Major in Classics

Major in Greek, Latin, or Classics

Classics majors develop a knowledge of Greek and Latin as a gateway to the study of the literature, history, and culture of Greece and Rome. Students can start Greek and Latin at Barnard or build on skills acquired in high school. Second year courses introduce students to original texts in Greek or Latin by authors such as Homer, Plato, Herodotus, or the Greek orators or Vergil, Ovid, Horace, Cicero, Caesar, Livy or Sallust. A range of advanced courses in Greek or Latin focus on prose or poetic texts drawn from ancient epic, lyric poetry, philosophy, drama, history, rhetoric or the novel and introduce critical approaches and literary and historical scholarship. Students are encouraged to take more courses in ancient history and classical literature and civilization than the three required for the major. Students planning to go on to graduate work in Classics and related fields are advised to undertake at least three years in both languages as well as to begin acquiring the ability to read scholarship in French, German, or Italian. Study abroad for one semester in either Greece or Rome is common and encouraged. The major in Greek or Latin requires a minimum of eight courses above the elementary level.


The major in Greek is fulfilled by taking Greek V 3996x Major Seminar, one term of Greek V3996 (senior thesis); either Greek W 4139, Elements of Greek Prose Style or one term of Greek W 4105-6, History of Greek Literature, *as well as five other courses above the elementary level in Ancient Greek.


The major in Latin is fulfilled by taking Latin V 3996x Major Seminar, one term of Latin V3996 (senior thesis), either Latin W 4139 Elements of Latin Prose Style or one term of Latin W 4105-6, History of Latin Literature, * as well as five other courses above the elementary level in Latin.

*Students planning to go on to graduate study in classics are strongly urged to take both semesters of W 4105, W 4106. Majors in Latin, especially those who have begun their study in high school, are strongly advised to take at least two semesters of Greek.

In addition, one semester of ancient history appropriate to the major and two relevant courses in ancient art, classical civilization or literature, ancient philosophy, or religion are required for either the Greek or the Latin major. Students who do not opt to take a term of either Greek or Latin W4105-6 are required to take CLLT W4300, The Classical Tradition, as one of their three required courses in translation.

A student may elect to major in both Greek and Latin by completing the major requirements in one language and five courses above the elementary level in the other.

Student Learning Objectives in Classics

  1. Translate a range of Greek or Latin texts at a moderately advanced level and demonstrate an understanding of the grammar and syntax of ancient languages.
  2. Read, analyze, and write about ancient texts persuasively and locate texts in their historical and cultural contexts.
  3. Achieve familiarity with the methodologies and critical approaches and research tools deployed in classical scholarship that will be demonstrated in the successful completion of a senior research project.
  4. Demonstrate familiarity with the work of a variety of ancient writers, literary styles, genres, and periods and their later influences.