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CLASSICS 2MT3 Ancient Roots:Med Terminology

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2017

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Stephen Russell

Email: russelsc@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 731

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23377


Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 5:00-6:30pm

Course Objectives:

Description and Objectives: Students of health sciences and life sciences today are hampered by having no knowledge of Greek and Latin and therefore no ability to deal with the massive specialized vocabularies that they meet, except by attempting to memorize each new Greco-Latin compound word when they encounter it.

This course presents students with the most important roots from which the vocabulary of medicine has been made, and demonstrates to them the predictable patterns by which these roots combine. In addition, students will learn the small amount of Latin grammar that will be sufficient to enable them to “translate” the phrases of the Nomina Anatomica (the world-wide standard nomenclature, which is entirely in Latin).

Upon completion of this course, students will have the specific ability to accurately define newly-met compounds and phrases by analysis of their parts, as well as a more general understanding of language history, linguistic principles, and etymology.

Each class, students will be required to learn around one hundred new roots and their meanings, and I will explain their etymologies in class as fully as possible in terms that will be conducive to easier memorization. And I will also present “rules” of root (or stem) combination through examples from which generalizations can be made. Most weeks this will include Latin endings that are essential to an understanding of forms of the Nomina Anatomica. Finally, students will be expected to devote class time to the working through of exercises that are designed to facilitate their learning of the roots, principles, and grammar for which they are responsible.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:

  • Lewis Stiles – The Anatomy of Medical Terminology
  • Stephen Russell and Lewis Styles – A Workbook for The Anatomy of Medical Terminology

Method of Assessment:


Moodle (TBA)                       20%
Tests (highest grade of 2)    20%
Final Exam                           60%    

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


There will be two tests – and I will only count your highest mark. Thus, there will be no make-up tests for any reason. (Please note that MSAF forms will only count for your missed test, so you will not be able to use an MSAF form to receive any credit – and there are no exceptions). Failure to write a test will result in a grade of zero for that test.

A version of the notes/slides from the class should be available via the McMaster “Avenue to Learn” site (or on the class Moode site) before the class, although in certain circumstances, such as lack of attendance or participation, then I’ll reserve the right to not post the slides.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Outline of Classes:





1 – May 1

  • Introduction
  • Terminations

Chapter 1

2 – May 3

  • Terminations

Chapter 1 – including exercises

3 – May 8

  • External Anatomy


Chapter 2 – including exercises

4 – May 10

  • Skeletal System
  • Nervous System; the Eye and the Ear


Chapter 3 and 4 – including exercises

  • Test Review/Preview

5 – May 15

  • Circulatory System/Glands
  • Respiratory System
  • Latin!

Chapter 5 and 6 – including exercises

6 – May 17

Test #1 (chapters 1-6)



7 – May 22

  • No Classes – Victoria Day


8 – May 24

  • Oral-Dental Systems
  • Bones of the Head
  • Digestive System

Chapters 7, 8, and 9 – including exercises


9 – May 29

  • Uro-Genital System
  • Psychological Terms
  • Substances

Chapters 10, 11, and 12 – including exercises

10 – May 31

  • Substances
  • Prepositional Prefixes

Chapters 12 and 13 – including exercises

11 – June 5

  • More chapter 13

Chapter 13 – including exercises

  • Test Review/Preview

12 – June 7

Test #2 (chapters 1-13)



13 – June 12


  • Mostly Exam Review/Preview

14 – June 14

Final Exam