Majors and Minors
The Department offers a BA in Classics with five different concentrations. All major concentrations require the study of classical Greek and/or Latin through at least the fourth semester, and all require CLAS 391, the Junior Seminar. This capstone course is designed to bring together all the Department’s majors in the study of a single topic or theme that reflects the inherently interdisciplinary nature of the field by engaging with both Greek and Roman material, both textual and material culture. The different major concentrations otherwise have very different focuses and sets of requirements. Those in Greek, Latin, and Combined Greek and Latin focus on the study of the classical languages and literatures in their original form. The concentration in Classical Archaeology, by contrast, focuses on the art, architecture, and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world. Lastly, the concentration in Classical Civilization provides students with a broad familiarity with the ancient Greek and Roman world in a variety of aspects. In addition to its own major concentrations, the Department contributes significantly to the interdisciplinary major and minor in Archaeology administered by the Curriculum in Archaeology as well as to the majors and minors in Art History, Comparative Literature, Religious Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.
The Department offers three undergraduate minors, in Greek, Latin, and Classical Humanities; the latter is the only undergraduate track in the Department that does not require any study of the classical languages. In addition, the Department contributes to the interdisciplinary minor in Medieval and Early Modern Studies.
The sections below provide brief descriptions of each major concentration and minor. For further information, including complete and updated details about requirements, follow the links (in each of the headings) to the University’s online academic catalog.
BA Major Concentrations
The concentration in Classical Archaeology is intended for students with a particular interest in the art and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world. Although the focus is on classical Greek and Roman civilization, the courses offered also cover the Bronze and Early Iron Age Aegean, Anatolia, Egypt, and the Ancient Near East. Students are required to take introductory surveys of both Greek and Roman archaeology, archaeological field methods, and Greek or Roman history, as well as the equivalent of at least four semesters of either Latin or Greek. Students who have a serious interest in pursuing classical archaeology at the graduate level should plan to take both classical languages, and more than the minimum of four semesters in each. They should also consult as soon as possible with the Chair of the Archaeology Committee.
This concentration is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of the classical world. It requires introductory surveys of Greek and Roman civilization, to ensure that students have familiarity with both the major classical cultures. It also requires a survey of either Greek or Roman archaeology and either Greek or Latin language through the fourth semester, to ensure that they have grounding in the field’s two primary disciplines, archaeology and philology. Beyond this set of core requirements, however, it gives students flexibility to pursue their individual interests by taking any intermediate or advance course in the ancient Mediterranean world, including those offered by the departments of History and Philosophy. The concentration in Classical Civilization is a particularly good option for students who are interested in Classics as a second major, but it is not designed to lead to graduate work in classics.
Combined Greek and Latin
This concentration is designed to develop facility in the languages and literatures of both Greece and Rome, and is the one best suited to students who have a strong interest in continuing their study of classics at the graduate level. Students choose either a Greek emphasis or a Latin emphasis. Both require five courses beyond the fourth semester in the primary language and three courses beyond the fourth semester in the secondary language, in order to ensure a high level of attainment in one language and a strong facility in the other.
The goal of the concentration in Greek is the development of a solid command of the language and literature of the ancient Greeks. The core requirements are five courses in Greek beyond the fourth semester, as well as an introductory survey of Greek history. The Greek concentration makes a useful double major especially for students who are considering graduate work in ancient philosophy or early Christianity.
The goal of the concentration in Latin is the development of a solid command of the language and literature of the ancient Romans. The core requirements are six courses in Latin beyond the fourth semester, as well as an introductory survey of Roman history. Students who enter Carolina with a strong background in Latin may want to consider this concentration for a double major. It is particularly recommended to students who have an interest in teaching Latin at the secondary level.
The minor in Classical Humanities is ideal for students who would like a structured introduction to ancient Greek and Roman civilization without the need to study one of the classical languages.
The Greek minor is a less intensive version of the Greek major, and requires only three courses in Greek beyond the fourth semester. As with the major, it is a useful option for students with a particular interest in ancient philosophy or early Christianity.
The Latin minor is a less intensive version of the Latin major, and requires only four courses in Latin beyond the fourth semester. It is a useful option for students who studied Latin in school and would like to continue for their own enjoyment, as well as for students with a particular interest in medieval or early modern studies.
Students who are interested in any of the major concentrations should consult the Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies as soon as possible. Since study of the languages is sequential, students without prior background should plan to begin them as early in their undergraduate career as they can. It is possible to move ahead quickly in one or both of the languages by enrolling in an accelerated course. In some years the Department offers a sequence of accelerated Latin, which allows students to take the equivalent of two years of elementary and intermediate Latin in a single year. Another option is to enroll in an intensive summer course, which typically covers an entire year of elementary, and in some cases intermediate, Latin or Greek. Although the Department does not currently offer such courses itself, many other universities do; see further our guide here. Students who have studied Latin in school can earn Placement (PL) or By-Examination (BE) credit in Latin and so get a jump-start on a major; for further information, see the Department’s policies on language placement here.
A number of students combine a Classics major with a major in another subject. In many cases the other major is in an allied field, such as Archaeology, Art History, Comparative Literature, English, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, or Women’s and Gender Studies. In other cases, students choose to balance a primary major in a completely different field, such as Biology, Business Administration, Mathematics, or Media and Journalism, with a contrasting major in Classics. The possibilities depend on the individual student’s preparation, interests, and drive.