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Classical Studies

morrissey college of arts and sciences

Undergraduate Program Description

Classical Studies encompasses all the social, material, and intellectual culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, as they can be studied both in the original languages and in English.

The department offers courses under four headings, including (1) elementary and intermediate courses in Latin and Greek, designed to teach a student to read the languages, (2) courses in Greek and Roman literature, history, society, and culture, including Core Literature courses, taught in English and designed to acquaint a student broadly with the world of classical antiquity, (3) advanced reading courses in ancient authors and genres taught in the original languages, and (4) courses in Modern Greek language. Courses related to antiquity are also available in other departments.

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Major Requirements

The major includes courses in Latin and/or Greek language and literature, from the elementary to the advanced level, and courses in ancient civilization and culture. Readings in the latter courses are in English. There are no separate majors in Latin or Greek. The program is designed to be flexible in response to the interests and prior experience of individual students. Requirements, totaling a minimum of ten courses (or 30 credits), fall under three headings:

  • Three courses or 9 credits (minimum) in Latin and/or Greek at the advanced level.
  • Three courses or 9 credits (minimum) in the area of ancient civilization and culture.
  • Four other courses or 12 credits, either in Latin and/or Greek language at any level (excluding only Elementary Latin) or in ancient civilization and culture, in any combination.


  • Students who may think of going on in Classics are strongly advised to study both languages and to take as many advanced courses as possible. They should also discuss their interest with a faculty member at the earliest opportunity.
  • Courses in Modern Greek language and culture are also taught within the department, but cannot be counted towards the major.

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The Minor in Ancient Civilization

The interdisciplinary minor in Ancient Civilization is designed to make the study of the ancient world available to students without the requirement of learning Latin or Greek. Students learn about the history, literature, art, and culture of antiquity in courses that emphasize the study of primary texts in English translation. As a minor, it naturally looks to students whose main interests lie in other areas, but who are curious about the ancient world, and who seek a program that is at once structured and interdisciplinary. It makes a good complement in particular to majors in English, History, Art, Art History, and Film, Philosophy, and Theology, but is available to everyone regardless of major. A list of the courses that are available each semester from the various departments and that count for the minor will be available at registration time. A program consists of six courses under three headings:

  • One course in Greek History (CLAS2205) or Greek Civilization (CLAS1186). As a rule one or the other of these courses will be taught each year.
  • One course in Roman History (CLAS2206) or Roman Civilization (CLAS2262). Again, as a rule one or the other of these courses will be taught each year.
  • Four electives, taught in Classics and other departments, chosen from various offerings in ancient culture, for instance, in the areas of literature, philosophy, religion, history, art, and archaeology.

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Information for First Year Majors and Non-Majors

“Classics” as outlined above is a broad, interdisciplinary field of study. For a first-year student, courses of two types are likely to be of most immediate interest: (1) Core literature courses, in which the reading is entirely in English, and (2) elementary and intermediate language courses in Latin and Greek.

If you would like to begin a language now or have had only one year of a language in high school, you should choose an elementary course: CLAS1010 Elementary Latin I or CLAS1020 Elementary Greek I. If you have studied a language for two or three years in high school, you may want to choose an intermediate course: CLAS1056 Intermediate Latin I or CLAS1052 Intermediate Ancient Greek I.

Completion of the second semester of Latin or Greek at the intermediate level will fulfill the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and Carroll School of Management language proficiency requirement. In addition, the Department offers elective courses in ancient civilization and in Greek and Roman authors. Those in ancient civilization are taught entirely in English. They make excellent choices for freshmen interested in antiquity. Those in Greek and Roman authors require a background in the appropriate language. If you have studied Latin or Greek for three or four years in high school, you may wish to try courses in Greek and Roman authors. For further information, consult the Chair of the Department.

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Information for Study Abroad

The Classics Department does not have a general set of requirements for study abroad. Students are advised individually and, based on their academic records and the specific program, recommendations are made. Students should arrange to meet with the Chair of the Department when planning to study abroad.

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Core Offerings

The Department offers several courses that satisfy Core requirements. CLAS1702 Rome: Art, Regime, and Resistance and CLAS2205 Greek History will be offered in fall 2018, and CLAS2208 Art and Myth in Ancient Greece will be offered in spring 2019.

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Licensure for Teachers

The Undergraduate Initial License as Teacher of Latin and Classical Humanities 5–12 may be gained by pursuing a Classics major in addition to the Secondary Education major or the minor in Secondary Education. For further information, contact the Chair of the Department.

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