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Acropolis Winters at Styx Dr. George Pesely Dr. Steve Kershner Ancient theater mask Mrs. Mary Winters

Classics at APSU

Welcome to Classics at Austin Peay!

The study of the Greek and Latin languages, as well as the literature, history, and culture of Greece and Rome, have been fundamental to liberal arts education for some 2,000 years.  Austin Peay State University carries on that tradition by offering majors in Greek, Latin, Classics (both languages), and Latin with Secondary Teaching Certification.  The programs are language intensive, but also have a healthy component of courses in the cultures of Greece and Rome.  More information on the specifics of each program can be found at the pages that follow.  APSU also has an active chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics Honors Society.  In addition to the opportunities that this organization provides, the Johanna W. Mitchell Scholarship is awarded annually to a rising junior. 

Austin Peay has regularly hosted speakers to come for lectures on our lovely campus in the rolling hills of northern middle Tennessee.  Prof. Olga Palagia of the University of Athens, Dr. Jonathan Shay, author of the influential book ‘Achilles in Vietnam,’ Dr. Barbara Tsakirgis of Vanderbilt Univ., and Dr. Maria Liston of The University of Waterloo in Canada are just a few of the scholars who have come to share their knowledge of the ancient world with our students.

From the first literature in the western canon, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, to the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, to the New Testament and beyond, Greek has been a flexible tool for the finest expression of human thought.  Take advantage of the opportunity to explore this wonderfully rich language and its long heritage.

If Latin is more to your taste, spend your time here at the Peay studying Vergil, Plautus, Livy and all those other wonderful authors who wrote in the language that Ben Jonson called ‘the Queen of Tongues.’  The study of Latin remains vital and the current nationwide shortage of secondary school Latin teachers provides an added incentive for those who wish to pursue studies in Latin.

What Can You Do With A Degree in Classics?

So we all know how much fun it is to study these excellent languages and the cultures of those who spoke them, but what sort of gainful employment can one get with a degree in Classics?  The answer is that with a Classics degree you can do almost anything you want.  The Princeton Review says "We can't overestimate the value of a degree in Classics." ( The highest scores on the LSAT exam every year go to Classics majors. Also students with Classics degrees have a higher success rate getting into Medical School than students who only major in sciences.  

Classics is superb training for Law School and Medical School not only becuase of the help with vocabulary but mostly because of the way you learn to think about the material.  Business majors will find that studying Latin and Greek opens up the full series of Romance languages, and those are critical for doing business in Europe.  Are you interested in computers or gaming?  A double major in Classics and Computer Science will let you build more accurate games and apps!  If mathematics is your first love, consider that the Greeks were profoundly good mathematicians and engineers, and very few scholars are studying ancient math.  You could find yourself writing books on Apollonius's Conics!  A recent major of our department who was a double major in Biology and Classics is currently in graduate school to do DNA analysis on ancient bone from digs in Greece.  You certainly can teach, if that is your passion, but teaching is only one of many careers open to those with a degree in Classics.  Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves, was a Classics major, as was J.K. Rowling the tremendously successful author of the Harry Potter books.  What would those books be without all of the Classical Latin in them?  So creative writing is another career path for Classics majors.  History, art and architecture, anthropology, geology, physics, communications, really every area of human endeavor was touched by the Greeks and Romans.  To study them is to study ourselves.



Prof. Timothy F. Winters, Ph.D. (Ohio State Univ.)  has been teaching Classics at the university level for 27  years.  His research interests are in Greek epigraphy, archaeology, and historiography.  Prof. Winters lived in Greece for two years where he studied at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.  He has directed APSU’s Study Abroad to Greece program since its inception in 1999.  He has also taught archaeology at the American School. 

Dr. Stephen Kershner, Ph.D. (SUNY Buffalo) studies post-Vergilian epic and Roman novels. He teaches a broad range of courses from elementary to upper division Latin, and many different civilization courses such as women in antiquity, sport in antiquity, and ancient religion.


Prof. George Pesely, Ph.D. (Univ. of California at Berkeley) is the professor of Ancient History.  His research interests are in Greek history of the Classical period, particularly the figure of Theramenes.  Prof. Pesely teaches courses in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, The Early Middle Ages, and Warfare in the Ancient World. 


Mrs. Mary E. Winters, M.A. (Ohio State Univ.) has taught Latin and English for 30 years. She has sponsored many trips to Italy, Greece, and other destinations in Europe and elsewhere.  Mrs. Winters lived in Greece two years and has studied archaeology, art history, and mythology.  She currently teaches Latin, etymology, and mythology. 


Dr. Lynn Sims, Ph.D., (Arizona State Univ.) teaches historical linguistics in the Dept. of Languages and Literature.  Her primary research interest is in Germanic linguistics.  Classics students often take her classes as they are pertinent for their specific interests.