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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


Effective Winter 2023:

Major (Minimum credits for Major: 24)


Requires a minimum of 1 course from the following choices, for a total of 4 credit hours.  

  • 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
  • Classical Archaeology 221: Intro to Greek Archaeology
  • Classical Archaeology 222: Intro to Roman Archaeology


A minimum of 8 courses of at least 3 credits each. Knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required for this program but is highly recommended.

  • One CLCIV course at the 200-level (minimum 3 credits). If the pre-requisite emphasizes Greek culture, we encourage student to take a Roman culture class and vice versa.
  • Six courses (minimum 18 credits) in Classical Civilization, with at least three at the 300-level and at least two at the 400-level. Three of the six must belong to one of the following clusters: A) Language, Literature and Reception, B) History and Archaeology, C) Religion and Philosophy. Greek and Latin language courses at the 3rd term or higher may be counted towards any of the cluster courses or as one of the three additional courses (with prior approval from the major advisor)
  • 1 upper-level cognate course (minimum 3 credits) in a cognate program or department may also count towards a cluster course (with prior approval from the major advisor). Any such substitutions simultaneously apply to the overall six-course requirement.
  • The "Capstone Seminar" (advanced discussion and writing of a 12-15 page research paper on a topic in Classical Civilization) (3 credits) (Must register for section 001 (2 credits) and section 002 (1 credit)). Offered in the Fall term only.

Effective Winter 2021:

Minor (Minimum credits for Minor: 16)


One broad introductory course on Greek or Roman culture from the following (or as equivalent for a transferred course):

  • Classical Civilization (CLCIV) 101: The Ancient Greek World
  • ClassicalCivilization (CLCIV) 202: The Ancient Roman World
  • History 200: Greece to 201 B.C.
  • History 201: Rome
  • Great Books 191
  • CLARCH 221: Intro to Greek Archaeology
  • CLARCH 222: Intro to Roman Archaeology


At least 5 additional courses (minimum 16 credits) in Classical Civilization. One of these must be another course from the prerequisite list above, in the culture not chosen to fulfill the Prerequisite.The remaining four must be (a) at the 300-level or above and (b) one must be at the 400-level.

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

  • One 300-level course in Classical Archaeology (minimum 3 credits)
  • One course (minimum 3 credits) 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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