Classics and Ancient History

Welcome to the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of New Brunswick, the oldest Classics Department and English language university in Canada! Founded by Loyalists in 1785 as an academy for the study of the Classics, instruction in the early years focused on Greek and Latin literature, history, rhetoric and literary criticism.


Today the department has expanded its offerings and provides programs in ancient civilization for both graduate and undergraduate students in Classics, Classical Studies and Archaeology.  A wide range of  courses are offered including ancient myth and religion, literature in translation, philosophy, art and archaeology from the Bronze Age to Byzantine times.

These offerings are enhanced with study abroad programs, field schools and summer intersession courses in Italy, Greece and Turkey. With the establishment of The Centre for Hellenic Studies in 2007 the department now offers courses in the Modern Greek language, literature, and history that provide students with the opportunity to trace the continuation and evolution of the classical tradition into modern times.

What is Classics?

The word Classics is a term which students often find confusing and many interpret it as ‘great books’ of literature (Shakespeare, Milton) or associate it with ‘classical music’.  However, it is really used to define the oldest discipline in the humanities. It is an area of study which embraces all cultural aspects of the Greek and Roman worlds and the societies (Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Anatolian, and European) with which these two cultures interacted. The period of study may extend from prehistoric to Mediaeval/Byzantine and post-Byzantine times and encompass the language, literature, history, religion, science, philosophy, art and archaeology of each culture.

It is therefore the first truly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of study that includes both the arts and sciences and has profoundly influenced eastern and especially western cultures.  Classical studies therefore enable students to trace the continuation and evolution of the classical tradition into contemporary society.  Reception of classical culture for example is clearly evident in such literary works as Milton’s Paradise Lost (inspired from Vergil’s works), in the appropriation of Greek and Roman political institutions (democracy, republicanism), medical and scientific terminology (gynaecology, telephone, etc.) and in the film and TV industries, with such productions as Gladiator, Troy or Stargate.


It is the ideal liberal arts degree that provides a solid foundation for basic modern language skills and communication, travel and career opportunities, graduate studies and personal enrichment and enjoyment.  By studying Classics we are able to understand our past and those individuals who through their classical education and ideals helped shape contemporary society. And more importantly, it is a starting point for those wishing to pursue a career in law, business, medicine, writing, technology, teaching, theology, architecture and politics.  And there is an added bonus, for according to students it is fun may even become famous!

1. Harvard Magazine (November-December 2011): Mark Zuckerberg Facebook co-founder and CEO studied the classics at Harvard! He created a site to assist students with the study of Roman antiquities!

2. the London Times: "...shrewd employers, including many in the City, still prefer job-applicants whose minds were formed by Aeschylus or Horace" (London Times, 11 April 1991)

3. Harvard Magazine: "Law schools report that by yardsticks of law review and grades, their top students come from math, the Classics, and literature - with political science, economics, "pre - law," and "legal studies" ranking lower" (Harvard Magazine, May-June (1998) 50.)

4. NewsWeek "...I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates." (NewsWeek, 29 Oct 2001)

Or on a more entertaining note: “Because it enables you to understand the Latin quote on Angelina Jolie’s belly...” Cosmo Magazine (8/2004)

Or you may become famous like Frank Lampard, soccer player of the year, and earn £99,000 per week!

For more information on career opportunities in Classics and Classical Studies log on to: