Classics programmes in Canada

Many of Canada’s universities offer distinctive classics programmes. Alison Keith outlines the wealth of topics available to students.

The Classical Association of Canada promotes the study of the languages, literatures, history, archaeology, philosophy and civilisation of the ancient Greco-Roman world, their later influence and creative presence in contemporary culture. The Association supports high school and university programmes in classics and administers competitions in classical research and language skills. The CAC Undergraduate Essay Contests showcase the research of undergraduate students, while the CAC National Greek and Latin Sight Translation Competitions challenge the language skills of high school and undergraduate students.

Distinctive programmes in classics can be found across Canada. At the University of British Columbia, Classics is part of a unique department consisting of experts in Near Eastern and Religious Studies as well as classicists. UBC students can take courses in Egyptian and Hebrew, as well as Greek and Latin, and can study these ancient cultures comparatively. At the University of Victoria, the Department of Greek and Roman Studies offers courses in ancient Greece and Rome - its literature and philosophy, history and archaeology - with or without the study of Greek and Latin, and even abroad through its International Field School Program.

Classics programmes in Canada

“Distinctive programmes in classics can be found across Canada”

At the University of Alberta, students can travel to the School in Cortona and enrol in a variety of liberal arts courses, with a special focus on classics: instead of studying classical antiquity in a textbook, students travel to see Pompeii. The Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Calgary has particular strengths in Roman social history, military history, Greek and Roman epic, and neo-Latin. York University in Toronto has distinctive strengths in ancient social history, employing a pan-Mediterranean approach to classical studies, asking fresh questions and adapting methods developed in other disciplines to address questions of relevance to us today.

The Department of Classics at the University of Toronto is the largest and most diverse in Canada and among the most comprehensive in North America. Maintaining a fundamental commitment to the study of the Greek and Latin languages and texts, Toronto offers high-level training across the entire discipline of classics, including ancient history and material culture, textual criticism, ancient philosophy, religion, sexuality, law and political thought.

Brock University in St. Catharines offers overseas opportunities on annual study tours and archaeological practica, as well as a full range of courses taught by a dynamic young faculty. In the nation’s capital, the University of Ottawa gives students the opportunity to study, live and play in English, French or both. The Department of Classics and Religious Studies specialises in a wide range of fields that converge in the field of Late Antiquity, the transition from the Greco-Roman period to the early Middle Ages, where the spread of Christianity played an important part.

In Montreal, Classical Studies at McGill University offers a rigorous yet flexible curriculum for undergraduates, with particular strengths in classical literature and ancient history, taught in a dynamic and diverse city. The Dalhousie Classics Department in Halifax cultivates a longstanding curricular strength in Ancient Philosophy and its legacy in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in addition to offering courses in the history, literature, and languages - Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Classical Arabic.

Written by Alison Keith
President, 2010-2012
Classical Association of Canada