The department offers courses at all levels, both in the original languages and in English, for majors and non-majors alike. It makes no assumptions about a student's prior experience, and looks to provide access to the ancient world to as many people as possible, in whatever form serves them best.
Classics majors are expected to develop mastery in three broad areas:
- Linguistic knowledge and skills: Students will possess advanced proficiency in at least one ancient language (Greek or Latin) and, preferably, intermediate proficiency in the other.
- Critical and interpretative skills: Students will be able to analyze critical or interpretative paper and compose interpretative arguments that pursue a thesis and engage with both primary and secondary materials.
- Knowledge of the ancient world: Students will exhibit competence in at least two major content areas: a) techniques of literary analysis; b) techniques of artistic analysis; c) the broad outlines of ancient political history, Greek or Roman; d) special problems in ancient social and/or cultural history, e.g. law, religion, philosophy, economy, gender studies.
The Language Requirement
Proficiency in Latin may be demonstrated by a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam, 600 or better on the SAT subject test reading exam, a score of I-5 or A on the ALIRA Latin exam, or by passing a placement test.
Satisfying the requirement through course work requires successful completion of the second semester at the intermediate level or one semester above the intermediate level, i.e. Advanced or Advanced Intermediate Latin.
For students wishing to begin language study, the department provides elementary and intermediate courses in Latin and Greek. These courses aim at preparing a student for more advanced study of ancient literature in the original languages. Elementary and intermediate courses in Modern Greek are also available. All these courses may be counted towards satisfying the University's undergraduate language requirement.
Courses in Ancient Culture (no Greek or Latin required)
A number of courses are offered in the literature, history, and culture of the ancient world, taught through works in English translation rather than through works in the original languages. Some of these will satisfy the University's Core Curriculum requirement in literature. All of them are available to Classics majors, and they form especially the basis of the interdisciplinary minor in Ancient Civilization. But they are designed above all to make antiquity accessible to the undergraduate population at large. They are the most wide-ranging of our courses.
Advanced Study in Latin and Greek
At the advanced level, courses are offered on the major authors and genres of Greek and Roman literature. The emphasis here is on the close reading and appreciation of texts in the original languages. Typically these courses are taken by Classics majors and graduate students, but any student who has sufficient linguistic background to keep up with the class is welcome.
One particular attraction of the Classics major is the opportunity to study at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, or in Athens through the College Year in Athens program.
Students and prospective students wishing to discuss how a course or a program might suit them should contact a faculty member for an appointment.