Please note that, from 1 January 2021, New Testament Greek has moved to New Testament Studies in the Faculty of Theology and Religion.

For any queries relating to Greek, please contact:
Annéli Machin 
T: +27 51 401 9458 
E: MachinA@ufs.ac.za.

Philosophy and Classics 

From January 2021, the Department of Philosophy expanded its teaching and learning offering by including the Classical Languages and Classical Studies component of the previously known Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies. This new department is known as Philosophy and Classics.

Students enrolling for philosophy and classical studies are strongly encouraged to take both Philosophy (FILO1514 / FILO1624) and Classical Studies (CSMT1514/CSCC1524), as well as the new Classical Language module (CLLG1514/1524), as they strongly complement each other. These modules bring an integral background to the development of philosophy, and philosophy will enrich their experience of the classics to a higher degree.

Ara Arent Achille Mbembe Aquinas Appiah Chima Manda Booker T Washington Marx Plato Socrates
Critical-Theory Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Locke Frantz Fanon foucault Derrida Machiavelli Nietzsche Stephen Bantu Biko Web du Bois Sigmund-freud

Philosophy is not just a subject, but a way of life. One of the founding phrases of philosophy is Socrates’ famous statement in the fifth century BC: ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ In our department we strive to cultivate a questioning, critical life practice in our students—a practice that is as necessary in everyday life as in the work environment. Our students get a thorough grounding in more than twenty-five centuries’ thought-tradition. All content is chosen for its relevance to the ideas and ideologies that shaped, and still shape, South Africa, Africa, and the larger world. This enables our students to be analytical, investigative, participative citizens who contribute to a culture of dialogue and democracy.


Ours is the only philosophy department at a South African university that focuses on modernity studies, that is, the relationship between tradition and modernity in South Africa as a country that continues to be shaped by both traditional and modern ideas and forces. Over and above a review of the various thinkers and their historical contexts, students are also trained in the following themes, amongst others: the African, Greek, Roman, and Christian foundations of the philosophical tradition; the rise of western modernity and how it affected South Africa; German idealism, critical theory, hermeneutics, and phenomenology; political and cultural diversity; the philosophy of technology; the relationship between philosophy and theology; African and South African intellectual history; and post-colonial philosophy.

Career choices

Students often ask what they can do with philosophy, when the question should perhaps be what philosophy could do for them. Since philosophy is a discipline that allows students to develop an integrated view of the various ideas and forces that shape the contemporary world, the study of philosophy will help students to be better in whatever career they choose. Former students of our department chose careers as varied as:


 Diplomats / Civil servants



 Law practitioners

 Philosophy lecturers




 Working in civil society

 Working in the non-governmental sector (NGOs)



Academic offering: Philosophy (for prerequisites, please consult the latest Humanities Undergraduate Rule Book)

Undergraduate modules:


Introduction to Philosophy I: Tradition and Modernity


Introduction to Philosophy II: Tradition and Modernity


Tradition and Early Modern World I: Europe and Africa


Tradition and Early Modern World II: Europe and Africa


Modernity I: Europe, Africa, and South Africa


Modernity II: Europe, Africa, and South Africa


A Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Technology - Part I


A Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Technology - Part II

Postgraduate modules:

Post Graduate Students

Research Protocol for prospective students (for MA and PhD) 


We have incorporated the Classical Languages modules in our offering and are extremely proud of the new Classical Language module which we have developed inhouse. In 2022, we will expand this module to second year level, with 2023 seeing the implementation of this module at third year level.

Classical Studies (Mythology) celebrates renowned heroes and heroines who battled internal and external monsters, all the while appealing to the gods for their intervention. The presence of mythological aspects in art, film, music, theatre and science is a testament to its persistence as a culturally binding phenomenon. These aspects range from influencing the names of the days of the week—and even the names of our celestial neighbours—to the development of modern psychological theories, such as Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus complex. Much of today’s political and educational systems also owe their existence to the classical civilisations from which they arose.

Classical Studies (Civilisations) aim to understand multiple aspects regarding ancient civilisations. Moreover, it helps us to formalise a fundamental basis of the ancient citizen and their behavioural motivations. The motivation for the foundations of democracy and the dramatic arts are highlighted in both the study of civilisations and mythology respectively.

Classical Languages introduces the student to both Latin and Ancient Greek, as well as the culture, literature, and history of the Roman and Greek civilisations—aspects from which our legal system, governance, Christianity, western literature, philosophy, art and architecture, and much more eventually evolved. Students can expect to read a variety of Roman and Greek authors, and other prevalent authors from classical antiquity.

Career choices

These subjects are ideal for students who want to prepare themselves as:




 Diplomats / Civil servants



 Language practitioners

 Law practitioners



 Literary critics

 Museum curators


 Political commentators


 Tour guides


 Writers / Poets

They are also useful for students who are interested in psychology, sociology, the dramatic arts, religious studies, history, communication sciences, political science, languages and literature, art, drama, and music.

Academic offering: Classical Studies (for prerequisites, please consult the latest Humanities Undergraduate Rule Book)

Undergraduate modules:


Classical and African Myths: Creation Myths and Mythic

Heroes and Monsters


Classical and African Civilisations: Art, Architecture and

Everyday Life


The Heritage of Myths in Post-Classical Writings, Art, Music and

African Literature


Peripheral Figures in Classical and African Civilisations: Women, Children, and Slaves


Myths in Classical Literature: Homer and Vergil


Classical Literature and Rhetoric


Religion and Magic in Classical and African Civilisations


Research Methodology for Classical Studies

Postgraduate modules:

Post Graduate Students

Research Protocol for prospective students (for MA and PhD)


Academic offering: Classical Languages (for prerequisites, please consult the latest Humanities Undergraduate Rule Book)

Undergraduate modules:


Introduction to Classical Languages and Resources


Classical Languages and Resources

CLLG2616 (2022)

Classical Languages and Resources II

CLLG2626 (2022)

Continuation: Classical Languages and Resources II

CLLG3718 (2023)

Classical Languages and Resources III

CLLG3728 (2023)

Continuation: Classical Languages and Resources III

Postgraduate modules:

Post Graduate Students

Research Protocol for prospective students (for MA and PhD)


Contact Details


Department of Philosophy and Classics
Faculty of the Humanities

University of the Free State
PO Box 339
South Africa

Prof Johann Rossouw
T: 051 401 3347
E: rossouwjh@ufs.ac.za

Alternative contact:

Office Manager
Alice Stander
T:  051 401 2237
E: standerafm@ufs.ac.za


T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

Humanities photo next to contact block

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