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Program overview

Major/minor: Classical Studies

The Classical Studies curriculum emphasizes an integrated approach to the ancient Mediterranean and its influence on the world around us. Classical Studies take advantage of the methods and insights of language and linguistics, literary studies, archaeology, art, anthropology, history, philosophy, and religion.

To understand other cultures such as the Greeks and Romans, it is crucial to understand them on their own terms, in their own words and in their own languages. And so every Classical Studies major or minor develops proficiency in Latin and/or Greek through the 300-level.

The second component of a Classical Studies major or minor are courses that survey the rich literature of Greece and Rome by examining a particular topic or genre, such as love and sexuality in Greece and Rome or Greek and Roman Theater. Finally, the third component of the major and minor are courses that explore topics through the lens of other disciplines, in courses such as Greek Archaeology, The City of Rome, Greek Art, Ancient Philosophy, the Gospels or Letters of Paul, or Women in Antiquity.

One Course At A time

In addition, Cornell's One Course At A Time schedule affords students many special learning opportunities, for example:

  • Every other year we offer block-long off-campus courses in Greece or Italy
  • Students in Introduction to Latin Literature regularly stage a Roman comedy for the entire campus community
  • Classical Studies majors have studied Latin in Rome and participated in archaeological excavations around the world

Digital Classics

The classical studies program at Cornell is in the forefront of liberal arts college classics programs in integrating technology in the classroom. In particular, Classical Studies students have produced podcasts, videos, websites, worked with GoogleEarth maps, and participated in the VRoma Project, A Virtual Community for Teaching and Learning Classics.


Students also have many opportunities to engage in meaningful undergraduate research projects, both within and beyond class. Recent projects include:

  • Visibility and Invisibility: Race and Slave Naming Practices in the Ancient and New World
  • Lucan's Erichtho: Allusions and Illusions of Power
  • "To him in reply you spoke, O Eumaios, my swineherd”: A Contextual View of the Apostrophes to Eumaios in Homer’s Odyssey
  • Slavish Sensibilities: An Examination of the Roman Social Hierarchy in Catullus’ Poetry
  • Comparisons of Greek and Roman plays to Hollywood films
  • Examinations of the way myths transform through time


Such a strong liberal arts background has led our alumni to successful careers in archaeology, business, information technology, law, library science, linguistics, medicine, ministry, museum and archival work, teaching, and writing.

This year in Classical Studies

Classics Courses for 2015-16:
Classical Mythology, Roman Archaeology (in Italy), Greek History, Women in Antiquity, The Ancient Economy, Comedy: Greece and Rome to Hollywood

Greek & Latin Courses for 2015-16:
Beginning Ancient Greek I-II-III, Introduction to Roman Literature and Culture, Roman Historians

Current Courses: LAT 205 Intro to Latin Lit and Culture

Latin Reading Group: meets throughout the Fall on the first three Wednesdays of the block at 6:30 a.m. in the Lindquist Room of the Thomas Commons.  Anyone with LAT 102 or above is welcome to attend!