Classical Civilization and Hellenic Studies (BA)

Department Website

Program Description


The Department of Classics explores all aspects of the Greek and Roman worlds, including their languages and literatures, art and archaeology, history, philosophy, religion, politics, economics, and law. We also feature courses on comparative studies of the ancient world beyond the Mediterranean, and the modern reception and transformation of classical literature, art, and philosophy. This broad interdisciplinary approach to these cultures that have had a major role in shaping Western values and thought provides an excellent undergraduate education. Similar to other liberal arts majors in philosophy, history, or English, our graduates go on to careers in education, law, medicine, business, politics, and the media.

The department offers courses in both English translation and the original languages. Several majors and minors are available, some in conjunction with the Departments of Anthropology and Art History and with the Alexander S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies. Academic internships, an honors program, the opportunity to participate in an archaeological excavation in Cyprus, study away programs, and individualized study are also available.

Classroom instruction is supplemented by a variety of activities. In addition to film screenings, lectures, and field trips sponsored by a lively Classics Club, students have access to the superb collections of antiquities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the American Numismatic Society, and the Pierpont Morgan Library, as well as to the department's own collection of antiquities. Finally, opportunities for travel and study abroad are available in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean sites.

Hellenic Studies

The Alexander S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies provides students with a comprehensive and interdisciplinary understanding of the language, literature, history, and politics of Greece. Through a wide range of courses, students are exposed to a polyphony of viewpoints that help elucidate the historical and political experiences of Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Greece; the ways in which Greece has borne its several pasts and translated them into the modern era; Greece and its relations to Western Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Mediterranean cultures; and the distinguished literary and artistic traditions of a country that many regard as the birthplace of Western civilization, even as these traditions exhibit their multicultural contexts.

The Arts and Science summer program in Athens combines classroom study of the language, history, and culture of Greece with extracurricular activities and excursions that introduce students to all aspects of Greek life. The program offers a wide range of courses on such subjects as the Greek language, Greek literature and photography, Greek drama, Greek political history, the city of Athens, and the archaeology of Greece. Classes are held at our new facility in Athens, conveniently located in Kolonaki neighborhood and the historical center of Athens. Activities include walking tours of Athens, visits to monuments and museums, and evening outings to dramatic and musical performances. Weekend excursions include trips to several Greek islands and to important historical and archaeological sites. Relevant courses taken in this summer program count toward the major or minor as regular courses.


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