Overview and Learning Goals


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

The classics program welcomes students who have not studied classical languages, as well as those who have had some prior training in Latin and/or 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.

Learning Goals

Students will:

  1. Explore the foundations of ancient Greek and Roman societies through the study and analysis of language, traditions, and material culture in their historical context.
  2. Read texts closely and deliberately.
  3. Read artifacts, monuments, and spaces closely and deliberately.
  4. Write clearly and persuasively about the archaeological, historical, and literary dimensions of Greece, Rome, and the ancient Mediterranean.
  5. Connect Greek and Roman histories and cultures to those of other ancient and modern societies.
  6. Engage directly with texts written in Greek and Latin and artifacts produced in the ancient Greek and Roman world.
  7. Present or perform thoughtfully and confidently to a diverse audience material pertaining to Greek, Roman, or ancient Mediterranean culture.
  8. Complete a research project incorporating both primary and secondary sources.

Options for Majoring or Minoring in the Department

Students may elect to major in classics, the art history and archaeology interdisciplinary major, or to coordinate the major in classics with digital and computational studies, education, or environmental studies. Students pursuing a coordinate or interdisciplinary major may not normally elect a second major. Non-majors may elect to minor in archaeology, classics, classical studies, Greek, or Latin. Art history and archaeology interdisciplinary majors may declare a classics, classical studies, Greek, or Latin minor, but not an archaeology minor.

Department Website

This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue