Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies

Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies is the study of ancient cultures and their modern influences.

The Department for Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies (CNERS) offers a broad range of academic programs. Students can learn about the culture, history and mythology of the ancient Greek and Roman world, explore world religions in a comparative context, and investigate the history and material culture of the ancient Near East and ancient Egypt.  Students will have many opportunities outside of the classroom to study culture and society of the ancient world. Undergraduate and graduate students have access to the Archaeology lab in the world-class Museum of Anthropology while Archaeology students can get involved in a number of exciting field projects.

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

UBC CNERS Student Association

Not only is it your one stop for all CNERS event and contact information, but it’s also the place for the social side of academia! They can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Agora: the Journal of the CNERS Undergraduate Student Association

This online journal contains papers selected from submissions by UBC students. The editors of the paper are from the Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies Students Association. All the articles will therefore be related to subjects such as Religion, Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Near East, Ancient Languages, Archaeology or Ancient History. 

Go Global

Imagine student life in Rome; immersing yourself in the history of the Roman Empire by passing by historic monuments in the morning on your way to class, and then watching the waters of the Trevi Fountain come aglow in the evening. Whether you end up picking Italy or Israel, you’ll immerse yourself in the languages and cultures of another part of the world.

In general, UBC students interested in the cultures and languages of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East have a wide variety of options for studying abroad. Studying outside Canada can give UBC students a unique experience that will add to their degree programs when they return home. In consultation with the undergraduate advisors and Arts Advising, students may also get transfer credits for the courses taken abroad.

Currently, Go Global is offering the Global Seminar: "Urban Landscapes of Bronze Age Cyprus – A field school investigating ancient cities, interaction, and social change". This global seminar offers a chance for CNERS students to work at anarchaeological field school at the Late Bronze Age (c. 1650—1100 BCE) site of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, Cyprus. More information can be found on the program page.

Did you know?You can take on an international internship, participate in a Global Seminar, go on exchange or even conduct research abroad. Check out the range of international experiences to learn more.

Arts Co-op Program

Put your language skills and cultural knowledge to work for you. Gaining paid, full-time co-op experience will help you explore careers in non-profits and community organizations, arts organizations, education, government, and the private sector with employers across Canada and abroad. Graduate with career skills, experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation.

Arts Internship Program

Build a career while you are studying through part-time, unpaid internships. Exciting internships are being created in diverse non-profit and social service organizations, and in local galleries and museums, like the Chinese Cultural Museum, or the Delta Museum and Archives. Apply your valuable intercultural understanding and language skills to the world of work and gain industry contacts along the way.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component and develop an understanding of community contexts and the systemic factors underlying community needs. Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Using your degree

A graduate of the CNERS program will be equipped with a range of skills that are valued by employers across the job spectrum.

Core strengths:

  • Analyzing texts and other modes of discourse required for any knowledge professions (e.g., law, public policy, and journalism).
  • Discipline specific skills that facilitate employment in the heritage and cultural sector, including curation.
  • Linguistic and cultural expertise ideal for public sector and NGO work
  • Experience with digital tools and quantitative analysis applicable to any sectors of the information economy.
  • Develop effective communication skills, both oral and written, and interpersonal skills through group work involving people from a variety of professional, academic and cultural backgrounds.

Career possibilities


Archivists use their experience in dealing with historical documents and artifacts to produce and organize a thorough collection of evidence for researchers, writers, historians and large companies.


An archaeologist works in excavating sites to uncover, study, and classify the physical evidence of past civilizations:

Foreign Services Officer
Diplomatic Corps Services
Intelligence Analyst
Historic Site Guide
Information Officer
Museum Interpreter
Museum Researcher
Production Researcher
Restoration Architect
Art Consultant

Academic possibilities

Academic Next Steps

Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity
Women’s Studies
Library, Archival and Information Studies

Alumni profiles