Undergraduate

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Classics?
Classics is the study of ancient Greece and Rome and may include the study of other civilizations, for example, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, and the New Testament world. The historical timeframe is roughly 1000 BCE to 600 CE and beyond, for example, looking at the influence of antiquity on the Byzantine Empire, Medieval Europe, and the modern world today. Classics is an interdisciplinary field that includes literature, philosophy, art, architecture, history, women's and gender studies, and cultural studies.

How can I find out what books will be required for a certain course?
Books for our courses are ordered through the Rutgers University Bookstore, located in Ferren Mall in New Brunswick. To find out what books are required, please go to the University Bookstore website. Once you’re there, select textbooks, and then put in the course information. It will then provide a list of the books.

Can I get the syllabus for a course?
Please see our syllabi archive on the course offerings page of this website.

AP Credit
Students who have earned a 4 or a 5 on a Latin AP test will receive 4 credits in Latin (580) at the 100 level. The student should still take the Latin placement exam. Based on the results, she or he will be placed into the appropriate level of Latin.

Seton Hall Project Acceleration
Students who have earned college credit by taking Latin AP courses through the Seton Hall Project Acceleration program can earn up to 8 department credits at the 100 level. However, if the student wishes to continue to take Latin courses in the department, she or he still needs to take the Latin placement exam. Based on the results, she or he will be placed into the appropriate level of Latin.

I want to study Latin or ancient Greek. How do I know the level at which I should start? 
To study Latin, you must take a placement exam. Your score on the placement exam will determine at what level you should begin. If you have any questions, please contact our director of undergraduate studies.

There is no placement examination for Ancient Greek. Students typically begin with first-year Elementary Greek.

Do any Classics courses count for the SAS distribution requirements? 
Yes, all courses in our department count towards the Humanities requirement. In addition, the following courses count towards the Writing requirement: 
190:310 Literature and Culture in Augustan Rome 
190:312 The Search for the Historical Socrates 
190:315 Latin Poets in English 
190:320 Women in Antiquity 
190:322 Greek Political Philosophy 
190:350 Greek Society 
190:353 Aristotle 
190:381 Greek Drama in Translation 
190:391 Roman Drama in TranslationThe following courses count towards the Diversity requirement:
190:300 Greek and Roman slavery 
190:318 Cleopatra 
190:320 Women in Antiquity 
190:325 Cults, Magic, and Witchcraft 
190:326 Greek and Roman Religion

Are there courses in other departments that count towards Classics?
Yes, the following courses in other departments all count as Classical humanities courses: 
01:082:301 Ancient Architecture (3) 
01:082:306 Roman Art (3) 
01:082:342 Early Greek Art (3) 
01:082:343 Later Greek Art (3) 
01:510:201 Ancient Greece (3) 
01:510:202 Ancient Rome (3) 
01:510:205 Byzantium: The Imperial Age (3) 
01:510:207 Byzantium: The Last Centuries (3) 
01:510:301 Early Greece (3) 
01:510:302 Classical Greece (3) 
01:510:303 Hellenistic World (3) 
01:510:304 The Rise of the Roman Republic (3) 
01:510:305 The Crisis of the Roman Republic (3) 
01:510:306 Roman Empire (3) 
01:510:307 The Roman World in Late Antiquity (3) 
01:510:308 Ancient Cultural and Intellectual History (3) 
01:510:320 Women in Antiquity (3) 
01:510:350 Greek Society (3) 
01:510:403 Ancient Warfare and Diplomacy (3) 
01:730:208 Philosophy of the Greeks (3) 
01:730:301 Socrates and Plato (3) 
01:730:302 Plato and Aristotle (3) 
01:730:352 Plato (3) 
01:730:401 Plato (3) 
01:730:402 Aristotle (3) 
01:730:403 Ancient Philosophy after Aristotle (3)

Learning Goals for Classics Majors

  • Classics is a broad discipline, characterized by its interdisciplinary nature. Pursuing Classics means acquiring fundamental language skills in ancient classical languages (Greek, Latin, and, to a lesser degree, Sanskrit), along with a wide-ranging knowledge of the ancient world.
  • Studying Classics involves coming to grips with the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations: their myths and literature; their social, military, political and cultural history; their philosophy; and aspects of their material culture. At every stage, students are led to reflect on the many connections of Classics to the modern world, and how these ancient civilizations contributed to shape it.
  • As many other Humanities disciplines do, Classics combines language study with the exploration of questions central to many social sciences. Classics students are led to ponder the mechanisms of human psychology, social organization, and historical evolution, and given an opportunity to appreciate the ways in which the individual and the community relate to, shape, and affect one another.

The Classics learning goals form the basis for the structure and requirements that constitute a Classicist’s curriculum. Individual courses within Classics may also have more specific learning goals, but the goals indicated here apply to the entire range of departmental offerings, in conjunction with the goals specified for individual courses. 

To better understand what studying Classics entails, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the core learning goals that motivate the teaching of Classics (below), and to contact the Classics undergraduate director with any questions. 

The department’s broad goals can be divided into two categories: conceptual learning goals that delineate the principles of the discipline, and practical learning goals that define important skills that students can expect to develop by taking courses in Classics. 


Conceptual Learning Goals

Students who study Classics at Rutgers University can expect to:

  1. demonstrate substantial expertise in Latin and/or ancient Greek and engage in advanced analysis of ancient texts in the original language(s), and use the study of these ancient Greek and/or Latin languages to better understand their historical, intellectual and material contexts
  2. form, through the study of the ancient languages and of ancient culture and civilization, a broad and critically informed understanding of major events, concepts, documents, and material artifacts of ancient Greece and Rome, and of their continuing influence on and connections to the modern world
  3. produce culturally and historically informed analyses of Roman and /or ancient Greek ideas, texts and artifacts 
  4. acquire a global perspective through in-depth study of ancient cultures in their historical contexts as well as through opportunities to study abroad, including through opportunities given by the Rutgers Study Abroad in Rome program, the ICCS (Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome), the CYA (College Year in Athens) program, and the ASCSA summer program (American School of Classical Studies at Athens); see our Classics website for details and links

Honors students will be able to conduct original research and present it to the department and, if applicable, to the Rutgers Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Practical Learning Goals

Students who study Classics at Rutgers University can expect to:

  • acquire necessary analytical, research and thinking skills to read critically
  • learn to communicate effectively in speaking and in writing;
  • read and understand a variety of literary forms, including primary sources (speeches, plays, novels, histories), as well as secondary sources written in academic prose;
  • construct an original thesis statement and support it with logical evidence using several classical research databases
  • work independently and conduct independent research
  • pursue a wide range of careers (see below)

A Classics major is excellent preparation for the pursuit of a wide range of careers in a large number of fields, including, but not limited to, government, law, education, business, journalism, library science, publishing, foreign service, finance, the entertainment industry, museum and preservation work, pharmaceutical sciences, music and the arts, foundations, technology, web design, and labor relations.

Many Rutgers Classics graduates successfully compete for admission to the best graduate schools in the country. Some Classics majors have gone on to medical school by combining a  Classics major with an appropriate sequence of science courses. Some have earned the state teaching certificate by enrolling in the five-year BA/Master of Education program offered through the Graduate School of Education. Others pursue masters or doctoral degrees to conduct research and teach at the college level, whether in Classics or related fields such as History, Philosophy, Art History, Medieval or Byzantine Studies, English literature, and the Romance languages.

Major Requirements

The Classics Department offers four majors:

(1) Classical Humanities Option (190) 
(2) Greek Option (190 option code B)
(3) Greek and Latin Option (190 option code C)
(4) Latin Option (190 option code D)

The classical humanities option is for those who wish to pursue a general study of the history, literature, and culture of the classical world.  Those who wish to concentrate on one or both ancient languages may choose an option in ancient Greek and Latin, ancient Greek, or Latin.  All courses applied to the major must be completed with a grade of C or better. 

(1) Classical Humanities Option (190) 
The Classical Humanities major is designed to provide students a broad, basic knowledge of the history, literature, and culture of the Classical world. Beginning with the fall semester 2004, a student who pursues the classical humanities option must complete a total of 36 credits in the department.  Credits from approved classical humanities courses in other departments as specified in the undergraduate catalog may be counted among these credits.  Substitutions must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

The following are required of every Classical Humanities major:
a) One course in the Greek (490) or Latin (580) language at the 200-level or above;
b) At least six courses at the 300-level or above.

(2) Greek Option (190 option code B)
A student pursuing the Greek option must take 35 credits in the department, of which 26 must be in the ancient Greek language, and at least six Classics courses at the 300-level or above.

(3) Greek and Latin Option (190 option code C)
The Greek and Latin option requires 35 credits in the department, of which 29 must be in the ancient Greek and Latin languages, and at least six Classics courses at the 300-level or above. The distribution of credits between the two languages may vary, but every major must complete at least 11 credits in each.

(4) Latin Option (190 option code D)
A student who pursues the Latin option must take 35 credits in the department, of which 26 must be in the Latin language, and at least six Classics courses at the 300-level or above.

Minor Requirements

The Classics Department offers three minors:

(1) Classical Humanities Minor (190) 
(2) Latin Minor (580)
(3) Ancient Greek Minor (491)

The classical humanities minor is for those who wish to pursue a general study of the history, literature, and culture of the classical world.  Those who wish to concentrate on one of the ancient languages may choose an ancient Greek or Latin minor.  All courses applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C or better.

(1) Classical Humanities Minor (190)
The minor in Classical Humanities requires a minimum of seven courses in the department.  Of these seven courses, at least three courses must be at the 300-level or above.  Credits from approved classical humanities courses in other departments as specified in the undergraduate catalog may be counted among these.  Substitutions must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

(2) Latin Minor (580)
A student pursuing a Latin minor must complete a minimum of six courses in the Latin language, including three at the 300-level or above.

(3) Ancient Greek Minor (491)
The minor in ancient Greek requires a minimum of six courses in the ancient Greek language, including three at the 300-level or above.

 

 

 

 

Why Classics and the ancient languages?

Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the sciences, it is 90 percent. Latin is also the foundational language for French, Italian, and Spanish, and other Romance languages. So, study of the ancient languages provides students with excellent communication skills for use in any field, including business, law, medicine, journalism, public administration, and so on.

Much of western culture originated in ancient Greece and Rome, including, for example: democracy, science, mathematics, philosophy, drama, and the writing of history. In studying these ancient societies, we learn the foundational concepts and contexts that produced some of the most important triumphs of human civilization.

In addition, the Greco-Roman world has been referred to as the archetypal multiculture. The Roman empire included all the peoples living around the Mediterranean Sea and the widely disparate cultures of not only Europe but also Asia, the Near East, and North Africa. Rome was thus a cultural melting pot, giving us invaluable lessons for today’s society.

Perhaps the best reason to study Classics is the well-trained mind that results. Studying the Classical tradition necessarily involves rigorous training in the languages; immersion in superb literature and art; and sophisticated literary, historical, and philosophical study. Our majors develop the following skills:

  • strategic and tactical thinking: the ability to anticipate outcomes from hypothetical situations
  • political awareness: an understanding of how power differentials between groups are used to achieve desired outcomes
  • critical judgment: the ability to construct a logical argument, identify cause and effect, and spot the difference between rhetoric and substance

There is a reason why students who major in Classics or classical languages routinely score higher on the GRE and other standardized tests: studying Classics makes you smart.

Contact Us

Rutgers Classics Department
Academic Building, 6th floor
15 Seminary Place
College Avenue Campus
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

classics@classics.rutgers.edu
(848) 932 9797