Go Back in Time

Classical studies — the languages, literatures, histories and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome — have been part of our curriculum since the School’s founding nearly 170 years ago.

Students who take Latin and Greek read the epic poetry of Homer and Virgil, the speeches of Cicero, the philosophy of Plato, and the histories of Herodotus, all in their original languages. They explore a wide range of cultures from ancient Europe, Africa, and the Near East, and they come away with a deepened appreciation for how deeply intertwined the ancient and modern worlds remain.

The Classical Honors Program offers an advanced course of study in both Latin and Greek. Students take honors-level Latin classes as well as two or more years of Ancient Greek and graduate with a Classical Honors Diploma, one of the highest academic distinctions at St. Paul’s School.

Classics scholars also can:

  • Become a member of the Classics Society, participate in Certamen (Latin quiz bowl) and perform in the annual Latin play.
  • Meet and learn from classicists of leading colleges and universities and attend guest lectures and plays at nearby institutions as well as on field trips to view the collections of ancient art at museums in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
  • Experience the ancient world firsthand as part of a two-week March vacation travel program to either Italy or Greece (offered every other year).
  • Complete a capstone project during Sixth Form year — anything from a research paper to a performance.  
Devin McDonald

“All this work I’m engaged with now is not anything I’d done before. It all came out of this love for the classics and the belief the Classical Honors Program instilled in me that I could pursue any interest and engage in this high-level work as a high school student. It’s been an amazing education and it’s really reshaped my perspective about what it means to learn and what it means to lead.”

Meet Devin '23

Applying to the Classical Honors Program

Some students come to St. Paul’s School with a background in Latin and a desire to join the Classical Honors Program. Others discover their passion for classics while they are here.

For those who apply to the program as part of their application to SPS, admittance to the program is determined by prior Latin coursework, teacher recommendations and a demonstration of skills in Latin translation and reading comprehension.

Students who begin their study of classics at SPS must complete an Honors Latin course with a final grade of High Honors (HH) and at least two terms of Greek with term grades of Honors with Commendation (H+) or above and submit a letter of application.

Finn Goss '22

“It’s unusual for students to arrive at university ready to read Latin and Greek at a high undergraduate level, but [Finn’s] foundation in historical and comparative linguistics will set him apart even within that already rarefied group.”

Meet Finn '22
Classics books on a shelf

Ready for More?

Ryan Samuels, Director of the Classical Honors Program, is here to help and answer your questions.