What can I do with a CANES major or certificate?

The short answer to this question is “anything you want.” Classical & Ancient Near Eastern Studies (CANES) is a versatile area of study that can enhance your performance in any field of your choosing. The curriculum can easily be applied in a way that best suits your talents, interests, and career aspirations. In fact, the department’s coursework builds the critical thinking and communication skills needed to succeed in many careers, including those involving politics, law, business, education, writing, and medicine.

There are many skills developed by students involved in CANES that become valuable attributes in a variety of careers. These skills include:

  • Critical reading, reflection, and analysis
  • Proper research design and methodology
  • Expanded world view and exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
  • Effective teamwork to advance a common project or purpose
  • Effective time-management and self-motivation to complete projects independently
  • Demonstrated writing proficiency in short & long essay format
  • Discussion and debate strategies
  • Broader knowledge of career and graduate-study options

One of the more significant skills CANES majors develop is language acquisition. Choosing to study Greek, Latin, or Biblical Hebrew sets you apart and demonstrates your willingness to explore and expand your understanding of history, culture, and diverse perspectives. Not to mention the study of ancient languages shows discipline and perseverance.

Learning the history of words and their roots also increases cultural understanding of the English language and results in an increased vocabulary, which can accelerate your performance on standardized tests like the GRE, MCAT, or LSAT. Or, if you’re interested in pursuing the study of other languages, Latin will prepare you to learn Spanish, French, or Italian, and both Greek and Latin will prepare you for German or Russian. Selecting a major or certificate in CANES is a great opportunity to join one of the language programs that gives UW-Madison its #1 ranking in the nation for non-English language studies.

Regardless of the job position in which you choose to apply your studies, you’ll have a wide variety of skills and talents to start you on the path to a rewarding career. Take a look at what some of our alumni are doing and get inspired!

And check out this article, Careers for Classicists: Undergraduate Edition, published by Society for Classical Studies.

How has language study helped students with their career journey?

Yusi L., current graduate student at Bryn Mawr

Michele C., “My first job in publishing was as a research assistant working on a translation of a book whose sources were primarily in post-Renaissance Greek and Latin, as well as French and Italian. I continue to use my knowledge to assist my editors in understanding Latin titles and quotations in manuscripts, as well as assisting curators in translating Latin and Greek that appear in rare prints, for example.”

Benjamin S., “In my current IT career, my undergraduate study of human languages and translation has provided a path into programming languages that are a way of translating human language into machine language.”

William M., “[T]here’s never a time when being more literate hurts, and without a doubt Latin and Greek make the more obscure corners of English easier to comprehend. For example, I am not a lawyer or accountant, but I have had to dabble in some of those areas for some of my projects since graduating…”