Department of Classics
- Barbara Graziosi
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Yelena Baraz
Director of Graduate Studies
- Joshua H. Billings
- Yelena Baraz
- Joshua H. Billings
- Marc Domingo Gygax
- Andrew M. Feldherr
- Harriet I. Flower
- Michael A. Flower
- Barbara Graziosi
- Johannes Haubold
- Brooke A. Holmes
- Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
- Daniela E. Mairhofer
- Dan-El Padilla Peralta
- Caroline Cheung
- Peter Kelly
- Mirjam E. Kotwick
- Katerina Stergiopoulou
- Melissa Lane, Politics
- Melissa Haynes
- Alan M. Stahl
- Marcus D. Ziemann
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
The classics concentration is a flexible, interdisciplinary program that affords students a range of opportunities to study the cultures, languages, history, politics, and intellectual traditions of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, their contacts with other civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean, resonances in later ages, and continued vitality today. The department offers two rigorous and highly flexible concentration tracks, in which students chart their own paths within broad areas of study, and are encouraged to develop innovative research projects, working closely with world-leading faculty, graduate students engaged in exciting scholarship, and highly motivated undergraduate peers within the department. Because of the diversity of the topics studied by the faculty, ranging from Proto-Indo-European linguistics to medieval manuscripts to the cultural politics of the modern Caribbean, the department is able to support students exploring a wide range of subjects and pursuing independent work involving humanistic and social-scientific analysis, creative projects, and experimental research. The unusually broad and diverse intellectual range of our program is matched by an intimate, supportive environment in which faculty and students work closely together.
Concentrators acquire, in the course of their studies, the language skills appropriate to their interests and research plans, either through departmental language courses or summer study (which the department has resources to fund). The relevant competencies will vary substantially depending on interest, and the director of undergraduate studies can advise on the appropriate course of study in order to realize a student’s intellectual and personal ambitions. The department regularly commits substantial funds to enable students to pursue their learning goals through domestic and international summer programs, including language courses, archaeological digs, and independent research projects.
One course on classical culture, broadly defined: any departmental course, a first-year seminar taught by classics faculty, HUM 216-217, HUM 247, or other course approved by the DUS.
Program of Study
Program 1. Classical Studies
The classical studies program offers the opportunity for sustained and focused inquiry into the history, literature, and culture of the ancient Mediterranean, as well as the impact of classical antiquity on later periods by using a variety of interpretative methods. The program offers students maximum flexibility to chart their course through departmental and related offerings. The particular program for each student is determined in collaboration with the DUS, and should be coherent and lead to viable research projects. Whatever the individual focus, each student’s program must contain eight courses at the 200 level or above (with limited exceptions as described below), including two at the 300 level, plus the Junior Seminar.
Five of the eight courses counted toward requirements must be taught by Department of Classics faculty (in general, these courses will have CLA, CLG, or LAT as the first course code listing; the DUS can approve exceptions for courses taught by affiliated faculty). Three elective courses may be counted toward the concentration that are either cross-listed by classics or approved by the DUS as relevant to the student’s program of study. Of the eight courses, one must deal primarily with ancient literature, whether read in the original or in translation; the sequence of CLG/LAT 105-108 may be counted as a single departmental course and used to fulfill this requirement. One course must deal primarily with ancient history; this requirement may be fulfilled by taking any of CLA 216-219 (the Greek and Roman history surveys) or an approved alternative. One course must deal substantially with classical reception or comparative approaches to the ancient world; this requirement may also be fulfilled by study of another language relevant to the student’s interests (Akkadian, Modern Greek, etc., at any course level). Students are otherwise free, in consultation with the DUS, to chart their own path through the department’s offerings.
Program 2. Ancient History
The program offers students a pathway to explore the history of ancient Greece and Rome and their relationships with the neighboring cultures of the Near East, Europe, and Africa. It is also ideal for students interested in acquiring training in the academic discipline of history while concentrating on the period spanning the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1700 B.C.E.) to the early medieval and Byzantine worlds (ca. 600 C.E.). Although students may specialize in a particular field of history (political, social, economic, cultural), geographic area, or historical period of antiquity, the aim of the program is to provide well-rounded training in the field of history, with a focus on ancient history. Each student’s program must contain eight courses at the 200 level or above (with limited exceptions as described below), including two at the 300 level, plus the Junior Seminar.
The eight courses taken toward the ancient history track must include one survey course on ancient Greek history (CLA 216 or 217) and one survey course on Roman history (CLA 218 or 219); one course substantially dealing with ancient material culture; and one course on premodern (i.e., pre-1789) history or non-industrial societies beyond Greece and Rome. An additional course that introduces students to the main methods, theories, and/or philosophies of history is also strongly encouraged. The remaining elective courses should follow a coherent plan that prepares the student for independent research; ordinarily, any course listed as CLA, CLG, or LAT at the 200 level or above will count, and other courses may be approved for concentration credit by the DUS. One of the courses may be fulfilled by the sequence of CLG/LAT 105-108 or study of another language relevant to the student’s interests at any level.
Junior Seminar. During the fall of junior year, all concentrators take the Junior Seminar (CLA 340). The course introduces students to different fields of study within the department, including literature, ancient history, ancient culture, linguistics, and reception studies. Students will gain experience in the methods of their chosen area(s) of study while acquiring an understanding of the history of the discipline and its place in the 21st century. Students will also acquire the skills necessary to pursue independent work. Students who are abroad during the fall of their junior year may complete the Junior Seminar during the fall semester of their senior year.
Junior Independent Work. In the fall term, each student researches and writes a paper of 12–15 pages on a topic of their choosing under the direction of a faculty adviser. The Junior Seminar will provide guidance in choosing and researching a topic. In the spring term, students undertake a more ambitious research paper of 20–25 pages. Each student again works closely with a member of the faculty on the project, meeting regularly over the course of the term.
Senior Independent Work. At the end of junior year, concentrators propose a provisional thesis topic to the DUS along with a list of potential faculty advisers, on the basis of which they are assigned a thesis adviser. The thesis in its final form shall be submitted to the DUS by April 15 (or, when this falls on a weekend, on the following Monday) of senior year.
Senior Departmental Examination
A 30-minute oral examination focusing on the thesis and related research is administered during Reading Period of the spring term by a committee consisting of the thesis adviser, thesis second reader, and DUS.
Travel and study in the Mediterranean are important parts of a classical education. The department regularly organizes break-week trips connected to classes and sponsors students wishing to study and conduct research abroad over the summer. In addition, it encourages interested students to participate in one of the many term-time study abroad programs offered, including those at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.
Certificate in Language and Culture
Students pursuing a concentration other than classics may still demonstrate command of one of the classical languages and cultures by working toward a certificate in Greek or Roman language and culture. The requirements are:
1. Three CLG or three LAT courses, one of which may be at the 200 level while the others must be at the 300 level.
2. A piece of independent work. This can be satisfied in several ways: (a) by a substantial paper developed from one of the courses taken to fulfill the certificate requirement (this will be in addition to the work required in the course); (b) by a substantial independent paper advised by a member of the classics faculty; or (c) with the agreement of the home department and classics DUS, by a piece of independent work that satisfies the requirements of both classics and the home department. As a substitute for this requirement, students may take either an additional course in their language (CLG or LAT) at the 200 or 300 level or a CLA course focusing on the culture of their certificate program (Greek or Roman).
Preparation for Graduate Study
The classics concentration prepares students for any career path they wish to pursue, and is well suited to fulfilling requirements for medical and law school admissions, as well as pursuing teacher training through the Program in Teacher Preparation. In addition to medicine, law, and education, classics concentrators have gone on to distinguished careers in the arts, public service, business, finance, politics, academia, journalism, and many other fields. Students intending to continue on to graduate work in classics will in most cases need to acquire advanced competence in both Latin and Greek in order to be competitive for admission to Ph.D. programs (though there are now many good options for deepening knowledge after graduation in the form of post-baccalaureate programs). The department is committed to helping students chart a path after graduation by involving its extensive alumni network, and through tailored advising.