Languages and Cultures


Classics is the interdisciplinary study of the ancient Greek and Roman peoples and their interactions with other populations and cultures in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It is an attempt to understand the origins of western society through study of Greek and Latin languages, literature, history, archaeology, art, religion, and philosophy. Classics is fascinating and practical, and its students are capable and successful. They are agile, visionary thinkers and articulate, persuasive global citizens. Classics students are professionals who pursue multiple career paths. They become outstanding teachers, lawyers, elected officials, diplomats, writers, editors, journalists, education and arts administrators, museum curators, doctors, nurses, information technology specialists, and business professionals. Students may major and minor in Ancient Mediterranean Studies or Classical Languages tracks.

Learning Goals

Classics students are:

Deep intellectuals who understand the interconnections of our world.
  • They evaluate how the cultures of ancient Greeks and Romans and their neighbors shape the modern world on a global scale.
  • They understand how to use these cultures to develop comparative models of thought and behavior leading to enhanced self-understanding.
Creative problem-solvers who can devise multiple solutions for a conundrum.
  • They apply analytical skills in language study and in at least three of the following fields: literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art and archaeology.
  • They utilize this interdisciplinary skillset to solve important problems in the study of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.
Language experts who understand others and are masters of self-expression.
  • They understand and engage other cultures through effective analysis of their language structures and close textual reading.
  • They synthesize excellent communication skills, including the ability to translate, write, and present in multimedia formats.
Intercultural diplomats who are attuned to difference and thrive in its presence.
  • They demonstrate awareness of cultural difference in language, art, politics, gender, race and ethnicity, religion, and/or socio-economics.
  • They apply this insight when examining intellectual, professional, and personal questions to better themselves and act with empathy.”

Study Abroad:

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University routinely ranks in the top five schools in the nation for the strength of our study abroad programming. Every year Bennies and Johnnies move across the globe to experience life in other countries and apply what they learn in the classrooms of CSB+SJU to the world beyond. Check out our Center for Global Education for our many program possibilities and how to pursue them.

The Classics program values study abroad, too! At present, our most important international opportunities are our study abroad programs in Greece and Italy, now running for more than 30 years! These programs are based on a Classical curriculum and involve excursions throughout Greece and Italy, including site visits at Olympia, Delphi, Pompeii, and Florence. Every year many of our students take part in these programs, to see where Socrates reset the path of philosophy as he walked the agora, where ancient artists and architects built cities that inspired the world (then and now), where citizens fought for their right to govern themselves in democracies and republics. In these, our most popular, study abroad programs, Classics majors and minors have the edge!

The classical languages major and minor, ancient Mediterranean studies major, Greek minor, and Latin minor will be gradually discontinued beginning Fall 2023. Students who were enrolled at CSB and SJU prior to Fall 2023 will be able to continue in these majors and minors and all appropriate opportunities will be available to them through Spring 2026. All students may continue to minor in ancient Mediterranean studies and take the Latin language sequence (111, 112, and 211).
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Jeff DuBois
Chair, Languages and Cultures Department
CSB Richarda P32

Jennifer Schwichtenberg
Department Coordinator
CSB Richarda P38
SJU Quad 253A