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Classical Civilization

Classical Civilization is the study of the history and culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Course offerings cover every aspect of life in the ancient world, including politics, warfare, law, slavery, gender and sexuality, religion and magic, sports and leisure, death, drama and philosophical thought. These topics are explored through the study of ancient texts in translation and the archaeological record.

Most students choose to major in Classical Civilization because of their fascination with the ancient world. Nevertheless, Classical Civilization is also an excellent educational experience. Study of the ancient past increases understanding of the present because of the great debt of the modern world to the classical past. In addition, the striking differences between ancient civilization and our own help put the modern world into perspective. More practically speaking, courses in Classical Civilization enhance basic skills such as critical thinking and competence in written and oral communication.

Although knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required for this major, we encourage majors to learn the ancient languages. Majors should be aware that graduate programs in Classical Studies and Ancient History usually require at least three years of study of Greek and Latin. If you are interested in applying for graduate school, speak to your advisor as soon as possible.

In addition to the learning goals for all Majors, the Classical Civilization major asks students to:

  • understand the interrelationship of history, society, and culture of the ancient Greco-Roman world
  • learn practical and theoretical methods for understanding this interrelationship
  • familiarize oneself with at least one ancient civilization outside of Greek and Roman civilizations



Requires a minimum of 2 courses from the following choices, for a total of 8 credit hours. One course must emphasize Greek culture and the other course must emphasize Roman culture.

  • Classical Civilization 101: The Ancient Greek World
  • Classical Civilization 102: The Ancient Roman World
  • History 200: Greece to 201 B.C.
  • History 201: Rome
  • Great Books 191


A minimum of 9 courses of at least 3 credits each.

  • 5 courses (minimum 15 credits) in Classical Civilization at the 300 or 400 level, with at least two of these at the 400 level. These courses must include at least one course in literature and one course in religion/philosophy. One course in Ancient Greek or Latin may substitute for one of these Classical Civilization courses.
  • 1 course (minimum 3 credits) in Classical Archaeology.
  • 1 course (minimum 3 credits) in Ancient Greek or Roman history. This requirement is separate from any History course that may have been taken as a prerequisite to the concentration.
  • 1 upper-level elective cognate course (minimum 3 credits) outside the division of Classical Civilization. Latin 231 or 232 may also count to meet this requirement.   
  • The "Capstone Seminar", taking either:
    • Classical Civilization 480: Studying Antiquity (currently offered Fall term only)
    • Classical Civilization 481: Classical Tradition (infrequently offered)



A minimum of 2 courses from the following choices, for a total of 8 credits (one course must emphasize Greek culture and the other must emphasize Roman

  • Classical Civilization (CLCIV) 101: The Ancient Greek World (4 credits)
  • ClassicalCivilization (CLCIV) 102: The Ancient Roman World (4 credits)
  • History 200: Greece to 201 B.C. (4 credits)
  • History 201: Rome (4 credits)
  • Great Books 191 (4 credits)


At least 5 courses (minimum 15 credits) in Classical Civilization, of which (a) four must be at the 300-level or above, and (b) one must be at the 400-level.  One of these courses must also satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement (ULWR) or be one of the Capstone seminars (CLCIV 480 or 481). Please note the CLCIV 480 is currently offered in the Fall term only.

One of the 300-level courses in Classical Civilization may be substituted for with any of the following:

  • One course in Classical Archaeology
  • One course in Greek or Roman history (other than one taken as a prerequisite)
  • One course in ancient Greek or Latin at the third-semester level or above
  • GREEKMOD 325, “Athens, Present and Past”

Honors Major

In addition to the major requirements stated above (with the exception of the capstone seminar, CLCIV 480/481), Honors candidates must achieve fourth-term proficiency, as defined by the LSA language requirement, in either Ancient Greek or Latin. They must also take two upper-level cognate courses deemed relevant (at the discretion of the thesis advisor) to the subject of the Honors thesis. Honors students receive six credits during their senior year for researching and writing the Honors thesis (CLCIV 495); they must offer an oral defense of this work, in a form to be agreed upon with their thesis advisor. The thesis should be a minimum of 40 pages in length. Interested students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 should contact their major advisor no later than the winter term of their junior year at the latest. For further information see the Senior Honors Thesis section.

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