Latin Language and Literature

Nemo nascitur sapiens, sed fit. No one is born wise but he becomes wise. Seneca

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This study programme enables students to get to know the thoughts and works of famous ancient writers, scholars, philosophers, generals, and politicians in their original form, as these works constitute the firm basis of the European values of humanity; the programme further enables students to become acquainted with the ancient Greco-Roman world in a broad context.

The Master’s degree study programme of Latin Language and Literature can be a single-subject or a double-subject degree. The double-subject study programme enables a choice between two specializations, classical and medieval, according to the student’s interests. The single-subject study programme is a study of classical and medieval Latin.

In the classical specialization, all periods of the development of Latin, from the earliest epigraphic testimonies (7th-6th century BC) to ‘late’ Latin are studied in comparison with the classical norm of Latin studied in the Bachelor’s degree study programme. This includes phonological, morphological, and syntactical changes in the language. Apart from diachronic linguistics, the specialization focuses on improving knowledge of classical literature, including the particular style of notable Roman writers and the development of particular genres. As an option, the students can acquaint themselves with selected issues of the cultural and political history of the classical world, Byzantine Empire, and Arabic region.

In the medieval specialization, various phases of the development of Latin, from late Latin to later medieval Latin are studied. The stress is on the orthographical, phonological, morphological, and syntactical features of vulgar Latin in the pre-Romanesque period of the development of Latin, in the Merovingian Latin and in the Latin of the Carolingian Age. The changes in Latin vocabulary from the late Roman Empire to the era of the major translations from Greek and Arabic (11th-12th century) are examined as well. The specialization involves familiarization with medieval cultural history, especially the history of literature, medieval libraries, writing (palaeography), and literary knowledge.


After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • describe the phonological and morphological development of Latin until late antiquity and, subsequently, until the end of the Middle Ages
  • compare the grammar of classical Latin with some aspects of vulgar and medieval Latin
  • illustrate the main features of ancient and medieval (both European and Czech) literature written in Latin
  • sketch the historical, philosophical, and religious backgrounds of the development of the society in antiquity and the medieval period
  • translate more complicated Latin prose and poetic texts into Czech and translate into Latin
  • interpret critically selected original Latin texts of classical and medieval periods
  • read selected medieval manuscripts (if specializing in the medieval period)
  • participate in the preparation of modern critical editions of medieval manuscripts (if specializing in the medieval period)
  • describe the main features of the prosody of classical and medieval poetry
  • read selected types of more complicated metres
  • work with scholarly literature written in foreign languages, with electronic databases, and with various sources of information
  • write a long structured text on scholarly topics

Graduates of this study programme can work in universities and secondary schools where Latin language is taught (mainly in faculties of arts or humanities, medical faculties, and faculties of pharmaceutical and veterinary sciences, gymnasiums, and nursing schools). Graduates are also qualified to work in the humanities-oriented institutes of the Academy of Sciences, and in archives, libraries, and museums. Graduates can handle specialist and language tasks (proofreading) in publishing houses or mass media.

Graduates will be able to search for different types of information sources, assess them critically, and use them appropriately. These skills will allow them to adapt to the changing requirements of the labour market.


The standard duration of studies is four semesters. For admittance to the final state examination, students must earn a total of 120 ECTS credits for type A/required, type B/selective, and type C/elective courses and for foreign language courses. The number of type A/required credits is different in the single-subject and double-subject programme.

In the single-subject programme, students must earn 83 credits for type A/required courses which focus on the historical development of Latin language, reading and interpreting classical and medieval Latin texts, and medieval literature written in Latin, gaining a better insight into ancient literature. Students must also earn 24 credits for type B/selective courses (chosen from the list of courses) and 9 credits for type C/elective courses (chosen out of all the courses taught at university). Thus, students can modify their study plan according to their interests and intended professional specialization. 4 credits must be earned for foreign language courses.

In the double-subject programme, students choose their specialization either in the classical period (classical specialization) or in the medieval period (medieval specialization). For the classical specialization, students must earn either 58 credits (if they decide to write a Master’s thesis in Latin Language and Literature) or 38 credits (if they decide to write a Master’s minor thesis in Latin Language and Literature) for type A/required courses. The type A/required courses of the classical specialization focus on language and Roman literature from the beginning up to the first centuries AD. Students must also ern 10 credits for type B/selective courses and 2 credits for foreign language courses (i.e. half of the 4 credits which students must earn in both of their fields of study together).

For the medieval specialization, students must earn either 56 credits (if they decide to write the Master’s thesis in Latin Language and Literature) or 36 credits (if they decide to write a Master’s minor thesis in Latin Language and Literature) for type A/required courses. The type A/required courses of the medieval specialization focus on medieval texts, peculiarities of medieval Latin and European and Bohemian medieval literature written in Latin. Students must also earn 12 credits for type B/selective courses and 2 credits for foreign language courses (i.e. half of 4 credits which students must earn in both of their fields of study together).

In both specializations, students must read selected passages of Latin texts and be able to translate and understand them. The required reading authors differ according to the study programme. The required reading list is available in the Information System of Masaryk University. Students must also pass a test in classical Latin grammar.

During the course of their studies, students should follow the study catalogue valid for their year of matriculation. The study catalogues for the individual years of matriculation are available at the Faculty of Arts website.


The Master’s final state examination consists of an oral exam. The examined subject areas depend on the type of studies or specialization. The exam in the single-subject programme examines the students’ knowledge from both the classical and medieval period. The subject areas examined in the double-subject programme correspond to the previously selected specialization. In all types of studies, students are required to translate and interpret even more complicated Latin texts, be familiar with individual stages of the development of Latin language as well as with the literature of a given period, and understand its historical and cultural context.

In the single-subject programme and double-subject programme within which the Master’s thesis is submitted, one part of the final state examination is also the defence of the Master’s thesis. The requirements concerning the Master’s thesis are available on the faculty’s website ( and on the department’s website (

More information about graduation requirements can be found in the study catalogue in the Masaryk University Information System or on the website of the Department of Classical Studies.


After completion of the Master’s degree study programme, graduates can continue further studies in any doctoral degree study programme (after satisfying the admission requirements). At the Department of Classical Studies, it is possible to study for a doctoral degree in Classical Philology (focused on language and literature from the beginning up to the first centuries AD) or in Medieval Latin Language and Literature (focused mainly on preparing critical editions and medieval literature written in Latin).


Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Latin Language and Literature
Abbreviation: LJ
Code: 7310T088
Type: Advanced Master's state examination
Degree: PhDr.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: R7310 Rig-FI Philology
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts