The Department

The Greek and Latin programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are as old as the university itself. Among the five professors in residence when the university opened its doors in the fall of 1871 were a professor of Greek and a professor of Latin. The university's original 1867 charter also called for the appointment of a Professor of Theology and the History of All Religions. In 1998 the original intention of the university's founders was fulfilled when the department became the Department of Classics and Religious Studies, two humanities fields of study that share common interests in text, language and history.

Majors and Minors

The department offers two majors.

1. Classical Languages offers training in Latin and Classical Greek, with a heavy emphasis on the ability to read and comprehend ancient Classical literature.
2. The Classics and Religious Studies major is a joint major; students select from a menu of core courses, and are also required to specialize in either Classics or Religious Studies.

Classics is the study of ancient Greece and Rome, including their history, culture, art, archaeology and literature. Classics students select courses from three areas:

1) Arts and archaeology;
2) Language, Thought, and Literature;
3) Historical Studies. The study of classics leads students to develop clarity of vision and an objective approach in dealing with the world around them. Classics students are encouraged to study Greek or Latin.

Religious Studies is a multi-disciplinary field, employing historical, comparative and critical methods to study religion in its different dimensions of myth and ritual, theology, experience, ethics, and community. Religious Studies students select courses from three areas:

1) The Nature of Religion;
2) Scriptural Studies;
3) The Study of Religious Traditions. Religions presently studied in the department include Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Religious Studies students are encouraged to study Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, Koine Greek, and Latin. Minors are also available in Classics, Classical Greek, Latin, and Religious Studies.

Language instruction is available in Modern Standard Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, Coptic, Middle Egyptian, Classical Greek, and Latin.


A degree in Classics and Religious Studies or in Classical Languages is good preparation for advanced study in Classics or Religious Studies. Students from the department also go on to graduate degrees in law, the ministry, counseling, or the medical professions. Students who go directly into the working world find positions in government, business, industry, and non-profit organizations.

Clarence Forbes Scholarship