Undergraduate Research

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The Department of Classics provides a range of opportunities for undergraduate research.  The most important are the Senior Honors Thesis and participation in archaeological fieldwork projects, but other possibilities also exist.

All Classics majors with a GPA of at least 3.3 have the option of writing a Senior Honors Thesis; enrollment in Honors Carolina is not required.  The thesis subject is usually derived from areas explored in advanced coursework, allowing a more detailed and in-depth examination of the topic.  The program consists of two courses, CLAS 691H and 692H, taken sequentially in the fall and spring semesters.  CLAS 691H involves the preparation of a thesis prospectus with accompanying bibliography, a preliminary oral defense before the thesis committee, and, ideally, the writing of a first draft of the thesis.  CLAS 692H entails the completion of the thesis under the direction of the honors advisor and a final oral defense before the candidate’s committee.  Students interested in writing a Senior Honors Thesis are strongly encouraged to decide on their subject and arrange for a faculty member to serve as their advisor in the spring semester of their junior year.  For further details of the process, see below.  For registration procedures, see here.  A list of previous Honors Theses from 1990 to the present can be found at the bottom of this page.

Participation in an archaeological field project allows students to participate directly in the discovery of new data about past civilizations.  Student assistants in field projects receive on-site training in field techniques and, working in teams under the direction of a supervisor, are typically responsible for a particular area of the project.  In some circumstances, student participants may also have the opportunity to incorporate the primary data that they help discover in the field into a larger reserach project of their own.  Funding for such projects is available on a competitive basis, such as the University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) or the Burch Honors Fellowship; see further here.

A range of university awards and fellowships exist that allow students to design and pursue research projects of their own; see further here.  Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with faculty members as they start to develop their plans.

Senior Honors Theses: Policies and Procedures


Students do not need to be enrolled in Honors Carolina in order to write a Senior Honors Thesis; they do, however, need to have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3.


Students should plan to start the thesis process at the end of their junior year, at least to the point of deciding on a topic and finding a supervisor, so that they may do foundational work over the summer.  It is the student’s responsibility to find a supervisor and, in consultation with him or her, two other members of the faculty to serve on the committee.  Adjunct as well as full members of the Department’s faculty may serve as supervisor, and the committee may include faculty members from other departments or even other institutions.  The student is also responsible for informing and submitting the Independent Study Learning Contract each semester to the Student Services Manager.

Working with the supervisor, the student first writes a thesis prospectus, which should consist of the following parts:

  1. title and brief statement of the project;
  2. a survey of the secondary scholarship relevant to the project;
  3. a description of how the project fits into that scholarship and what contribution it expects to make;
  4. a description of the project (in as much detail as needed), including a projected outline of sections or chapters; and
  5. a bibliography of relevant works (whether already seen or not).

After the supervisor has approved the prospectus, the student defends it before the committee.

Students should plan to defend their thesis prospectus as early as feasible in the fall semester, in order to leave as much time as possible for research and writing.  Ideally, they should submit a first draft of the thesis to the supervisor in December and a revised draft to the entire committee in March, in order to schedule the thesis defense before the deadline, which is normally in mid-April.

Students writing Honors Theses may petition to have one semester of their thesis project count towards the upper-level language requirement of their major.  Their supervisor must confirm that as part of their project they are reading at least the equivalent of what would be covered in a normal Greek or Latin course at the 220 level.  Students must complete a petition, obtain the signatures of their supervisor and the Director of of Undergraduate Studies, and submit it to the Department Secretary.


In evaluating the thesis, the committee has four options:

  1. Highest Honors, for only those projects that meet the most rigorous standards of scholarly excellence;
  2. Honors, for theses that meet the criteria for Honors work;
  3. course credit only, in which case the thesis project counts towards the student’s degree as an ordinary independent study course; and
  4. failure.

For more information

For more information consult the Department Student Services Manager and see the Honors Carolina website.

Senior Honors Theses, 1990 to Present


1990s | 2000s | 2010s

Student Name Title Year Defended Committee
Balot, Ryan K. Epicurean Friendship: Theory and Practice 1990
Avery, Jonathan Xerxes’ Decision to Invade Greece: An Examination of Herodotos’ Histories, Book7, Chapters 1-18 1990
Wilson, Van J. Breeding and amor, Pasturage and morbus: Vergil’s use of Varro’s Rerum rusticarum libri tres in his third Georgic 1992
de Grummond, Elizabeth Chambless Romanization and Urbanization of Lugdunum: The Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum Through the Julio-Claudian Period 1993
Walker, Tawana A. Strong Women of the Silver Age: Assets or Liabilities? 1993
Burns, Bryan E. The Martial Use of the Early Mycenaean Chariot and Its Associated Weaponry 1993
Berner, August J. Vesical calculus: Aulus Cornelius Celsus’s Operation for Bladder Stone 1995
Black, Sarah John Dryden’s Translations of Horace’s Odes 1.9 and 3.29 1996
Yavenditti, James A. Monumenta Hadriana: An Examination of the Hadrianic Building Projects in Athens 1997
Benefiel, Rebecca Ruth J. Municipium Saepinatium: A Study in Small Town Life of the Roman Empire 1997
Greenspan, Geri Apsidal Buildings in Early Iron Age Greece 1997
Gelb, Susan Dana Archaic Doric Temples in South Italy 1997
Spradley, Kelly Guarding the Frontier: The Original Garrisons of Hadrian’s Wall Forts 1997
Leftt, Jeremy Interconnections: the Epithet in the Iliad and the Physical Tag in War and Peace 1998
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Rogers, Sarah Alison Rape and Identity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses 2000 Mack, Eric Downing, Reckford
Butler, Margaret Erwin Approaches to Geometric Decoration in 8th c. Phrygia 2000 Sams, Sturgeon, Haggis
Thomas, Jennifer Elizabeth The Language of Friendship: Obligation and Emotion in Horace’s Epistles I 2001 Reckford, Mack, James
Dickson, Katherine Anne Thucydides and his Cold War Interpreters 2001 Stadter, Race, Smith
Carella, John Francis Divine Causes in Herodotus and Thucydides 2001 Race, Stadter, Smith
Urquhart, Lela Manning The Reuse and Continuity of Punic Sanctuaries in Sicily 2002 Terrenato, Haggis, Smith
Raines, Meganne Marie Sculptural Decoration at the Church of Hagios Polyeuktos in Constantinople 2002 Connor, Sturgeon, Sams
Locklear, Cole Garrett Construction of Character in Cicero’s Pro Ligario 2002 Wooten, Race, West
Pilkington, Nathan Laughlin The Gask Ridge and Stanegate Frontiers: a new history and analysis of Roman and native interaction in Britain 2003 Talbert, Terrenato, Houston
Levin-Richardson, Sarah Adina The Representation of Women in the Mosaics of Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki 2003 Connor, James, Sams, Dorothy Verkerk
Kirklin, Julia Anne Sheep and Shepherd Imagery in Literature: Homer Through the Early Christian Period 2003 Race, Reckford, Lafferty
Carreker, Justin Michael What’s Truly Good and What is Good in Show: Juvenal’s Orator and Johnson’s Scholar 2003 Reckford, Lafferty, Thomas Stumpf
Opitz, Rachel Shira Modeling Donoratico: GIS and Digital Modeling in Classical Archaeology 2003 Terrenato, Haggis, Vincas Steponaitis
Ratliff, Melissa Leigh A Rare Find at Donoratico: A Mortar Mixer Dating to the Fourth or Fifth century A.D. A review of the Comparanda and implications of this find for Donoratico 2004 Terrenato, Houston, Lafferty
DeWeese, David Matthew Time in the Gospel of John: An Exploration 2004 Race, Lafferty, Smith
Huntley, Katherine V. Hilltop Settlement Patterns in Northern Tuscany during Antiquity and the Middle Ages 2005 Terrenato, Haggis, Dorothy Verkerk
Austin, Margaret R. Plutarch on the Isolated Tyrant 2006 Stadter, Wooten, Riess
Smith, Joshua Hospitium an Pathos in Vergil’s Aeneid 2007 O’Hara, James, Smith
Walker, Austin Prophecy’s Complex Relationship with the Mortal and Divine Realms: A Tracing of the Prophetic Language within the Oedipus Tyrannus 2007 Race, Smith, Holmes
Barber, Cary The Roman Renegade: Determining Morality through its Antithesis 2007 Talbert, Wooten, Naiden
Hopper, Thomas Warren Colonialism and the “Other” in Homer, George Sandys, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge 2009 James, Barbour, Moskal
Thomas, Tristram Rennie The Ideal Statesman: Cicero and His Strategic Alliance with Octavian to Restore the Republic 2009 Rives, Wooten, Riess
Spelman, Henry Lawlor A Commentary on Pindar’s Nemean 10 2010 Race, Smith, Goslin
Fata, Ashleigh Elizabeth Who’s Laughing Now? Perception, Comedy, Suffering in Two Plays of Euripides 2011 Goslin and Race
Hege, Sam Tyler Agathon’s Unfulfilled Potential: A Study of Agathon’s contribution to the Symposium and its critique of Athenian Education 2011 Boyle, Lesher, Goslin
Rich, Hannah Louise Venerit si iste furor: Erotic Violence in the Poetry of Tibullus 2011 James, Keith, O’Hara
Burges, Steve
The Creation of the Forum Romanum: Three-Dimensional Mapping and Rome’s Flood-prone Valley
2013 Richard Talbert, Jeffrey Becker, Mary Boatwright
Hines, Caitlin Puella, Meretrix, Matrona? The Lexicon of Fertility and the Confusion of Women’s Social Classes in Ovid’s Love Poetry 2013 James, O’Hara, Alison Keith
Mazzara, Rachel
Speech Registers and Class Awareness in Terence’s Meretrices
2013 James, Dorota Dutsch, David Konstan
Ross, Henry Placuisse apibus mirabere morem: Understanding Inconsistency and Thematic Shifts in Vergil’s Fourth Georgic 2013 O’Hara, James, Race
Rust, Rebekah Kristina
The Ethics of Nobility in Three Tragedies of Sophocles
2013 Race, Goslin, Peter M. Smith
Caprara, Phillip Alexander What Makes a Man “Well-Born”? The Conceptions of εὐγένεια held by Ajax and Tecmessa in Sophocles’ Ajax 2014 Goslin, Race, Mariska Leunissen
Hagemann, Luke W. Venationes Caesarum: Hunts of the Caesars 2014 Richard Talbert, Jay Smith, Mary Sturgeon
Karsten, Alexander E. A Selection of Horace’s Odes: Eighteen Translations with a Translator’s Preface and Translator’s Notes 2014 Race, O’Hara, James
Winchester, Marshall K. The Athenian Assembly, the Sicilian Expedition, and Alcibiades 2014 Fred Naiden, Goslin, Richard Talbert
Cabaniss, Andrew Material Evidence for Urbanism in Archaic Crete 2015 Haggis, Sams, Carla Antonaccio
Sutton, Kathryn W. Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and The Great Lyre from Ur: A Literary and Iconographic Study 2015 Sams, Haggis, Gates-Foster
Ditmore, Allison E. The Response of Subaltern Women to Threats in Roman Comedy 2016 James, Dorota Dutsch, Timothy Moore
Dupree, Abigail Phaedra: Empathy for a Disloyal Wife in Roman Painting and Poetry 2017 Valladares, Gates-Foster, James
Wilson, Philip Murray Nihil ex his quae in usu habemus: The Meaning of Learning in the Satyricon of Patronius 2018 James, J.H. Lesher, Zlatko Plese

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