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The study of ancient Latin begins each fall quarter with the first quarter of a year-long grammar sequence: Beginning Latin (LTLA 1), Intermediate Latin I (LTLA 2), and Intermediate Latin II (LTLA 3).

By the end of the first year students will have mastered the basics of ancient Latin grammar and have read selections from some of the major Roman authors, including Ovid, Cicero, and Nepos.

The goal of this sequence is to introduce students to reading ancient Latin. This is accomplished through the careful reading of Latin passages that become gradually more complex as we advance. There is no speaking or listening component.

Course Descriptions

Much of the first quarter is devoted to the mastery of the forms of Latin words. This is necessary because each word in Latin can take on many more spellings than the average English word. By the second quarter, the memorization component decreases and students begin to tackle sentences and paragraphs of greater complexity, so that by the end of the third quarter, the perusal of short texts becomes possible -- a gratifying reward after two terms of dedication to the smaller elements of the language.

Literature and College Requirements

Literature majors can fulfill their secondary literature requirement by completing a minimum of three LTLA courses, at least one at the upper division level. Revelle and Roosevelt students can fulfill their foreign language breadth requirements by completing an upper division LTLA course. Muir students can partly satisfy breadth requirements by completion of LTLA 1-2-3.


Students who have studied Latin at a school or college before arriving at UCSD should contact the Classics advisor for the Department of Literature to discuss the level of Latin appropriate for their continued study of the language.

Did you know?

As much as two-thirds of English words have Latin or Greek roots, and the figure is much higher for scientific vocabulary.

One eminent British mathematician and philosopher described all of European philosophy as “a series of footnotes to Plato.”

Upper Division Courses

Normally students who have completed LTLA 3 next take LTLA 100, typically offered in fall quarters. Completion of LTLA 3, however, is the prerequisite for any upper division Latin course. In addition to LTLA 100, other upper division courses in Latin literature are typically offered during the year. These courses cover the various authors, periods, and genres of the literature of the ancient Romans.