2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 24, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Classical Civilization, BA

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Jeffrey S. Carnes
332 H.B. Crouse


Jeffrey S. Carnes, Matthieu H. van der Meer

Why Study Classics?

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

L.P. Hartley

Students approaching Classical Studies for the first time may wonder how the study of languages and cultures from antiquity is relevant in the digital era; why study Classics?

First, Classics provides students with many fascinating intellectual opportunities. Because the range of Greek and Latin literature is so diverse, students interested in history, drama, poetry, political science, or philosophy, will find ample material to stimulate their curiosity. Moreover, students will develop the ability to read some of the most influential works of western literature in their original languages, and learn about cultures that are radically different from our own, yet at the same time provide the foundation of many modern ideas and institutions.

Since Classical Studies have traditionally played a central role in education they have left an indelible mark on the intellectual, political, and artistic development of Western Civilization. Countless authors, as diverse in time and place as Dante and Derek Walcott, have looked for inspiration to the classical tradition; political theorists and statesmen, including Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, developed their political ideals through a close reading of ancient historians such as Polybius and Thucydides. Understanding the reception of classical texts and the ways subsequent generations adapted and modified classical ideals will grant students a greater degree of proficiency in civic and cultural history, and help them better understand the cultural politics of their own world.

While not all Classics students wish to become classical scholars, a major in Classics is among the most impressive degrees to have when applying for a job in other fields. The work ethic required for success in the languages, the intellectually challenging nature of the grammar and syntax of Greek and Latin, and the interdisciplinary nature of the field are only a few reasons why Classics majors are highly respected and sought-after job candidates. Furthermore, because of the historical role of Classics in education many terms and concepts in various fields are derived from Greek or Latin. For these reasons, Classics majors often find employment in Law, Medical Sciences, Government/Politics, Writing and Journalism, and Education.

Why study Classics? To find a challenging and immensely rewarding field of study, and to explore the familiar yet foreign country that is our past.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major that are listed below.

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate competence in one of the core languages of the Classical Era

2. Demonstrate familiarity with the literature of the Classical Era

3. Demonstrate familiarity with the political and social history of the Classical Era

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the art, archaeology, and material culture of the Classical Era

5. Demonstrate an understanding of the religious and philosophical views of the Classical Era

6. Demonstrate an understanding of the formal structures of language, and the history and variety of world languages

Major Requirements

The Major in Classical Civilization requires 27 credits chosen from the following list of courses. No more than 9 credits may be selected from any one subject, and no more than 18 credits may be selected from any one department. At least 18 credits must come from courses numbered 300 and above; in addition, at least two courses must come from the courses taught within the Classics program (those with the prefixes LAT, GRE, and LIT). Other courses related to the ancient world may be substituted with the approval of the program director.

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