The Department of Classics offers three major programs: one with a focus on language and literature (Classics), one with a focus on classical archaeology (Classical Archaeology), and one that looks at the ancient world from multiple perspectives (Classical Studies). Students pursuing these majors are encouraged to study not only the languages and literatures but also the physical monuments of Greece and Rome. This approach is reflected in the requirements for the three major programs: for all, requirements in Greek and/or Latin and in classical culture must be fulfilled. Courses that will count toward the programs offered by the department must be taken on a graded basis (not Credit/D/Fail), and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.
The classics program is arranged to accommodate both those students who have studied no classical languages and those who have had extensive training in Latin and Greek. The objective of Greek and Latin courses is to study the ancient languages and literatures in the original. By their very nature, these courses involve students in the politics, history, and philosophies of antiquity. Advanced language courses focus on the analysis of textual material and on literary criticism.
Requirements for the Major in Classics
The major in classics consists of ten courses. At least six of the ten courses are to be chosen from offerings in Greek and Latin and should include at least two courses in Greek or Latin at the 300 level. Of the remaining courses, one should be chosen from Archaeology 101 (same as Art History 209) or 102 (same as Art History 210), one should be chosen from Classics 101 or 102, and one should be chosen from Classics 211 (same as History 201) or 212 (same as History 202). Of the courses a student wishes to count towards the major, at least one at the 300 level should be taken during the senior year. Students concentrating in one of the languages are encouraged to take at least two courses in the other. As a capstone to this major, a research seminar taken in the junior or senior year is required; a research seminar is one in which a substantial research project is undertaken and successfully completed. Research seminars may include Archaeology 309; Classics 312; Greek 303; Latin 301, 315.
Within the broader context of classical studies, the classical archaeology program pays special attention to the physical remains of classical antiquity. Students studying classical archaeology should develop an understanding of how archaeological evidence can contribute to our knowledge of the past, and of how archaeological study interacts with such related disciplines as philology, history, and art history. In particular, they should acquire an appreciation for the unique balance of written and physical sources that makes classical archaeology a central part of classical studies.
Requirements for the Major in Classical Archaeology
The major in classical archaeology consists of ten courses. At least five of the ten courses are to be chosen from offerings in archaeology, and should include Archaeology 101 (same as Art History 209), 102 (same as Art History 210), and at least one archaeology course at the 300 level. In addition, students must complete at least four semesters of Latin or three semesters of Greek. As a capstone to this major, a research seminar taken in the junior or senior year is required; a research seminar is one in which a substantial research project is undertaken and successfully completed. Research seminars may include Archaeology 309; Classics 312; Greek 303; Latin 301, 315.
The classical studies major provides a useful foundation for students who seek a multidisciplinary view of the ancient world. The major combines coursework in an ancient language (Greek or Latin) with courses that explore the culture, history, and traditions of the ancient Mediterranean.
Requirements for the Major in Classical Studies
The major in classical studies consists of ten courses. At least eight courses must be selected from within the department. A minimum of three courses should be elected in a single ancient language (Greek or Latin). The appropriate level depends on the student’s preparation and is determined by the department. The remaining classes should include Classics 101, 102, 211 (same as History 201), and 212 (same as History 202); at least one course in classical archaeology; at least one and not more than two classes outside the Department of Classics and chosen from the following (or from other appropriate offerings in these disciplines, with classics department approval): Anthropology 102 or 221; Art History 213 or 215; Government 240; Philosophy 111; Religion 215 or 216; English 106 (same as Theater 106); and at least two advanced courses in the department at the 300 level, one of which must be a designated research seminar. As a capstone to this major, a research seminar taken in the junior or senior year is required; a research seminar is one in which a substantial research project is undertaken and successfully completed. Research seminars may include Archaeology 309; Classics 312; Greek 303; Latin 301, 315.
The department participates in an interdisciplinary program in archaeology and art history. See the section on Interdisciplinary Majors.
Requirements for the Minor
Students may choose a minor in one of five areas:
Other courses in the Bowdoin curriculum may be applied to this minor if approved by the Classics Department.
Classics and Archaeology at Bowdoin and Abroad
Archaeology classes regularly use the outstanding collection of ancient art in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Of special note are the exceptionally fine holdings in Greek painted pottery and the very full and continuous survey of Greek and Roman coins. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for study or work abroad. Bowdoin is a participating member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, where students majoring in classics and classical archaeology can study in the junior year. It is also possible to receive course credit for field experience on excavations. Interested students should consult members of the department for further information.
Students contemplating graduate study in classics or classical archaeology are advised to begin the study of at least one modern language in college, as most graduate programs require competence in French and German as well as in Latin and Greek.