Learning Goals

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.