Saint Michael's Classics

Exercise your mind with rigor and precision as a Saint Michael's Latin major, then flex your old-school thinking muscle in the modern world, as our students and graduates do each day as scholars, lawyers, librarians, businessmen and teachers. 

Excursions into classical literature and study travels to Europe help you discover that for excitement and substantial clues to the meaning of life, ancient Rome is not only where it's been, but where it's at.

Your early Latin courses give you facility to read -- in the original -- timeless literature that challenges, expands and pleases your mind and soul. Other courses immerse you in Roman culture and civilization, sometimes through literature in translation. Many of these classes also help fulfill the college’s liberal arts requirements.

All Latin majors take a full year of Latin, and then must take four additional reading courses. You also have a choice of related courses in translation, whether from the Classics, Humanities, History, Religious Studies or Philosophy departments. One popular course, taught by religious studies scholar Jeffrey Trumbower, is Judaism in the Greco-Roman World. Our students also have read Saint Augustine in Latin with John Kenney, an internationally prominent Augustine scholar. Others have done one-on-one tutorial reading of St. Thomas Aquinas with one of our beloved resident Edmundite priests. 

Your senior experience is a seminar, with the goal that you’ll be able to pick up and read and understand Latin literature on sight, without the help of the commentaries and dictionaries upon which you might rely in earlier courses.

Latin Major Requirements

Latin Minor Requirements

Sample Four Year Plan for Latin Majors*

First Year
Fall    Spring
LA 101 Introduction to Latin LA 211 Intermediate Latin
First Year Seminar CL 113 History of Rome
  Liberal Studies courses    Liberal Studies courses 
  Fall   Spring
LA 310  Directed Readings in Latin Literature   Classics elective
Liberal Studies courses Liberal Studies courses
  Fall    Spring 
LA 310 Directed Readings in Latin Literature  LA 310 Directed Readings in Latin Literature
  Electives    Electives 
  Fall   Spring 
LA 310 Directed Readings in Latin Literature  LA 410 Senior Seminar in Latin 
  Electives    Electives 

This is just one of many possible sequences. If, for example, you spend a semester abroad or choose to double-major in another discipline, you can adjust your plan accordingly.

* For students who enroll in the fall of 2018.

Ronald Begley, PhD

Professor of Philosophy and Latin

Contact Professor Begley

Saint Edmund's Hall 236
Box 373
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M.A., Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A. Haverford College;

I specialize in ancient philosophy, the scholastic-humanist debate, Pascal, Newman and Kierkegaard.

James Conley, PhD

Associate Professor of Classical and Modern Languages: Latin, Emeritus

Contact Professor Conley

Saint Edmund's Hall 245
Box 278
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M.A., Ph.D. Loyola University of Chicago
B.A. Duquesne University

I enjoy showing students how, in reaching back to antiquity, we can see how lives were affected by issues, events, and developments that are still having an influence within human society today.

I believe that through teaching and learning, one enters into a world of growth and change, no matter what the historical time-frame.

Courses I Teach:

  • Classical Epic
  • Classical Mythology
  • Directed Reading in Latin literature
  • Greek & Roman Theater
  • History of Greece

Your opportunities as a Latin student are only limited by your imagination.

As a result of the strength of our department and our students, Saint Michael's has many special collections and opportunities available to those interested in studying Latin.

First, we enjoy a long-term affiliation with the Rome Center, sponsored by Loyola University of Chicago. Students take courses at the Center and utilize fantastic opportunities to travel to classical sites within the city of Rome. One of our students was recently named a Politi International Fellow and received a $5,000 grant to support her research and study abroad: exploring Latin and Greek texts at St. Andrew's University in Scotland. You’ll also have access to an impressive special collection of 4,000 classics books, a gift from two nationally eminent scholars who admire our program. Summer courses are available in Rome studying Latin at classical sites, which you might take advantage of as several Saint Mike’s students have through the years.

Some Latin graduates go into law or medicine. One worked at a bindery for ancient Buddhist texts in California prior to attending a top library grad school. A graduate who ended up at dental school gratefully shared how he uses logical processes learned in Latin class to diagnose and analyze problems in his field. On the scholastic side, another recent graduate is specializing in Minoan civilization at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland; another is pursuing a graduate degree at Boston Colleges; still another recently completed a post-baccalaureate year at University of Pennsylvania (history graduate work in medieval studies).

The common theme is the solid foundation Latin helped them build.

To prepare directly for teaching Latin in secondary school, you might double-major in education and Latin (see Education for more details). However, some Latin graduates with an interest in teaching go on to get a master of arts in teaching either at Saint Michael’s or elsewhere. One program in Rhode Island enables you to live after graduation in community with others hoping to teach specifically in Catholic schools. We’ve trained future high school classics and Latin teachers, well-rounded businessmen and graduate students in classical languages, romance languages, ancient history, medieval history, philosophy and theology. 

Teach Latin in secondary school. Move on to dental school. Bind ancient Buddhist texts. Do anything else where strong thinking skills are valued. Latin will prepare you for it.

To find out more about what our graduates are doing, visit our Latin Alumni Profiles.

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