Many UC Davis undergraduates study Latin to teach the language or to do research that requires it. They typically go on to graduate programs that require Latin for admission or success. UC Davis Classics Department regularly places its students in top-ranked graduate programs. However, most UC Davis students come to Latin not expecting to have a career in a field directly related to Latin but seeking other benefits. Latin speakers and writers dominated Western European intellectual life for two thousand years. In particular, they had a profound influence on the English language. People who know Latin develop a deep understanding of English that is unavailable to others; they read, write and speak better English as a result.
More generally, Latin speakers and writers shaped the Western European culture that has spread globally in the modern era under colonialism. People who learn Latin get a privileged insider’s view of that culture. They broaden their perspectives and enter worlds of learning and debate and art and beauty and politics that still resonate. In short, people who learn Latin become better able to engage human culture and civilization both as citizens and as producers and consumers of culture.