First Year Program - Classics Skip Navigation

Classics (CLAS, GREK, LATN)

Chair: W. Stull

The Department of the Classics offers courses that cover many aspects of the Graeco-Roman world. Students may pursue a major in Latin, Greek, the classics, or classical studies. Majors in Latin, Greek, or the classics make language and literature their main focus. They thus have the opportunity to master the languages of two societies that contributed significantly to the formation of the Western tradition. Majors in classical studies give less emphasis to the languages but acquire a broad understanding of different aspects of the ancient world. Perhaps more than most subjects in the curriculum, the study of the classics is truly interdisciplinary, combining the study of language and literature with history, art, archaeology, religion, politics, philosophy, and anthropology. Most course offerings engage students in a variety of approaches to the ancient world. In addition, a number of courses offered by the department—such as Greek Art, Classical Mythology, Sexuality and Gender in Classical Antiquity, The Tragic and Comic Muse, and Greek Religion—provide a valuable introduction to other courses across the curriculum. Students develop their ability to think critically and to articulate their ideas effectively while learning to examine and reflect upon culture and society from a variety of perspectives. Recent graduates from the Department of the Classics are pursuing careers in law, medicine, investment banking, computer science, and education. Many, too, go on to do graduate work in the classics, ancient history, or archaeology.

With the exception of 300- and 400-level Latin and Greek, all courses offered by the Department of the Classics are open to first-year students. In fact, first-year students are encouraged to take them. The departmental courses fall into two categories: (1) lecture courses (CLAS) offering broad and penetrating surveys of literature, history, mythology, religion, art, and archaeology that require no prerequisites or knowledge of Greek or Latin; and (2) courses in Greek (GREK) and Latin (LATN) that are based on language.

First-year students with high school background in either Latin or Greek who wish to continue their study at Colgate should discuss course placement with a professor in the Department of the Classics.

The department has supplemented its formal course offerings by various extracurricular activities that have included lectures by well-known classicists, opportunities to assist professors in research (on campus and abroad), an extended study course to Rome and Pompeii, another extended study course to Athens, and participation in the Venice Study Group.

The classics faculty are always glad to discuss the program with anyone interested.

Advanced Placement

Colgate course credit may be awarded to students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Latin: Virgil exam. Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Latin: Vergil exam may receive course credit for LATN 122. To receive Colgate course credit students must successfully complete a higher level LATN course (LATN 201) at Colgate.