Classical Studies

2017-18 General Catalog

Department of History
201 Humanities
(831) 459-2982

Faculty | Course Descriptions

Program Description

“Classics” is a traditional designation for the study of the literature, history, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Classical studies at UCSC is an interdisciplinary field; while all students are required to learn Latin and/or ancient Greek, and to take upper-division courses in Greek and Latin literature, the major also includes courses in history, the history of art and visual culture, archaeology, linguistics, literature, philosophy, politics, religious studies, and theater arts. Students are encouraged to study the literary and material artifacts of Greece and Rome within the larger context of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures.

The classical studies program offers an opportunity to work in small classes with a dedicated teaching faculty and excellent fellow students. Classical studies is an excellent preparation for further study in a wide variety of graduate and professional programs including history, art history, comparative literature, English, philosophy, law, education, and publishing.

The basic requirements for the classical studies major allow a variety of emphases and concentrations, and the major accommodates students with primary interests not only in ancient literature, but also in the ancient history of the Mediterranean, ancient art, archaeology, religion, philosophy, and politics. For example, students with an interest in contemporary philosophy and political theory might want to concentrate in Greek, taking upper-division courses in Greek, history, philosophy, and politics. Students with an interest in European literature might want to concentrate in Latin, taking upper-division courses in Latin, history, and literature in translation. Students planning on pursuing a classics degree at the Ph.D. level should concentrate most of their coursework in the Greek and Latin languages themselves.

Classical studies is administered by the Department of History. For additional information on curriculum and advising, visit

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the classics major should graduate with the following knowledge and skills:


Competence in one or more ancient languages. At present offerings include Greek and Latin (full curriculum offered yearly). Majors have also taken Biblical Hebrew and Hieroglyphics (offered less often).

Interdisciplinary Exposure

Familiarity with one or more of the disciplinary approaches represented by the faculty in the program, as well as other relevant approaches in the division and the university. Courses at present credited for the major include (but are not limited to) offerings in: history, literature, philosophy, archaeology, art history, and theater arts. For the skills and outcomes fostered by these disciplines see the reports of the relevant departments.


Provide constructive and effective critiques of each other’s work.

Complete a shared research project.

Research, Critical Reading, Writing

Gather and engage critically with primary sources.

Evaluate competing interpretations and multiple narratives.

Compile a bibliography.

Present clear and compelling arguments, based on critical analysis of diverse historical sources, and effectively communicate your interpretations in written essays and/or other media.

Scope and Thematics

Through completion of a combination of courses, become familiar with the ancient cultures of:

  • the western Mediterranean.

  • the eastern Mediterranean.

  • the Near East.

Comparative study: whether of diverse ancient cultures or of ancient and later cultures

Reception: ancient culture as understood by later traditions

Requirements for the Major

A prerequisite for the classical studies major is the lower-division sequence in elementary Greek or Latin language (Greek 1 and 2 or Latin 1 and 2, or the equivalent). A minimum of 47 upper-division units must be completed within the classical studies major course requirements.  The major requires a total of 10 courses plus a senior comprehensive examination and must include the following:

  • one lower-division survey of ancient history or literature in translation;

  • three upper-division courses in Greek (LIT 184A-Z) or Latin literature (LIT 186A-Z);

  • six additional approved upper-division courses (which may include additional courses in Greek or Latin literature);

  • enrollment in a 2-credit comprehensive examination preparatory course, Classical Studies (CLST) 197F, is required in the same quarter that the senior comprehensive examination will be given. The preparatory course will be taken with the chair of the student’s examination committee.

Comprehensive Requirement. Classical studies majors are required to pass a senior comprehensive examination. Each student shall identify a minimum of two classical studies faculty members to serve on the examination committee, one of which shall be designated as the committee chair. Please consult the classical studies web site for a more detailed description of this requirement at

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement. Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in classical studies is satisfied by completing two upper-division courses in Greek literature or Latin literature from the following list:

  • Greek Literature: LIT 184B, 184C, 184D, 184E

  • Latin Literature: LIT 186B, 186C, 186D.

Honors in the Classical Studies Major. All students who announce candidacy during the academic year are reviewed for honors or highest honors in the major. The classical studies faculty advisers determine honors based upon courses applied toward the classical studies major. Performance in courses taken elsewhere and being transferred toward the major will be considered when applicable. The minimum standard applied is excellence in most courses for honors, and excellence in all courses for highest honors. Summer, fall, and winter graduates will be reviewed at the end of each of their respective quarters. Spring graduates will be reviewed as of the spring announcement of candidacy deadline.

Requirements for the Minor

A minor in classical studies requires the lower-division sequence in elementary Greek or Latin language (Greek 1 and 2 or Latin 1 and 2, or the equivalent) and LIT 184A, Introduction to Greek Literature, or LIT 186A, Introduction to Latin Literature, plus any four of the upper-division courses listed as satisfying the classical studies major requirements.

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Revised: 09/01/17