Classics professors hope to add a new major to their department that would allow students without prior knowledge of classical languages to graduate with a classics degree in four years.
Dr. David Sweet, associate classics professor and Braniff Graduate School dean, said the new major, temporarily titled classical studies, would be a modified version of the current major.
In the new major, two upper-level Latin or Greek language requirements can be satisfied instead by courses in translation, instead of reading the works in the original Latin or Greek.
The secondary language, either Latin or Greek depending on the student's concentration, would be taken only through the first intermediate level.
In the present major, the secondary language through the second intermediate level.
Classical studies majors will not write a junior paper or be required to take a modern language.
Dr. Grace Starry West, classics department chair, said the classics professors asked themselves, "What could somebody really do without [in the current classics major]?"; they eliminated requirements accordingly.
West described the new major as requiring the "bare minimum" from students, but stressed that UD's minimum requirements are at least as demanding as those of many well-known universities, including the Ivy League schools.
Sweet said the old classics major will not be replaced, rather the department will now offer students two options.
"We'll retain both majors and urge people who want to go on to graduate work in classics to do the more difficult one.
"If they want to go on in theology or philosophy, then they'll have gotten pretty far down the path of learning Greek or Latin," he said.
Lionel Yaceczko, senior classics major, said the new major will benefit the classics department.
"I thought, 'Finally we can have a legitimate enrollment like the other majors at this school,'" he said. "It opens up the department to a huge new demographic."
Yaceczko said he has heard students who wanted to major in classics complain of the current major's rigorous requirements.
"People tend to feel they're buried under the work they have to do in Latin and Greek," he said.
Patrick Callahan, senior classics major, said he wanted to see how the new major would fare once it was put into practice.
"It's a matter of how it is affected in practice, rather than what the actual changes are, that will say whether it's a good or a bad change," he said.
Callahan expressed reservations about incoming student reactions to the new major.
"Freshmen or sophomores, before habituat[ing] themselves to the virtues of the major, may choose the easy course rather than pushing themselves," he said.
Freshman Elizabeth Malone, declared English major, is one of the students considering the new classical studies major.
"I'm happy to see we're keeping the old major for people who want that, but I think the new major is a good idea," she said.
The proposed major has been approved by Constantin Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, and a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees. If it is finally approved, the new major will be offered to students this fall.