Study them for word-power.
The study of the classical languages, even for a short while in your academic career, will improve your understanding of English and the Romance languages, and hence your language- and communication-skills. By learning to "read slowly" in the tradition of classical philology, you can get excellent insights into language's beauty, its dynamics, its limitations, its strengths. Thus you can become a better writer and a more effective speaker even while you improve your verbal scores on standardized entrance exams and prepare for yourself an easy way into the study of other languages, particularly French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
Study them for a good education.
Classical studies can provide a unique coherence, depth, and breadth in your undergraduate program, offering variety, flexibility, and scope. They allow you access to the best possible foundations for a liberal arts education (a concept that itself derives from the classical tradition).
Study them for an even better education.
You can use classical studies to strengthen your knowledge and credentials, even if your main focus lies in a related field, e.g., theology, philosophy, law, political science, medicine, Biblical studies, history of science, spirituality, religious studies, patristics, archaeology, anthropology, literary studies, history, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, Byzantine Studies, history of art, aesthetics, linguistics, philology, paleography, creative writing, rhetoric, communications, cultural criticism, mythology, theory and history of education, et cetera.
Study them for self-knowledge.
No one can understand our world today without a knowledge of Western civilization, and no one can understand Western civilization without a knowledge of the major cultures that gave rise to it. Classical studies provide an easy way into much of that essential cultural-historical background. They are the "royal road" (the via regia) to important moments, ideas, personalities, and movements in Western-World cultural history.
Study them for wisdom.
Classical studies allow for exposure to a vast range of significant personalities, influential writings, and wisdom literature that is relevant to all times. They help us to "grow up."
"Not knowing what happened before you were born is to be stuck in childhood forever. What does a person's life amount to without the historical consciousness that weaves one's life into the life of earlier generations?"
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur? Cicero, Orator XXXIV .
Study them for joy.
For all their practical value (intellectual, cultural, and personal), classical studies can also be one of the most challenging, exciting, inspiring undertakings of your life. Study them for the enjoyment they offer. Carpe diem!
Study them for "us," and study them for someone else.
Without the study of the humanities, which importantly include the classical humanities, our self-understanding and our society will be lacking something essential for well-being. Our community-making shared past, and all of our advances will be in jeopardy. Responsible citizenship and responsible stewardship demand a decisive investment in humanities education. Classical studies can be a service and a vocation.
You can easily incorporate into your undergraduate degree program a certificate in Greek or Latin or Classical Humanities by using existing core-requirements. Our department also offers a minor in Greek or Latin, a major in Greek and Latin Language and Literature, and a major in Classical Humanities. See the page on Program requirements.
We have excellent library resources to support both classical and post-classical Latin and Greek studies. Saint Louis University provides on its campus abundant and easy web-access, and it hosts the Latin Teaching Materials website. Saint Louis University also has the great resources of the Vatican Film Library and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
We have a small but dedicated core faculty that works with other classically-related faculty on campus in other departments like English, philosophy, theological studies, history, fine and performing arts. We can help you to pursue your leading interests and to attain an excellent foundation in the classical languages. Sapere aude!
For questions about placement and/or credit in Latin at SLU, click here.