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."

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."

After Skidmore: Jobs in Classics attractively outlines fields of work where training in Classics is especially relevant, and success-stories of Skidmore graduates in very many of them.

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.

Preparing to Pursue a Future within Academia

For some, a branch of Classical Studies is a good career choice. These indexes can help you identify programs in which to acquire the credentials you will need.

Preparing to Pursue a Future beyond Academia

Some Classicists choose to set their career-aims outside the academic world. The Paideia Institute in 2015 formed the Legion Project in order to facilitate networking for Classicists who take their Ph.D.s into nonacademic endeavors. In December 2018 they are premiering the Legion Project Bridge Program, "a career-placement initiative that advises and supports Classicists as they seek to transition to fulfilling careers beyond the professoriate."

This page was updated 20 November 2018 by jlong1@luc.edu.