Classical, Attic and Koiné Frequently Asked Questions


Classics is an interdisciplinary minor with participation from departments in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. A total of 26 credits are minimally necessary for graduating with a minor.

The study of ancient Greek and Latin offers the best way to learn the English language. These languages are more complex; therefore, grammar concepts for English are learned well. The roots of over 150,000 English words are from Greek and Latin. So, one analyzes and contemplates English vocabulary and subsequently writes more precisely and more expressively.

The study of Classical Greek focusses on the Attic dialect but introduces students to other dialects (Ionic, Sapphic, etc.) used in Greece during the Classical era. Plato, Aristotle, Euripides, Sophocles, and Thucydides composed in Attic Greek.

Koiné Greek, also known as Hellenistic and Biblical Greek, evolved from Attic and is a more recent dialect. It is pronounced more closely to modern Greek. It is the dialect in which the New Testament was composed and into which the Old Testament, or Septuagint, was translated from older Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts.

Attic Greek generally is recommended since it offers a greater breadth for reading Greek literature. Since it is the older form of Koiné, it also brings word associations from other literature which a Koiné course alone does not do. Having learned Attic Greek, one even can read Koiné by making a few adjustments.

Students primarily interested in early Christian literature, the ministry, or Hellenistic secular authors, should consider Koiné Greek which is a quicker and a more economical route to fluency in this particular dialect.

According to Christian Kopff, “Students need a practical education, and nothing is more practical than the study of Latin…Of all English words…over half a million in the latest dictionaries-more than half are of Latin origin, and those of Greek origin take up most of what remains” (The Devil Knows Latin, pg. 25).

Most terms used in biology and medicine are derived from Latin or Greek. It is far easier to learn and to understand the terminology for anatomy courses or other sciences when one has studied Latin or ancient Greek.

Writing and speaking skills in English increase and improve with the study of ancient Greek and Latin more than they do with any modern language. Students become more articulate, precise, persuasive, and creative when they study classical languages. The grammar is more complex than with modern languages. So, learning modern languages becomes much easier for those who have studied classical languages.

The study of these languages enhances and complements numerous courses offered at UCCS. The below list is not comprehensive since English and Science courses would be too numerous to include.

Latin complements:

  • History of the Ancient World (Hist 1010)
  • Women in Classical Antiquity (Hist 3010)
  • History of Ancient Rome (Hist 3180)
  • Readings in Medieval European History (Hist 6110)
  • Greek and Roman Myth (Phil 3120)

Classical Greek Complements

  • History of Ancient Greece (Hist 3170)
  • Rise and Fall of Athenian Democracy (Hist 3190)
  • Greek and Roman Myth (Phil 3120)
  • Hist. of Philosophy: Pre-Socrates (Phil 3510)
  • Hist. of Philosophy: Plato (Phil 3520)
  • Hist. of Philosophy: Aristotle (Phil 3550)
  • Hist. of Theatre 1: Greeks-Restoration (3200)

Koine Greek complements

  • Hist. of Christianity: Primitive Church to 300 (Hist 4210)
  • Hellenistic Philosophy (Phil 3530)
  • The Hebrew Bible & its Social Context (Phil 3610)
  • Christian Thought (Phil 3620)
  • Gender and Race in Biblical Literature (Phil 3630)

Students attracted to the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean and their histories, literature, mythologies, languages, and archaeological remains will find the minor appealing.

Classics minors have a very high success rate in applications to graduate schools, law schools, and medical schools.

A Classics minor makes an excellent minor in conjunction with a number of fields in the liberal arts, sciences, and social sciences: medicine, biology, music, psychology, art history, comparative literature, English, modern languages, anthropology, philosophy, and history are good majors paired with a Classics minor.

Classics students have opportunities to travel in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries as part of their study.

Classics students can pursue graduate careers in a variety of fascinating fields, including classical languages and literature, comparative literature, art history, ancient history, archaeology, and museum studies.

A Classics minor allows students to experience the small classes, intense faculty involvement, and intellectual challenge of a liberal arts college program.