Requirements

Classics

The Department of Classics offers a classics major with three different concentrations: one with a focus on Greek and Latin (classical languages and literature), one with a focus on Greek and Roman material culture (classical archaeology), and one with a focus on Greek and Roman culture and history (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 concentrations: courses in Greek and/or Latin and in classical archaeology, history, and culture must be fulfilled.

The classics program is arranged to accommodate both those students who have not studied 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 classics major consists of ten courses with concentrations in three possible areas: classical languages and literatures, classical archaeology, and classical studies.

Classical Language and Literatures Concentration:

  • at least six courses in Latin and/or Greek, including two at the 3300-level
    • Students are encouraged to take courses in both languages.
  • either Archaeology 1101 or 1102
  • either Classics 1101 or 1102
  • at least one of the following courses: Classics 1111, 1112, or 2777
  • one additional course chosen from among any offered by the department, including first-year seminars

Classical Archaeology Concentration:

  • at least five courses in classical archaeology, including Archaeology 1101 and 1102 and at least one 3000-level archaeology class
  • four semesters of Latin or three semesters of Greek
  • Students in this concentration are also encouraged to take one of Classics 1111, 1112, or 2777.
  • one additional course chosen from among any offered by the department, including first-year seminars

Classical Studies Concentration:

  • three semesters of Latin or Greek
  • at least one of the following courses: Archaeology 1101 or 1102, Classics 1101 or 1102
  • at least one of the following courses: Classics 1111, 1112, or 2777
  • at least three 2200-level courses in classics or classical archaeology
    • There is an option to take an appropriate course in another department—such as government, religion, or philosophy—in place of one of the three courses at the 2200-level, with department approval.
  • at least two courses in the department (classics, Greek, Latin, or archaeology) offered at the 3300-level


All students in classics are required to take a research seminar (a 3000-level course designated as such) in their junior or senior year, and all students must take one of their required 3000-level courses during their senior year.

Interdisciplinary Major

The department participates in an interdisciplinary program in archaeology and art history. See Interdisciplinary Majors.

Requirements for the Minor

Students may choose a minor in one of five areas:

  • Greek: five courses in the department, including at least four in the Greek language
  • Latin: five courses in the department, including at least four in the Latin language
  • Classics: five courses in the department, including at least four in the classical languages; of these four, one should be either Greek 2204 or a Latin course at the advanced level (3300–3999)
  • Archaeology: six courses in the department, including either Archaeology 1101 or 1102, one archaeology course at the advanced level (3300–3999), and two other archaeology courses
  • Classical studies (Greek or Roman): six courses, including:
    • for the Greek studies concentration, two courses in the Greek language; Archaeology 1101; one of the following: Classics 1011 (or any other appropriate first-year seminar), Classics 1101, 1102, 1111, or 2777; Government 2200; or Philosophy 2111; and two of the following: any advanced archaeology course (3300–3999) focusing primarily on Greek material; Classics 2970–2973 (Independent Study), or any intermediate or advanced Greek or classics course (2000–2969 or 3300–3999) focusing primarily on Greek material
    • for the Roman studies concentration, two courses in the Latin language; Archaeology 1102; one of the following: Classics 1018 (or any other appropriate first-year seminar), Classics 1101, 1102, or 1112; Government 2200; or Philosophy 2111; and two of the following: Archaeology 2202 or any archaeology course numbered 3000–3999 focusing primarily on Roman material; Classics 2970–2973 (Independent Study) or any intermediate or advanced Latin or classics course (2000–2969 or 3300–3999) focusing primarily on Roman material


Other courses in the Bowdoin curriculum may be applied to this minor if approved by the Department of Classics.

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. Normally three courses per semester taken abroad can count toward the major and normally one course per semester toward the minor.

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.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (AP/IB)

Students who received a minimum score of four on the Latin Advanced Placement exam are eligible to receive a general credit toward the degree if they take a Latin course at the 3000 level and earn a minimum grade of B-. Regardless of AP scores, students should complete the placement questionnaire. No major or minor credit is given. In order to receive credit for advanced placement work, students must have their scores reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.

Students who took the Latin International Baccalaureate exam should consult the department for credit.

Additional Information

  • 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.
  • Courses that count toward the programs offered by the department must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail), and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.
  • First-year seminars count as electives toward the major and minor.
  • Normally independent studies and honors projects only count toward the major or minor with prior approval of the department.