Classical Mythology (U244-370)

Work at your own pace to complete this university-level course. Classical Mythology (U244-350) is required study for a major in classics in most degree programs nationwide and may also count towards general requirements in the humanities. This course offers you the chance to study at your own pace, in your own home, and still enjoy one-on-one interaction with your instructor via e-mail. Before you enroll, please check with your degree granting-institution to confirm they will accept this transfer credit.

This course is a study of the myths and legends of Greece and Rome, with emphasis on their sources and importance in the history of Western artistic, psychological, and imaginative experience. The course is designed especially for students investigating classical myth for the first time, although it is hoped that more advanced and continuing students also find it engaging. The 23 units of the course follow the history of classical myth from its earliest roots in Mesopotamian myth and Greek political and cultural history through its later reworking in Roman myth. The Greeks were a great mythopoeic people, in dramatic contrast to the Romans, who contributed to classical myth largely by adapting and revising the Greek heritage to fit in with their national and political agenda.


  • The Nature of Myth
  • The Cultural Context of Classical Myth
  • The Development of Classical Myth
  • Myths of Creation: The Rise of Zeus
  • Myths of Creation
  • Myths of the Olympians: Zeus and Hera
  • Myths of the Olympians: The Male Deities
  • Myths of the Olympians: The Female Deities
  • Myths of Fertility: Demeter
  • Myths of Fertility: Dionysus
  • Myths of Death: Encounters with the Underworld
  • Introduction to Heroic Myth
  • Perseus and Myths of the Argive Plain
  • Heracles
  • Theseus and the Myths of Athens
  • The Myths of Crete
  • Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes
  • Jason and the Myths of Iolcus and Calydon
  • The Trojan War
  • The Fall of Troy
  • The Return of Odysseus
  • Roman Myth
  • Theories of Myth Interpretation

Required course materials

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Course Guide (available through the course website)


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Classical Myth, 4th ed., by Powell (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2003)



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The Iliad of Homer, trans. by Lattimore (University of Chicago Press, 1961 or 2000)



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The Odyssey of Homer, trans. by Richard Lattimore (Harper, 1999, reprint edition)



How it works

After you've registered for the course and purchased your textbook(s), you will receive access to a faculty-authored course guide which carefully leads you through the material of the course. You complete a series of assignments, and receive personalized instructor feedback on each one before progressing to the next. You have one year from your registration date to complete the course, and most students finish in less time.

How to enroll

Contact Student Services for information on registering for your course:


Dr. Matt Hogan is an instructional specialist in the Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. For the past 23 years he has taught courses in elementary and intermediate Latin and Greek, as well as such courses as The Greek and Latin Origins of Medical Terms, Greek Drama in Translation, and Classical Mythology.

Dr. Hogan earned his undergraduate degree with a major in philosophy at the College of Our Lady, Washington, D.C., went on to complete his M.A. in Classics (Latin and Greek) at Tulane University and his Ph.D. in Classics (Latin and Greek) at UW–Madison.


Transfer Credit

All of our university-level classes are officially part of the University of Wisconsin Transfer Information System, and generally transfer to all UW campuses without difficulty.

To check transfer information for an Independent Learning course, use the credit transfer wizard. For the "FROM" institution choose UW Extension Indp Learn.

If you are planning to use an Independent Learning course to satisfy the requirements of a particular program of study, you should check with that program's office for guidance.

For information on transferring credit to an institution outside the UW system, consult the registrar of that institution.


About Independent Learning

The Independent Learning program at the University of Wisconsin offers self-paced courses in a wide variety of subject areas. You can start any course at any time, and take up to a year to complete each course. Many students find that our courses are accepted as transfer credits to satisfy degree requirements either at the University of Wisconsin or at other institutions.
FAQs: See Frequently Asked Questions about Independent Learning courses.

Costs: The cost of each independent learning course is determined, on a per-credit basis, by the University of Wisconsin System. The cost for university courses is $310 per credit hour, plus a $75.00 administrative fee per course. Full-time students at UW campuses may be eligible for tuition remission. For more information, contact Student Services at 1-877-UW-LEARN (1-877-895-3276).

Handbook: The Student Handbook (PDF) has more information about Independent Learning.

Other Courses: For a complete list of Independent Learning Courses in other areas, see the Independent Learning Course Catalog.



All questions about Independent Learning courses or procedures can be directed to Learner Services toll-free at: 1-877-UW-LEARN or 1-877-895-3276 or by e-mail: