resources

Loyola's Career Development Center makes many useful resources available. They recommend setting up an introductory appointment with one of their counselors to get you started. Their page Career Exploration offers links to planning tools, information about career workshops, libraries of print information, and on-line career guides. For example, What Can I do with This Major - Classics, licensed from the Career Planning staff of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, copyright 2011, makes several important points:

  • "Classics is an interdisciplinary major useful for cultivating verbal, written, and logical reasoning skills and for broadening one’s world view."
  • "A classics major serves as good preparation for graduate study in other analytical subjects such as law, anthropology, history, or English and for research or practice in religion."
  • "Develop excellent writing and research skills."

Be sure to delve deeper into your course of study through study abroad, research, internships, or other experiential learning activities. See our Fellowships, Internships, Fieldwork page for ideas to get you started.

A useful career guide, repeatedly updated, is available through the Society for Classical Studies. It currently treats undergraduate and graduate careers separately, https://classicalstudies.org/book/careers-classicists-undergraduate-edition/careers-classicists-undergraduate-edition and https://classicalstudies.org/book/careers-classicists-graduate-student-edition/careers-classicists-graduate-student-edition respectively. Dr. Kenneth Kitchell (Loyola Classics alum), author of the 1999 and 2012 editions, continues to be credited as new authorial teams have taken over the divided guides.

What are you going to do with THAT?

Classics provides skills that will serve well you in our changing world. But you don't have to take our word for it...

The Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, Creighton University presents statistics and testimonials about Classicists and their careers. Notably, for example, they quote Dorothy Sayers remarking, "I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least 50 percent," and Thomas Turner, M.D., "Having a strong background in Classics has, in my opinion, proved beneficial in my studies of medicine. Doctors don't have to major in Biology to learn how to think and become good physicians. I believe Classical Studies provides that ability as well as any major offered in the college curriculum."

WorldWideLearn remarks, "A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in classical studies is an excellent starting point for any of the humanities or liberal arts specialties that originated from the original classical disciplines ... a BA may be sufficient academic training for a variety of careers in the arts, government and politics, communications, and business--positions that require a broad-based education in human institutions. ... If you decide to pursue a career in the social sciences - such as anthropology, archeology, geography, history, political science, or sociology - you'll find the educational standards are among the highest of all occupations."

On the subject of careers, the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, observes, "What employers appreciate is that Classics provides mental training in a whole range of different disciplines, and produces graduates of exceptional intellectual flexibility. In our world of rapid social and technological change, it is the capacity to react to new and unforeseen developments with flexibility which employers value most, and it is widely recognized that Classics and related subjects produce just the kind of graduate they are looking for, with an unparalleled capacity to adapt to new circumstances and learn new skills." Some things really never do go out of date!

Craig Scott, in a 2010 article "What to do with a degree in Classics" in The Guardian, remarks, "Studying classics will highlight your ability to learn and comprehend challenging subjects. You will also develop your ability to research, collate and analyse materials and learn to critically evaluate resources in order to formulate arguments, which you can present competently. You will be able to work alone or within a team and to think imaginatively."

And then there's the paragraphs from The Princeton Review that Classics departments everywhere rejoice to quote: "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. Shocked? Don't be. One reason Classics majors are so successful is that they completely master grammar. Medical terminology, legal terminology, and all those ridiculously worthless vocabulary words on the GRE (and the SAT) have their roots in Greek and Latin. Ultimately, though, Classics majors get on well in life because they develop intellectual rigor, communications skills, analytical skills, the ability to handle complex information, and, above all, a breadth of view which few other disciplines can provide."

Periodically, news features report other benefits of Classical studies; they often focus on college admissions, where instruments like the SAT make it easy to quantify Latin students' superior skills (2010 SAT mean verbal scores: Latin students 678, French students 633, German students 626, Hebrew students 612, Spanish students 561, as opposed to a mean verbal score of 501 overall, noted by Bolchazy.com). Similar data has shown that Classics majors have the highest GPAs and LSAT scores among law school applicants (2013: Legal Education). But the benefits that underpin successful schooling achieve their real value throughout careers and lives.

What kind of work do Classics majors do?

Where recent graduates of Loyola classics can be found (in addition to graduate school)...

  • Medical School
  • Law School
  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Contract Archaeology
  • Software Development
  • Teaching

Some of our best friends have jobs in...

  • Advertising
  • Archaeology
  • Archives
  • Arts Commentary
  • College/University Presidency
  • Computer Programming
  • Fiction
  • Film and Television Consulting
  • Financial Consulting
  • Foreign Service
  • Foundations
  • Government
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Historical Societies
  • Information Management
  • Journalism
  • Judiciary
  • Labor Relations
  • Law
  • Libraries
  • Literary Editing
  • Market Research
  • Medicine
  • Ministry
  • Museums
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Research Assistance
  • Sales
  • Scholarship
  • Speechwriting
  • Teaching
  • Theater
  • Tourism
  • Translating

Additional training is required in some cases, but it is with other majors, too; and a Classics degree looks good on applications, since it shows you can master a complex subject and express yourself well.

Assorted Former Classics Students, or, the Road to Success

Most famous classicist -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); BA in Classics at Holy Cross. Dr. Fauci has spoken about how his education in classics at a Jesuit institution influenced in an interview on NPR and in the New Yorker article, "How Anthony Fauci Became America’s Doctor."

  • Ben Bradlee, Joint Chairman of the International Advisory Board, Independent Media Group; author; formerly Executive Editor of the Washington Post
  • Rita Mae Brown, author (fiction, poetry, non-fiction)
  • William S. Cohen, author (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry); former U.S. Representative and Senator; Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration
  • John Darnielle, lead singer of the Mountain Goats
  • Nathaniel Fick, Afghanistan war veteran and memoirist
  • Mary Ann Hopkins, Professor of Surgery and Doctor Without Borders
  • David Karp, Fruit Detective
  • David Packard, co-founder and first CEO of Hewlett Packard
  • Lynn Sherr, Correspondent for ABC News; author
  • Ted Turner, Chairman of the Turner Foundation; founder of Cable News Network and Turner Network Television; owner of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks
  • Garry Wills, scholar of cultural history and author; professor of History at Northwestern University
  • Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook (2004 profile by The Harvard Crimson; 2009 article about Latin on Facebook by cnet news) 
  • Link to rogueclassicist's index of holders of Classics degrees

Thoughts of Those Who Have Been There, Done That

This page was updated 7 August 2023