Latin

UNDERGRADUATE MAJOR

A Latin major allows you to read, in the original, works of immense cultural and literary significance by the great writers of ancient Rome. It opens up intellectual vistas vital for anyone interested in exploring the past or navigating the present: Latin is the direct ancestor of nearly fifty modern languages and a major contributor to the vocabulary of many others, including English; it was the language of European literature, history, science, medicine, diplomacy and law for nearly two thousand years.

A major in Latin gives you an advanced ability to read and critically analyse Latin literature. Latin majors study a wide variety of important works from key periods in the development of this hugely influential literature, gaining an understanding of its themes, preoccupations and Roman cultural significance. Linguistic ability is developed as you progress through a series of units that introduce, practise and then analyse in context Latin morphology and syntax. You may begin either at introductory level, if you have no prior knowledge of Latin, or at intermediate level if you have studied Latin previously to HSC-level (or equivalent). The culmination of the major for all students is in-depth study and nuanced appreciation of celebrated Roman authors.

For more information, visit the Department of Classics and Ancient History website.

Study plan

There are two pathways through a Latin major: one if you have not studied Latin to HSC-level (or equivalent), and one if you have. These pathways merge at the intermediate level (LATN2600).

For a major in Latin, the minimum requirement is 36 senior-intermediate or senior-advanced credit points in Latin. This must include at least 6 credit points at senior-advanced level (LATN3000).

The non-HSC stream:
Over the course of first year, you acquire most of the fundamental syntactic and morphological rules of Latin. You will study one unit per semester, and reach a comparable standard of linguistic knowledge at the end of the year to that of students who have studied Latin in secondary school to HSC-level. This means that you will be equipped with most of the basic knowledge and skills that enable you to comprehend texts written in Latin.

You can enter this stream either as a first year student (and complete the junior units coded LATN1600 and LATN1601) or as a second or third year student (and complete units coded LATN2620 and LATN2621). The latter option allows students who have decided to major in ancient history, classical archaeology, medieval studies and other fields to gain the competence in Latin they need to complete or complement their own studies.

During your second year, you will be in a class with students who have studied Latin to HSC-level. You complete the core units, LATN2600 (Intermediate Latin 1) and LATN2601 (Intermediate Latin 2). In the second semester you also have the option of studying a 3000 level unit on Latin epic (LATN3601 Ovid’s Metamorphoses or LATN3602 Virgil’s Aeneid). You will meet some more complex syntactical and grammatical concepts, but the main focus of the year will be training you to read and analyse Latin literary texts. You will be introduced to critical terminology and theory, and will begin to explore in depth the literary output of classical Rome.

In third year you complete a compulsory unit, LATN3600 (Advanced Latin), where you receive advanced training in the translation and analysis of Latin literature. You will read a work of literature that allows you to display and develop your skills in critical analysis, and will also spend time every week honing your skills in translation and grammatical analysis. In the second semester of this year, you can take a senior-advanced unit on Latin epic, and there will also be two senior-advanced literary units (one in first and one in second semester) in which you will read and research key works of Latin literature.

The ex-HSC stream:
If you have studied Latin to HSC-level, you enter straight into the Intermediate level of Latin study at the University of Sydney. You complete the core units, LATN2600 (Intermediate Latin 1) and LATN2601 (Intermediate Latin 2). You also have the option of studying a 3000-level unit on Latin epic in your second semester (LATN3601 Ovid’s Metamorphoses or LATN3602 Virgil’s Aeneid). You will spend some time studying complex syntactical and grammatical concepts, but the main focus of the year will be training you to read and analyse Latin literary texts. You will be introduced to critical terminology and theory, and will begin to explore in depth the literary output of classical Rome.

In second year you complete a final compulsory unit, LATN3600 (Advanced Latin), where you receive advanced training in the translation and analysis of Latin literature. In it, you will read a work of literature that allows you to display and develop your skills in critical analysis, and will also spend time every week honing your skills in translation and grammatical analysis. In the second semester, you will be able to take a senior-advanced unit on Latin epic, and there will also be two senior-advanced literary units (one in first and one in second semester) in which you will read and research key works of Latin literature.

In the third year of your Latin major you can take two more senior-advanced literary units (again, one in first and one in second semester), as well as a unit in Roman epic if you didn’t take it in first year. In all these advanced literature units, you will read important works of Latin literature and discuss them in detail in class with your fellow students and lecturer, as well as writing a substantial research essay.

To achieve a Latin major, you need to have completed 36 credit points at senior-intermediate (2000) and senior-advanced (3000) level.

For more information on pathways through the Latin major, see the online handbook.

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Arts, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

Ancient History, Greek (Ancient)

Our courses that offer this major