Latin Degrees: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a Latin degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and a bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Latin: Degrees at a Glance

In a Latin degree program, you'll learn the language from which much of modern English is derived. You'll study prose and poetry as you master the rhythm and cadence of authors such as Cicero, Ovid and Catullus. By the time you're done with your studies, you'll not only know Latin, but you'll have a much broader understanding of English as well.

A degree in Latin is not for everyone. There are few careers outside of academia for which a degree in Latin would come in handy. Neither an associate's nor a bachelor's degree program prepares you for teaching the language at the college level. For that, you'll most likely need a doctorate.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this Degree for? - Individuals who want a basic grounding in a second language
- People interested in pursuing a career for which a general associate's degree is necessary
- Individuals who want to teach Latin at the high school level
- Those who need a general bachelor's degree to pursue their desired careers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) This degree will not prepare you for any specific career - High school Latin teacher ($56,000)*
- Freelance writer ($68,000; does not represent entry-level salary)*
Time to Completion Two years full time Four years full time
Common Graduation Requirements None Requirements vary between programs, but may include a semester studying abroad, a graduate thesis and/or a language proficiency test
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma
Online Availability Individual courses available. Associate's degree programs are very rare Hybrid programs available as well as individual courses

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's Degree in Latin

These programs are designed to provide you with a thorough knowledge of classical Latin. You'll begin by studying basic grammar and syntax rules, memorizing vocabulary and translating simple sentences. As you advance, you'll learn about the more complex declensions and conjugations while continuing to expand your Latin vocabulary. By the time you get to the second year of your program, you'll be expected to translate whole passages and speeches of classical authors. You'll also start to read Latin poetry, learning about scansion as you study the rhythm and meter of classical verse.

Pros and Cons


  • A thorough knowledge of Latin will most likely help expand your English vocabulary
  • You'll be finished with your studies in two years
  • These programs are generally offered at community colleges, which feature more affordable tuition than most 4-year schools


  • This degree will not prepare you for any one specific job or career
  • If you want to teach Latin at the college level, you have to stay in school an additional 2-6 years
  • Very few schools in the U.S. offer an associate's degree program in Latin

Courses and Requirements

These programs generally require four semesters of Latin. Latin 1 and 2 will be introductory courses. In Latin 3, you'll face more in-depth translating. In Latin 4, you'll study classical poetry. Some programs may offer these final two semesters in the reverse order, studying poetry first and moving on to more in-depth prose translation in the final semester. In addition to these courses, you'll also enroll in other electives to balance out your curriculum.

Online Degree Options

While online associate's degree programs in Latin are nearly non-existent, a host of online Latin courses are available. These range from non-credit courses offered to the general public to for-credit courses offered by leading colleges and universities. If you're thinking about enrolling in a Latin degree program, but are intimidated by the otherness of a foreign language, you may want to look into a free online introductory course. You may find you have a knack for Latin.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

If you're enrolled in a 2-year degree program in classical Latin, you may choose to continue your education at some point, in pursuit of a 4-year degree. With that in mind, you'll want to have as high a grade-point average as possible, to attract the eye of the admissions committee that will review your transcripts. Some of these programs allow you to supplement your Latin courses with other language courses. If this is the case, you might want to consider taking classic Greek in addition to the Latin. This may impress the Classics department of your desired transfer school.

Bachelor's Degree in Latin

These 4-year programs are often interdisciplinary in nature, featuring courses in classical studies, art history, archeology, comparative religion, history and more. You'll take the same four Latin language courses that are offered at the associate's degree level. Augmenting your coursework will be classes in ancient Rome and Roman culture. In your third year, you'll enroll in upper-level language courses, featuring in-depth study of authors such as Vergil, Tacitus, Petronius and more.

Many programs feature a study-abroad option, where students spend a semester or two in Italy learning about ancient Roman culture. Most programs also allow you to choose from amongst several concentrations within the program. You can study Latin language, Latin and Greek or Roman culture.

Pros and Cons


  • Some colleges offer a 5-year program, which awards you both a bachelor's and a master's degree
  • Because Latin has such an impact on our own language, studying Latin is an effective academic preparation for fields such as medicine and law
  • Study-abroad programs allow you to experience different cultures


  • May not prepare you for a wide range of careers
  • If you plan on teaching at the high school level, it may make more sense to major in education and minor in Latin
  • Teaching Latin at the college level requires you to stay in school in pursuit of your doctorate

Courses and Requirements

In addition to your core Latin courses, you'll also be required to take general education courses in the math, science and social science disciplines. Below are some core course topics you might encounter.

  • Ancient civilizations
  • Classical Latin literature
  • Roman archeology
  • Gender relations in ancient Rome

Online Degree Options

It is difficult to find a completely online bachelor's degree program in Latin. However, hybrid programs are available that utilize distance-learning for a number of courses and traditional classroom instruction for the balance. A host of individual Latin courses are also taught online. Many institutions offer the first several semesters of Latin programs in an online format. Third- and 4th-year upper-level courses, in which you spend the entire semester reading a text such as Cicero's De Natura Deorum, are more difficult to find online.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

If your plan is to teach Latin at the high school level, you may want to pursue a teaching certificate while you're completing your Latin studies. Some programs offer a teaching certificate option that makes it easier for you to be ready to pursue teaching opportunities upon graduating. A small number of elementary school Latin programs still exist in the U.S.; if you want to teach Latin to elementary school students, you might want to consider minoring in elementary education.

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