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 VOL. 23, NO. 13JANUARY 30, 1998 

Et Tu Missed Out on Classics? New Postbac Program Can Help


Responding to changes in college-student behavior and in high school curricula, the classics department will offer a postbaccalaureate program in Greek and Latin, Continuing Education and Special Programs (CE/SP) announced recently.

  The Postbac Classics Program begins next fall, and brings to four the number of postbac programs at the University.

  “Many years of observing the trends in our graduate admissions shows us that there’s a definite need for a program of this kind,” classics department chair Roger Bagnall said. He explained that more and more applicants to Columbia’s doctoral program in classics were less and less prepared to do post-graduate level work.

  The reason is twofold: Greek and Latin have been de-emphasized where they haven’t been eliminated altogether from high school curricula, and students are increasingly switching majors during their college careers. The result is that today’s candidate for graduate study in classics has had fewer years of Greek and Latin than students in the past.

  Columbia’s classicists were further convinced that the demand necessary to sustain a program existed by the recent inauguration of a postbac classics curriculum at UCLA and by the continued health of a longstanding program at the University of Pennsylvania.

  The core of Columbia’s two-semester program will be the first-semester intensive reading courses, one each in Greek and in Latin, that were designed specifically for the postbac student. These, taught by classics department faculty, will be supplemented by reading groups led by teaching assistants. The postbac student will also carry at least two other classes in either classics or related fields. The second semester will be devoted to taking Greek and Latin courses at each student’s level of competence.

  Unlike Penn’s larger and more loosely structured program, Columbia will limit enrollment to 12 in order to give each student as much attention as is needed, including close advising and assistance with graduate school admissions.

  A Statement of Attendance attesting to a student’s academic achievement will be awarded to those who complete at least eight courses with a grade of B or better.

  The postbac offerings already at Columbia are the premed program, run by the School of General Studies; the Second-Majors Program for people wishing to complete a second undergraduate major without completing a second degree, and the Business Careers Initiative (BCI), for those preparing to go on to business school. CE/SP administers the Second-Majors and the BCI programs.

  The University is likely to offer a fifth postbac soon, in psychology.