A major in classics can serve as the central focus of a widely ranging undergraduate
curriculum since it includes many areas of human activity and creativity, and it has so served for
students who have gone on to careers in medicine, law, writing, etc.
Classics as a major or as a component part of an interdisciplinary or double major is preprofessional
training for those who intend to engage in research and teaching at the university or
college level in such fields as classics, classical archeology, comparative literature, religion,
linguistics, medieval studies, philosophy, and many others. An undergraduate major in classics in
whole or in part is also preparation for those who intend to teach languages, literatures, or
humanities in junior colleges or secondary schools. Interested students are advised to consult
with the chairperson in devising a major or partial major program which will meet with their
needs and desires. Great flexibility is possible.
The Department of Classics offers three majors: Classical Civilization, Latin Language and
Literature, and Greek Language and Literature.
- The major in Classical Civilization includes Classical Civilization 101, 102, 103, 104, at
least two courses in Greek or Latin, and 15 hours in Classics or “Related Courses” (see
Students with a preprofessional interest should select one of the majors below. Work in the other
language and literature is strongly recommended. Attention is called to the possibility of a minor
in the other language and literature (see below).
- The major in Latin Language and Literature includes 12 hours in Latin above Latin 102,
plus Classical Civilization 101, 102, 104, and six hours in Classics or “Related Courses.”
- The major in Greek Language and Literature includes 12 hours in Greek above Greek
102, plus Classical Civilization 101, 102, 103, and six hours in Classics or “Related
With the permission of the major advisor, additional work in Greek or Latin or appropriate
courses from other departments in the College may be substituted for some of the above.
Students may receive a minor in Greek or Latin upon completion of approved programs of study. Such programs will consist of at least 15 hours of courses in Classical Civilization, Greek Language and Literature, Latin Language and Literature, ancient philosophy, and classical art and archeology, and will ordinarily include Greek 202 or the equivalent for the minor in Greek and Latin 202 or the equivalent for the minor in Latin. Interested students are advised to consult the chair.
To be eligible for admission to the Honors Program, a student must have completed by the end of the junior year:
- Two 300-level courses in either Greek or Latin and at least the 102-level course in the other classical language; or one 300-level course in Greek and one 300-level course in Latin; and
- Classical Civilization 103 (Greek History) or 104 (Roman History); and
- Classical Civilization 101 and 102, plus two more courses in Classical Civilization.
The department may invite qualified students to apply at the end of their junior year, but would also welcome applications from interested majors. Admission is based on overall academic distinction and outstanding work within the department.
To be awarded Honors, a student must:
- Complete a major in Latin or Greek;
- Complete satisfactorily in the first semester of the senior year, a reading list devised in consultation with a member of the department and approved by the department which includes primary (ancient) and secondary (critical, historical) readings;
- Complete satisfactorily a research project designed in consultation with members of the department;
- Pass an oral examination on the reading list and research project. (This examination may be conducted by an outside examiner, who would also pass judgment on the Honors project.)
Students participating in the Honors Program should register for Greek or Latin 501 and 502 for three units of credit each semester.
The Classics Department normally awards major credit for selected courses
with material related to Classical antiquity in the following departments and programs:
Archaeology, Art, English, History, Philosophy, Politics, and Religion. Consult the chair of
Classics for details.
Students interested in classical archeology as a profession should note the
availability of a concentration in Classical Archeology in Archeological Studies including both
the relevant courses in classical art and archeology and basic training in the classical languages
and literatures. For further information, see the separate listing under Archeological Studies
above, or consult Ms. Kane in the Art Department.
Oberlin College is a participating member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. A semester of study in Rome during the junior or senior year is available for qualified students majoring in the department. There is also a program in Athens. Consult the chair for details.
Transfer of Credit
No more than half the hours credited toward the major may be granted for
work at other recognized institutions.
The following faculty are particularly interested in sponsoring Winter Term projects as indicated. Mr. Ormand: intensive beginning Greek. Mr. Lee: intensive beginning Latin. Many other topics are also possible.
The Martin Classical Lectures
The Martin Classical Lectures are delivered annually at Oberlin College by an eminent visiting scholar. Thirty-six volumes in this distinguished series have appeared. The lecturer for 2005-2006 will be Professor Eric Gruen of the University of California at Berkeley.