The Department of Classical Civilizations - one of the oldest at our University - provides undergraduates with access to over 2,500 years of human experience drawn from the multicultural world of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East.
Coursework emphasizes the history, material culture, mores, and values of the societies that have helped shape Western civilization, drawing attention to the significant achievements of the past and the considerable impact of their legacy upon the present.
The department offers both a B.A. major (35 credits) and a B.A. minor (23 credits) degrees in Classical Civilizations. All majors and minors are required to complete two (2) upper division CLAS courses as part of the degree, as well as a minimum of at least two (2) language courses in either Latin or Greek at the introductory (100) level. Students who elect to pursue a major degree in this program must choose a focus in either Latin or Greco-Roman Civilization and complete six (6) elective courses among those listed in the current catalogue as well as a senior thesis (CLAS 499) appropriate to the chosen concentration. Minors are required to select three (3) upper level electives from among those listed in this catalogue. The electives encompass a range of disciplines, including history, archaeology, philosophy, religious studies, and intermediate and advanced Latin and Greek. Majors are required to include at least one (1) course in Greek culture and one (1) course in Roman culture from among the elective offerings. Participating students are thus required to complete a balanced curriculum divided between the study of ancient languages (Latin, Greek) and their contemporary societies. Through this combined focus, students gain a broader comprehension and appreciation of the rich cultural and humanistic heritage stemming from the classical world. The ancients themselves embraced this model of liberal arts education; according to the Roman orator Cicero, such cultural and historical study "illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity."
The program's courses are by nature interdisciplinary, with application to the sciences, art, theater, literature, philosophy, religion, politics, and government. Moreover, through addressing relevant issues of gender, ethnicity, and interaction between cultures, the curriculum reaches well beyond the borders of Greece and Rome to embrace other civilizations across the world and time. By immersing students in an examination of the languages and ethnically diverse societies of antiquity, the program prepares them for careers within a world that is increasingly multicultural, interdependent, and global in outlook, in such fields as politics, ethics, business, law, sciences and education.
The department will meet the needs of three classes of students:
- those who wish a major or minor in Classical Civilizations;
- those who wish to begin or continue the study of Latin or Greek in support of other majors or in preparation for advanced work in other areas; and
- those who wish to fulfill part of the foreign language requirement of the Arts and Sciences Core curriculum by taking one of the classical languages.