Major Description

The Classical Studies Department offers two majors: the Classical Civilization major and the Classics major.

Department/Program Description

The Department of Classical Studies is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the societies of ancient Greece and Rome. Our faculty offer a wide array of courses in language and literature, art and archaeology, history, science, mythology, and religion. Courses in classical civilization require no knowledge of Latin and Greek and range from introductory lecture courses to smaller seminars that consider critical approaches and scholarship central to the study of the ancient world. Recent courses have covered diverse topics including gender and sexuality, Roman law, death and the afterlife in Greece and Egypt, Rome and the Caesars, Alexander the Great, and the archaeology of Pompeii. Latin and Greek are offered at all levels, so students can either start the languages at Wesleyan or build on high school preparation. Introductory courses enable students to begin reading original texts by the second semester, and advanced courses engage with both ancient texts and critical approaches to those texts in modern scholarship. Many of our majors choose to complement their coursework at Wesleyan with a summer or semester spent in Greece or Italy.

Studying classical antiquity is not only rewarding in itself; it is also excellent preparation for many academic and professional pursuits. The department has sent recent majors to top graduate programs in classics, classical archaeology, and ancient history. Our alumni have also gone on to successful careers in such varied areas as law, medicine, business, journalism, music, arts administration and museum work, and education at all levels, both as teachers and administrators.

The Classical Studies Department offers two majors:  a Classical Civilization major and a Classics major.  For the requirements for the two majors, see the relevant subsections.

Classical civilization courses fall into four categories:

  • 100–199: First Year Seminars (FYS) are small, topical seminars reserved for first- or first- and second-year students.
  • 200–275: Survey courses provide an introductory overview of one aspect of the ancient world. These courses generally have high enrollment limits and have no prerequisites.
  • 276–299: Lower-level seminars are smaller courses that focus on special aspects of the ancient world and provide opportunity for discussion and specialized research but do not require any previous knowledge of classical civilization and thus have no prerequisites.
  • 300–399: Advanced seminars are small courses that explore special aspects of the ancient world and provide opportunity for discussion and specialized research. These courses may have prerequisites or may require permission of instructor.

Courses in Greek and Latin fall into three categories:

  • 101–102: First-year language courses that are intended for those with little or no prior training in the languages provide basic training in Latin and Greek and some exposure to the culture of the ancient world.
  • 201–202: Second-year, or intermediate, courses, intended for those with a year of college training or the equivalent high school training (typically four years), introduce students to selected texts in their literary and historical contexts and provide an introduction to critical approaches to classical literature.
  • 203–299: Advanced language and literature seminars focus on a rotating set of authors, genres, or periods and provide greater opportunity for discussion and specialized research.

Students unsure of what level of language course to take should consult with a member of the department.