Classical Studies

Classical Studies was one of the original subjects offered when Victoria University of Wellington was established more than 100 years ago.

The Classics Programme maintains that tradition: across courses in Classical Studies, Greek, and Latin, we teach students about the literature, history, myth and culture of the Greek and Roman worlds and the continuing influence of that legacy today.

Emperor Marcus Aurelius tells us, "All things fade into the storied past, and in a little while are shrouded in oblivion." But in Classics, research into ancient Greece and Rome is more alive than ever. From language to democracy, the foundation of Western culture is in the classical world.

Classics also illuminates many other subjects such as English, Theatre, Philosophy, History, Political Science, and Study of Religion. "What follows is ever closely linked to what precedes," Marcus Aurelius also said. Go deep into the past and you will understand the future.

Studying Classics

At Victoria University of Wellington, you can major in Classical Studies, Greek or Latin. No previous understanding of either Latin or Greek is required. You will get a comprehensive training in rigorous thinking, analysis, and the understanding of complex issues, as well as an invaluable education in the literature, history, myth, and art of the ancient world.

Our academic staff, recognised experts in their fields, offer courses that strive to understand our world better by exploring its roots in classical antiquity. As active researchers, they produce insightful and cutting-edge conference presentations, articles and books.

Through studying Classical Studies you’ll have the opportunity to apply to go on the biennial field trip to Greece. You’ll also have access to the Classics Museum, which houses a beautiful collection of Greek and Roman artefacts.

You can also join the Wellington Classical Association, a group for those interested in the classical world which has been running since the late 1940s.

Sir Ronald Syme Memorial Lecture

A memorial fund was established in 1991 to commemorate the career of Sir Ronald Syme OM, perhaps the greatest classical scholar New Zealand has ever produced. This fund allows the Classics Programme to invite a prominent international scholar to give a public lecture in Wellington every two years. For information visit the Sir Ronald Syme Memorial Lecture page.

Classics resources and links

Our carefully curated Classics resources and links page provides a comprehensive range of relevant information sources to support your studies.