The Department of Classics encourages innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship that converges with work in a variety of fields. In keeping with the pluralistic and collaborative nature of the faculty’s research, students focusing on Classics often explore additional coursework in adjacent subject areas, including Art History, Comparative Literature, English Literature, Germanic Studies, Linguistics, Philosophy, Romance Languages and Literatures, Social Thought, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Selected Faculty


Sarah Nooter

Greek Poetry, Modern Theater and Adaptation, Literary Theory and Linguistics

Mark Payne

Poetry and Poetics, Animal Studies, Ecological Theory

David Wray

Hellenistic and Roman Poetry, Literature and Philosophy, Reception Studies

Sample Courses

CLAS 35808 - Roman Law (Clifford Ando)
The course will investigate the Roman law as a topic of historical inquiry; study its implication in political and demographic changes; raise problems of evidence and method in our examination of surviving sources of knowledge; and consider areas of legal doctrine and practice both in Rome and the communities over which Rome ruled.

CLAS 46616 - Reason and Religion (Shadi Bartsch, Robert Richards)
The quarrel between reason and faith has a long history. As religion and its place in society have evolved, so have the standing of, and philosophical justification for, non-belief on rational grounds. This course will examine the intellectual and cultural history of arguments against religion in Western thought from antiquity to the present.

CLAS 36017 - Gods and God in Imperial Asia Minor (1–300 CE) (Alain Bresson)
Roman Asia Minor in the Imperial period provides an extraordinary case of religious plurality and creativity. This class will examine the various aspects of this religious diversity as well as the social and political factors that may explain the religious equilibrium prevailing at that time in Asia Minor.

CLAS 35017 - Peripheries of the Greek World (Catherine Kearns)
Using textual and material evidence, this course will examine the concept of peripheries (and cores) and question the methodologies that historians and archaeologists use to consider the dynamic spaces around the edges of the Aegean Sea: colonial settlements, sites of pilgrimage, industrial districts, and exotic fringes, among others.

CLAS 37716 - Exemplary Leaders: Livy, Plutarch, and Machiavelli (Michele Lowrie, John McCormick)
Cicero famously called history the “schoolmistress of life.” This course explores how ancient and early modern authors—in particular, Livy, Plutarch, and Machiavelli—used the lives and actions of great individuals from the Greek and Roman past to establish models of political behavior for their own day and for posterity.

A complete listing of offerings is available at the Department’s course page.

The Classical Languages Option

The Classical Languages Option is intended for students who wish to study Classics at the graduate level but require additional strengthening of their language skills in order to meet the admissions requirements of most major PhD programs. Students interested in the Classical Languages Option must have at least two years of either Greek or Latin and one year of the other language before beginning MAPH. All students are welcome to take Classics courses at all levels without pursuing the Classical Languages Option.

The students will take a placement test on arrival, in both Greek and Latin, and meet with the DGS and the language program director in Classics for advice on courses in Classical languages.

Students who complete the following requirements will receive a Classical Languages notation, in addition to their MAPH transcript:

  • MAPH Core course
  • Seven elective courses, six of which must be in Greek or Latin
  • Completion of a thesis on a Classical topic
  • Passing the MAPH translation exam in Greek and Latin, taken in Spring quarter

The translation exam in Latin, Greek, or both languages can be taken in the Spring quarter. Two-Year Language Option students typically take one or both exams at the end of their second year, but students who feel sufficiently prepared can take it on their first year.

  • The exam consists of two passages, one prose (ca 150 words), one poetry (ca 20 lines), for which the student will be given 2 hours of time and will be allowed to use a dictionary (LSJ or Brill for Greek, OLD or Lewis and Short for Latin) to produce a translation into English. Digital dictionaries will not be allowed.
  • Students should register for the exam by notifying the Director of Graduate Studies in Classics by the third week of Spring quarter. The exam will be given during exam week.

Recent Classics Thesis Projects

“Livy’s Sabine Women as an Exemplum”
Zachary Galaboff, MAPH ’10
Advisor: David Wray

“The Hammer and the Nail: Symbiosis in the Medusa-Perseus Dynamic”
Julia Shaddox, MAPH ’11
Advisor: Sarah Nooter

“The Shrine that Burns with Eternal Flame: Semele as Mother and Cult Hero in Euripides' Bacchae
Teresa Rostkowski, MAPH ’12
Advisor: Christopher A. Faraone

“Stoic Philosophy and the Politics of the Liberal Self”
Elizabeth Foster, MAPH ’16
Advisor: Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer