The Department of the Classics strives for a broad and deep understanding of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, studying not only language and literature but also history, art, archaeology, religion, and society. Students concentrating in the department may choose one of four different tracks. Those who major in Latin, Greek, or Classics make language and literature their main focus; majors in Classical Studies give less emphasis to the languages but acquire a wide knowledge of Greco-Roman history and culture. In addition, we offer a minor in Classics that requires a total of six courses. Most of our courses are also relevant to students concentrating in a range of other subjects (e.g., history, English, political science, philosophy). The skills acquired in our classes — critical thinking, clear writing, and attention to detail — are of permanent value, and many of our graduates are pursuing careers in law, medicine, investment banking, computer science, and education. Others have gone on to graduate work in classics, ancient history, or archaeology.
With the exception of 300- and 400-level Latin and Greek, all courses offered by the department are open to first-year students. Courses listed as CLAS have no prerequisites and require no knowledge of Greek or Latin; they provide penetrating surveys of literature, history, mythology, religion, art, and archaeology. GREK and LATN courses are all based on study of the ancient languages, and interested students are urged to begin taking them sooner rather than later. First-year students with high-school background in either Latin or Greek should discuss course placement with a faculty member in the department.
The department supplements its courses with extracurricular activities that include lectures by well-known scholars, opportunities to assist professors in research (on campus and abroad), extended study courses to Rome and Athens, and participation in the Venice Study Group.
The classics faculty are always glad to discuss the program with anyone interested.
Students who submit a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Latin exam are eligible to receive course credit for LATN 122 provided that they complete a higher level Latin course at Colgate (i.e., LATN 201 or above). Students must contact the registrar's office once the higher level is completed to have the credit officially recorded.