Curricula and scheduling

  • How long does it take to earn a language certificate in this department?

    The answer is in many ways up to you. Even if you arrive at Catholic University with no prior language background, you can still complete the Certificate in Greek or the Certificate in Latin in one or two summers + two semesters, i.e. from mid-May of one year until mid-May or the end of June in the following year. If you have prior intermediate-level background in the language you are studying, you may be able to test out of the first summer's work entirely and start your program in the fall.

    The bilingual Certificate in Greek and Latin can also be completed in one or two summers + two semesters if you arrive with intermediate-level work in one language already completed. Otherwise, the bilingual certificate may take a little longer.

    You can, however, choose to spread certificate work out over a period of multiple academic years if this is preferable for your schedule, your finances, or your learning style. This longer timeline is likely to be the most feasible choice if you are simultaneously pursuing a graduate degree at Catholic University or at another institution.

  • Is it possible for me to pursue certificate study at Catholic University gradually? I only have time for one course per semester.

    Absolutely. And you are also welcome to take summer coursework, if it fits into your schedule. The graduate advisor will help you select your courses and track your progress.

Finances and academic credit hours

  • How much does it cost to earn a language certificate in this department?

    Your costs will depend upon your academic status at Catholic University.

    If you are a current graduate student in another program at Catholic University, your certificate courses will be charged in the same way as your degree courses. Consult your adviser in your current department or program to learn more about the relationship of your certificate courses to your current degree curriculum.

    If you are only enrolled in our Certificate program, your certificate courses will be charged by the credit hour at a lower tuition rate (see the "Seminarian and Humanities programs" under the School of Arts and Sciences in the first table). This rate applies not only to the advanced language courses that count towards the certificates, but also to approved elementary- or intermediate-level Greek and/or Latin courses completed during the regular academic year as prerequisites. Consult the graduate advisor for more information on this opportunity.

    Remember, too, that courses in Greek and Latin at all levels are available during the Summer Program at an even more deeply discounted rate. Advanced-level summer courses can be counted towards Certificates, and elementary and intermediate summer courses can help with prerequisites.

  • What kind of financial assistance is available to certificate students?

    Although you are already eligible for a special lower tuition rate within your Certificate program, there may also be additional ways for you to reduce the remainder of your costs. If you are pursuing a graduate degree at another institution, your home academic department or program may have some summer support available for you to take language courses at Catholic University. If your own college or university is part of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area or of the Washington Theological Consortium, it may allow you to take some Catholic University courses as part of an exchange agreement.

  • What happens to the credit hours I accumulate when I earn a certificate? Can I transfer them to another school? Can I roll them over into a graduate degree program at Catholic University?

    The credit hours you will earn in pursuit of a language certificate are fully accredited regular university hours, and can be transferred to any school or degree program that will accept all or some of them. The Department of Greek and Latin is happy to provide course descriptions and syllabi that will assist other institutions in evaluating your work for a certificate.

    Courses numbered 511 and other "approved advanced courses" in the certificate programs carry graduate credit in the Department of Greek and Latin, and can be transferred directly into any graduate program at Catholic University that will accept the coursework. You should consult the academic adviser of any department or program to which you plan to apply to learn more about which certificate courses may (or may not) count directly towards your prospective degree.

    The most efficient "transfer" destination for certificate credit hours is, of course, the graduate programs in the Department of Greek and Latin! Our departmental M.A. and Ph.D. programs will accept for transfer, program requirements permitting, all of the graduate-level courses taken within this department in pursuit of a certificate, if you are subsequently admitted to pursue one of our graduate degrees.

    If you are considering applying to stay for a graduate degree in this department beyond your certificate, please make an appointment to meet with the graduate advisor, who would be happy to discuss your plans with you.


  • What can I do with a language certificate? What advantages will it provide me in academia?

    The Certificate in Greek may complement studies in Semitics, ancient history, philosophy, patristics, or historical theology, to name just a few fields. The Certificate in Latin can provide an ideal addition to, for example, a degree in medieval studies, musicology, medieval history, canon law, or library science. The bilingual Certificate in Greek and Latin represents an opportunity for a student of any of these disciplines to demonstrate even broader competency, which is particularly desirable for those interested in comparative intellectual approaches, or even for those planning to enter the field of linguistics.

    A special opportunity unique to Catholic University is the chance for interested certificate students to achieve competency in postclassical Greek and/or Latin, which may be especially desirable to those planning to enter fields outside of classics. The Catholic University Department of Greek and Latin has a long and distinguished history of training future scholars to read, translate, edit, interpret, and utilize late antique, patristic, and medieval texts in both languages.

  • What kind of academic and career advising is available to certificate students? I want to apply to graduate schools while I work on my certificate, and would really like some help through the process.

    The Department of Greek and Latin is particularly invested in "launching" its students into graduate programs, summer opportunities, and the wider professional field. As a certificate student, you will have the opportunity to plan the next step in your academic journey with the advice and assistance of our faculty. Your academic work will be overseen by our graduate advisor, and you will have equal access to the other members of the faculty who supervise our degree-seeking students.

    Certificate students who are also current graduate students at Catholic University receive their primary formal academic advising in their home departments, but the Department of Greek and Latin is glad to provide complementary support, particularly with regard to the development and professional use of language skills.

  • I am currently pursuing a graduate degree at Catholic University, and my dissertation/thesis will likely involve some work on authors who wrote in Greek and/or Latin. Can a certificate program help me prepare for this project?

    Yes, it can. It can also provide concrete evidence of your language skills both to your dissertation committee and to the academic search committees who will consider your applications for college or university employment. Depending upon the rotations of course offerings, you may even be able to select courses for your certificate work that have a direct bearing upon your dissertation topic.

  • I am interested in pursuing a second career as a Latin teacher. I had four years of high school Latin and a couple semesters of it in college, but have not done much Latin since then. Can the department help me reach my goals?

    Yes, it can. The more time and energy you are able to commit to the study of Latin, the faster you can progress. For someone in your situation, the department would likely recommend the Certificate in Latin, ideally followed by the remainder of the formal M.A. program in Latin. You may be able to consider starting directly in the M.A. program if your Latin skills are fresh enough, but the certificate program can provide an ideal way to reacquaint yourself with the language while still earning some credit hours that can be counted towards the M.A. later, should you choose to apply for it.

Certificates as classics postbacs

  • What is the difference between a certificate program in this department and a traditional classics postbac?

    The certificate programs in the Department of Greek and Latin at Catholic University are graduate-level programs. They serve not only post-B.A. students interested in starting graduate school in the future, but also students who are already pursuing graduate degrees in affiliated subject areas. As such, the certificates involve graduate-level coursework, and confer real graduate-level credit.

    Coursework completed as part of our certificate program can therefore be transferred to a graduate program at Catholic University or elsewhere--depending, of course, upon the rules of the destination department or school. Students using our certificate program as a classics postbac will have graduate students as classmates in many of their courses, which further assists them in transitioning to the learning environment and the cultural experience of graduate school.

    The Certificate programs in the Department of Greek and Latin also offer the opportunity for interested students to acquire competency in postclassical, as well as classical, Greek and Latin. If you are interested in the history, culture, or thought of the late antique or medieval periods, you can also study the transformations of the ancient languages into and through those time periods.

  • I have a B.A. in Classical Studies/Classical Civilization/Classical Archaeology, but I do not have enough experience in the ancient languages to apply for further study in the field. Can a certificate help prepare me for graduate school in classics?

    Yes, it can! You probably already know that even if you plan to concentrate upon ancient history or archaeology, you will need professional competency in Greek and Latin in order to use original texts and documents to study the ancient world. And if you plan to focus upon ancient literature, of course, your language skills will be your primary point of entry.

    Many students, even future classicists, do not have the opportunity as undergraduates to acquire the language experience they will need for further study. Perhaps you discovered the field later on in your academic career, or changed majors. Perhaps you were originally attracted by mythology, art, archaeology, or history, and gradually acquired a desire to probe even deeper and learn even more. Whatever the reason, our certificate programs can provide you with an opportunity to "catch up" in an intensive environment where you will be both challenged and supported. Our faculty will help you polish your language skills and assist you in planning for your future.

    If you intend to move from a Catholic University certificate program into graduate school in classics, whether in our own department or elsewhere, we recommend that you consider the Certificate in Greek and Latin as the most rigorous and thorough preparation.

Logistics and language placement testing

  • I have just been accepted into a certificate program, but how do I know when I need to begin my studies? I think I might not need that first summer of elementary- and intermediate-level language work.

    In order to answer this question, you will need to take the department's own Latin Placement Exam and/or Greek Placement Exam. These are both available online at no cost. Please contact us to request access and evaluation.

  • Are placement tests really necessary?

    Let us take Latin as an example. In any given semester, we as a department typically offer the study of Latin at about four or five (sometimes more) different levels, ranging from elementary through doctoral. Some individual courses even have different expectations for undergraduates than for students who have already completed B.A. degrees. For you to be placed in the level that is right for you, we need to assess your Latin against a measure that we can interpret fairly, consistently, and above all accurately, and the best instrument we have for this is our own placement exam.

  • I am coming to Catholic University next year, but I am not from the Washington, D.C. area and do not know the city well yet. Where should I live?

    On-campus housing is not available for certificate students, and so like nearly all Catholic University graduate students, you will make your home off-campus, either in D.C. or in the surrounding suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. The off-campus portion of the Catholic University Housing website includes information, links, and resources to assist you in finding a place to live.