About the Program
The Department of Classics is concerned with the Latin and Greek languages and with the broadest possible study of Greek and Roman civilization. It is the oldest and most solidly grounded of the “area studies.” Complete majors are offered in both languages, in addition to a wide variety of courses that require no language background, and deal with the literature, history, archaeology, mythology, and religion of classical times.
The range of the nontechnical courses offered by the department is meant to provide general education and to complement the offerings of other departments. In addition to its regular program, the department provides a home for Religious Studies Program and offers several courses in this area.
The department offers two types of majors: Classics, which concentrates on the ancient languages, and Classical Civilization, which concentrates on the history and culture of the ancient Mediterranean. In each track, there are three options: Classics majors can choose a concentration in Latin, Greek, or Classics (equal emphasis on both languages).
Classical Civilization majors can concentrate on Ancient History, Mediterranean Archaeology, or Classical Civilization (a broadly based, interdisciplinary major). Those who wish to do graduate work in languages and literature are advised to take the Classics major; those who plan to do graduate work in history or archaeology should choose those concentrations. All students who wish to go on to graduate school should take French and German as well.
The department also encourages individually designed majors and will assist students in their formulation. Obvious suggested programs are the combining of Classics, Greek, or Latin, with English, modern languages, history, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, or art history. The department also welcomes more personal or wider-ranging choices. In choosing electives outside the Department of Classics, students are urged to take courses in a broad spectrum of disciplines. An opportunity for a term or a year of study in Italy is provided by the department’s participation in the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome and by SUNY programs.
The department has established an Honors Program that allows those qualified to pursue special interests through a project performed under the direction of a faculty member of this department. For further information, please contact the Chair or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Why Major in Classics?
If you are attracted to the civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean and their histories, literatures, mythologies, languages, and archaeological remains, the Classics major is worth exploring. Classics is a broadly based interdisciplinary major, with several different tracks designed to appeal to different types of students.
A Classics major allows students to experience the small classes, intense faculty involvement, and intellectual challenge of a liberal arts college program without sacrificing the resources, diversity, and reasonable tuition rates of a major state university. It’s one of the best bargains on campus!
Classics majors have a very high success rate in applications to graduate schools, law schools, and medical schools.
Students who decide to go on in Classics after the B.A. can pursue graduate careers in a variety of fascinating fields, including classical languages and literature, art history, ancient history, archaeology, and museum studies.
Classics makes an excellent double-major with a number of fields in the liberal arts and social sciences: Art History, Comparative Literature, English, Modern Languages, Anthropology, and History are all good double-majors with Classics.
Classics students have among the highest scores on GRE’s of all undergraduate majors.
Classics students have opportunities to travel in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries as part of their degree programs.
A Classics major gives students training in and exposure to a rich and diverse set of disciplines: archaeology, language, linguistics, literature, and history. We strongly encourage our students to take courses in allied fields such as anthropology and art history as well.