Undergraduate Resources

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Timeless lessons for today's world

Prospective Undergraduate Student

Major in Classics and Religious Studies

The Classics and Religious Studies major brings together two fields of study that overlap in interesting ways—the study of the civilizations and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, and the study of ancient and modern religions broadly conceived. It is an interdisciplinary major with two areas of emphasis, one in Classics and one in Religious Studies. The field of Classics encompasses a wide range of courses in the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome—their languages, literature, history, and material culture. The field of Religious Studies will acquaint students with the world's religious traditions, great and small, their histories, sacred writings, and how they are practiced and lived in the world today.

The major serves as excellent preparation for careers in any number of fields, such as law, medicine, journalism, ministry, business, and education. Depending on your chosen emphasis, this major also provides you with an excellent background to pursue graduate work in classical languages and literature, classical archaeology, ancient history, religious studies, literary scholarship, and other disciplines in the humanities.

Why Nebraska for Classics & Religious Studies?

  • You can expect to enroll in core courses taught by experienced faculty, offering even the first year student the opportunity to develop a working relationship with a senior professor. Students receive a level of personal attention which is rare at a major research university.
  • You have a unique opportunity to study ancient languages including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Tibetan, and Arabic.
  • Our faculty have joint appointments with other departments and programs including Digital Humanities, Judaic Studies, Archeology, History, Women and Gender Studies, Anthropology, Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
  • You will be encouraged to further your experience with education abroad. Recent trips abroad have been led to Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Japan.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to work individually on joint faculty-student research projects in the college’s UCARE program. Recent UCARE project titles: “Byzantine Ceramics and Gender”; “Transcribing Medieval Manuscripts”; “Fundamentalism: Perspectives on a Contested History”; “Digital Methods and Labor Efficiency in Greek Archaeological Survey Projects.”
  • Connect with faculty and peers through student organizations such as the Classics Club. 

Classics and Religious Studies Requirements

Major in Classical Languages

Your major in Classical Languages will move you to study Ancient Greek and Latin and the literature written in these languages. If you are new to the languages you can expect to be brought quickly to competency through our introductory sequences, as no previous experience in either Greek or Latin is required or expected. If you have been taking high-school Latin or Greek you could potentially enter the program at the intermediate or advanced level.

You can expect to enroll in classes taught by experienced faculty, offering even the first year student the opportunity to develop a working relationship with a senior professor. Students receive a level of personal attention which is rare at a major research university.

Classical Languages Course Requirements


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Emphasis in Religious Studies

If you choose an Emphasis in Religious Studies, you will have a unique opportunity for intellectual discovery and personal growth. You will find that the Religious Studies program is a welcoming environment in which to pursue the academic study of religion, regardless of your own particular faith, or even if you do not consider yourself religious.

Why Religious Studies at UNL?

  •  You will explore the world’s great religious traditions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism—each with its own unique history and cultural background. You will learn about the founders of these religions, their basic beliefs and sacred scriptures, and how they are practiced and lived in the world today. 

  • You will gain an understanding of what religion is, what religions have in common, and how religious individuals and communities have given answers to the deepest questions we can ask—questions about who we are and where we came from; how we are connected to other humans and to all living things; and how we might find meaning in our lives and in the universe.

  • The study of different religions will enable you to be more self-aware and critical of your own ideas about religion. And equally important, the more encounters you have with other cultures, other peoples, other religions than your own, the more likely you are, in situations of tension and conflict, to understand the other, and arrive at peaceful resolutions.

  • Interdisciplinary studies. Our faculty members have close associations with other departments and programs including Judaic Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Global Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Archeology, opening up other fields of study that you can combine with your Religious Studies major or minor. 

The Major and Minor in Religious Studies

The Requirements for the major in Classics & Religious Studies, and the minor in Religious Studies, are designed to give you maximum freedom to select courses that meet your particular needs and interests.  Undergraduate Catalog/Major Requirements

Possible Areas of Study

Here is a sampling of some (optional) areas of study that you may want to focus on as a major or minor in religious studies, and some of the course offerings relating to each area: (See Courses for a full listing of Religious Studies courses.)

Introductory Courses

  • World Religions (RELG 108)
  • Explaining Religion (150)
  • Judaism, Christianity, Islam (181)
  • Introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism (118)
  • Introduction to Islam (208)

Biblical Studies

  • Introduction to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (205)
  • Israel: The Holy Land (217)
  • Early Christianity (New Testament) (307)
  • Women in the Biblical World (340)
  • Dead Sea Scrolls (308)
  • Second Temple Judaism (406)
  • Classical Hebrew (101,102)


  • History of Christianity (216)
  • Pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire (312)
  • The Crusades (319)
  • Religion of Late Western Antiquity (409)
  • Gnosticism (410)
  • Reformation Thought (426)

Religious Thought and Theology

  • Ways of Western Religion (206)
  • Reason and Religion (220)
  • Science and Religion (225)
  • Great Ideas in Religious Thought: From God to Nothingness (310)
  • Medieval Literature and Theology (489)
  • Buddhist Thought (355)

Jewish Studies

  • Israel: The Holy Land (217)
  • Introduction to Jewish History (219)
  • Jews in the Middle Ages (332)
  • Judaism and Christianity in Conflict and Coexistence (209)
  • Second Temple Judaism (406)

Buddhist Studies

  • Buddhism (218)
  • Buddhist Meditation (345)
  • Buddhist Scriptures (335)
  • Buddhist Thought (355)
  • Tibetan Buddhism (230)
  • Death, Immortality and Transcendence in Asian Religions (351)

Islamic Studies

  • Introduction to Islam (208)
  • History of Islam (214)
  • Islam in the Modern World (318)
  • Fundamentalism, Religion, and Politics (418)
  • The Quran (342)
  • Women in Islam (cross-listed with Modern Languages)
  • Arabic I & II (Modern Languages)

Emphasis in Classics


When we refer to the discipline of "Classics" we commonly mean the study of the civilizations of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Dealing with the world of the ancient Mediterranean basin - and beyond - this study is necessarily interdisciplinary. It embraces history, archaeology, art history investigation of the Latin and Greek languages, of the development of literary genres and themes and traditions study of the evolution of philosophy, religion, science, and the history of ideas.

The word "Classics" of course does more than simply denote a traditional academic discipline. It is often an evaluative term: To call something "classic" or a "classic" is to attribute to that thing a lasting or even timeless value or excellence.

Through the course of most of European or "Western" history, just such a value has been seen in the achievements of the Greeks and Romans.

While we recognize and appreciate the value that tradition has assigned to Greco-Roman culture, we are committed to a critical evaluation of that culture and of the tradition that has fostered and handed on its position as "classic."

We hope to reach a better understanding of the simultaneously reassuringly familiar and shockingly alien world of the ancient Romans and Greeks. But more importantly, we may learn much about our own society by examining the ways some of its parts seek justification and validation through the "eternal" standard of the classic.