Classics

Professor Richard Thomas, Director of Undergraduate Studies

The Department of the Classics encourages its students to explore the whole range of Greco-Roman civilization from the Bronze Age through Byzantium and medieval Europe to Modern Greece. Its faculty provide instruction in all the major areas of classical studies, including language and linguistics, literature, archaeology, history, philosophy, and religion. Moreover, in conformity with its conviction that Classics lies at the root of many important academic fields, the department welcomes joint concentrations.

Two concentration options are offered within the department: (1) Classical Languages and Literatures, for students wishing to emphasize the study of Greek and Latin literature in the original languages, and (2) Classical Civilizations, for those primarily interested in exploring the connections between Greco-Roman culture and disciplines such as history, philosophy, archaeology, and linguistics. Concentrators in both tracks are required to acquire knowledge of Greek, Latin, or both, but neither track presumes any prior knowledge of these languages. Both may be pursued as joint concentrations with other departments. The department’s flagship courses in the history of greek culture and the history of roman culture (Classical Studies 97a and 97b), at least one of which is required of all concentrators, are provided as a gateway to classical studies broadly conceived. All students have the option of writing a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member in their senior year.  

In recent years a Classics concentration has proved rewarding for students who go on to careers in law, medicine, divinity, journalism, business, or the arts, as well as those wishing to pursue further academic study.

OPTIONS:

Classical Languages and Literatures
Classical Civilizations

REQUIREMENTS

Classical Languages and Literatures
Basic requirements: 11 half-courses

  1. Two half-courses providing a broad introduction to Classical civilization, including at least one of Classical Studies 97a and 97b.

  2. Six half-courses in Greek and/or Latin, at least two of which must be numbered 100 or above, and at least one of which must be selected from the following list: Greek 112a, Greek 112b, Latin 112a, Latin 112b (or equivalent in the case of medieval/modern Greek and medieval Latin).

  3. One semester of Classics 98, a small-group tutorial, is required of all concentrators in the junior year.  The tutorial emphasizes the development of research skills through a close examination of a topic in Greek and Roman literature and/or Greco-Roman civilization.

  4. Two additional half-courses from among those listed under Classics in Courses of Instruction, including cross-listed courses. Other courses may be counted with approval of the director of undergraduate studies.
    Note: Two half-courses counted for concentration may be taken Pass/Fail or, in the case of approved Freshman Seminars, SAT/UNS.

Honors. Students wishing to be considered for honors must fulfill the basic requirements as specified above, as well as the following:

            -Either-

A senior thesis, together with two semesters of the senior tutorial (Classics 99, which is graded SAT/UNS). The student must submit two copies of the thesis to the department office on or before the Friday before the spring recess. The length of the thesis should be decided upon by the student and the thesis adviser but should not ordinarily exceed 60 pages of text.

            -Or-

Two additional half-courses in Greek or Latin, both of which must be letter-graded with a grade of A- or better:
Candidates for Honors: Any 100-level half-course in Greek or Latin, plus one of the following half-courses: Latin H, K; Greek H, K.
Candidates for High Honors: Two of the following half-courses: Latin H, K; Greek H, K.
Candidates for Highest Honors: Both Latin K and Greek K.

Joint concentration: Classical Languages and Literatures and Allied Field
Basic requirements: Six letter-graded half-courses in Classics

  1. Classical Studies 97a or 97b, and Classics 98.

  2. Four half-courses in Greek and/or Latin, at least two of which must be at the 100 level or above, and at least one of which must be selected from the following list: Greek 112a, Greek 112b, Latin 112a, Latin 112b (or equivalent in the case of medieval/modern Greek and medieval Latin).

  3. Additional coursework as required by the allied field.

Honors: Thesis required. Two semesters of either Classics 99 or the equivalent in the allied field, as appropriate.

Classical Civilizations
Basic requirements: 11 half-courses

  1. Two half-courses providing a broad introduction to Classical civilization, including at least one of Classical Studies 97a and 97b.

  2. Four half-courses in Greek and/or Latin. Note: Students with advanced language preparation who choose this track can place out of up to two of these courses if they wish to do so. In such a case, the number of concentration electives (courses listed under item 4 below) is increased to six half-courses.

  3. One semester of Classics 98, a small-group tutorial, is required of all concentrators in the junior year.  The tutorial emphasizes the development of research skills through a close examination of a topic in Greek and Roman literature and/or Greco-Roman civilization.

  4. Four additional half-courses from among those listed under Classics in Courses of Instruction, including cross-listed courses. Other courses may be counted with approval of the director of undergraduate studies.
    Note: Two half-courses counted for concentration may be taken Pass/Fail or, in the case of approved Freshman Seminars, SAT/UNS.

Honors: In addition to the basic requirements set out above, all concentrators in Classical Civilizations who wish to be considered for honors must write a senior thesis by completing two semesters of the senior tutorial, Classics 99 (which is graded SAT/UNS). Two copies of the thesis must be submitted to the department office on or before the Friday before the spring recess. The length of the thesis should be decided upon by the student and the thesis adviser but should not ordinarily exceed 60 pages of text.                      

Joint concentration: Classical Civilizations and Allied Field
Basic requirements: Six letter-graded half-courses in Classics

  1. Classical Studies 97a or 97b, and Classics 98.

  2. Two half-courses in Greek and/or Latin.

  3. Two additional half-courses from among those listed under Classics in Courses of Instruction, including cross-listed courses.

  4. Additional coursework as required by the allied field.

Honors: Thesis required. Two semesters of either Classics 99 or the equivalent in the allied field, as appropriate.

ADVISING

At the beginning of each term concentrators meet with the director of undergraduate studies to discuss their Plans of Study and their progress through the concentration. In addition, junior and senior members of the department are available throughout the year to offer advice on particular academic matters as the need arises.

For up-to-date information on advising in Classics, please see the Advising Programs Office website.

RESOURCES

The Smyth Classical Library, on the top floor of Widener Library, is open to all concentrators in the department. It contains an extensive and up-to-date collection of Greek and Latin authors, principal commentaries, works of reference, corpora of inscriptions, and major books on classical archaeology, history, literature, and philosophy. The library is locked at all times because there is no regular attendant. Key-card access will be granted to any concentrator upon request. Items from the McDaniel collection of antiquities illustrating Greek and Roman life are on display in the Smyth Library; the bulk of the collection, together with an extensive collection of ancient coins, is housed in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. The antiquities are available for study by qualified students.

HOW TO FIND OUT MORE

For further information about the concentration, contact Professor Richard Thomas, Director of Undergraduate Studies (rthomas@fas.harvard.edu, 617-496-6061).

CORE AND GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

Non-exempt areas:

Exempt areas:

Historical Study A

Foreign Cultures

Literature and Arts B

Historical Study B

Moral Reasoning

Literature and Arts A

Quantitative Reasoning

Literature and Arts C

Science A

 

Science B

 

Social Analysis

 

For more information on fulfilling the Core requirement, see the Core Curriculum Requirement.

All students—regardless of concentration—planning to graduate under the requirements of the Program in General Education must complete one letter-graded course in each of the eight categories in General Education. The Class of 2013 is the first to enter the College under these requirements. Students who entered Harvard College in September 2008 or earlier are expected to fulfill the requirements of the Core Curriculum, but will be permitted to switch to the Program in General Education if such a change is possible and advisable given their overall schedule and plan of study. For more information on the requirements of the Program in General Education and the possibility of switching to it, please see The Program in General Education in Chapter 2 and the General Education website.

ENROLLMENT STATISTICS

Number of Concentrators as of December

Concentrators

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Classics

48

41

37

30

34

Classics + another field

5

2

6

5

4

Another field + Classics

4

5

4

4

1