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Classics

Department Overview

218 Denny

The discipline of classics concerns itself with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The department is concerned with the Greek and Latin languages and their literatures, including poetry, drama, history, philosophy, rhetoric, and political theory, as well as with classical art and archaeology. The ancient cultures of Greece and Rome hold an extraordinary place in the American past and present, thanks to their central role in forming the basic conceptual categories that shape our intellectual, professional, and civic lives. The vast temporal and geographic gulf that divides these ancient cultures from modernity brings students and scholars of classics face to face with the otherness of antiquity and forces a critical examination of our own cultural roots.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
218 Denny, Box 353110
(206) 543-2266
clasdept@uw.edu

The Department of Classics offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in classics, Greek, Latin, and classical studies.
  • Minors in classical studies, Greek, Latin, and classics and ancient history.

The majors in classics, Greek, and Latin emphasize the development of expertise in Greek and Latin and can include coursework in the history, literature, philosophy, science, and the art and archaeology of these two contrasting but related cultures. Students who intend to continue their studies to the PhD degree are advised to take the BA in classics or, alternatively, the BA in Latin or Greek with as many courses in the second language as possible.

A fourth major, the Bachelor of Arts with a major in classical studies, is especially suited to students wishing to explore the literature, history, art, archaeology, and philosophy of classical antiquity, primarily through English translations. The classical studies major demands less study of the classical languages of Greece and Rome than is required for the other majors. Students with no previous exposure to Greek or Latin can complete the classical studies major in two years. Students have often combined this major with another major such as English, history, or art history, and even with a non-humanities major such as computer science, biochemistry, or economics.

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: First- and second-year Latin and/or classical Greek, classics in translation, ancient history, classical art and archaeology, ancient philosophy.

Department Admission Requirements

Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time.

Major Requirements

66 credits in each of the majors, to include:

  • Greek: 27 approved credits in Greek at the 400 level plus 9 credits chosen with department approval from courses in Latin, Greek at the 400 level, classics in English, classical art and archaeology, ancient history, the history of ancient philosophy, and the history of ancient science. The major must include a minimum of 2 credits of CLAS 495.
  • Latin: 27 approved credits in Latin at the 400 level plus 9 credits chosen with department approval from courses in Greek, Latin at the 400 level, classics in English, classical art and archaeology, ancient history, the history of ancient philosophy, and the history of ancient science. The major must include a minimum of 2 credits of CLAS 495.
  • Classics: 15 approved credits in Greek at the 400 level and 15 approved credits in Latin at the 400 level; 6 additional credits (including 2 credits of CLAS 495) chosen from the following courses: Greek and Latin at the 400 level, classics in English, classical art and archaeology, ancient history, the history of ancient philosophy, and the history of ancient science.
  • Classical Studies: Greek or Latin through 307 or the equivalent; 36 additional credits chosen with department approval from the following courses: Greek and Latin at 400 level (including a minimum of 2 credits of CLAS 495), classics in English, classical art and archaeology, ancient history, the history of ancient philosophy, and the history of ancient science. Classical studies is especially suited to students not preparing for graduate study in classics but wishing to explore the literature, history, art, archaeology, and philosophy of classical antiquity primarily through English translations.
  • Note: Competence to take 400-level courses which count toward the Latin, Greek, and classics majors generally requires four-to-six quarters (20-30 credits) of previous study. 

Minor

Minor Requirements: Minimum 25 credits as follows for each of the minors except Classics and Ancient History, which requires 30 credits:

  • Classical Studies: 25 approved credits from classics in English, classical art and archaeology, ancient history, the history of ancient philosophy, and the history of ancient science.
  • Greek: Minimum 25 credits in Greek, including at least 6 credits at the 400 level (excluding GREEK 490).
  • Latin: Minimum 25 credits in Latin, including at least 6 credits at the 400 level (excluding LATIN 490).
  • Classics and Ancient History: 30 credits from the course list below, including at least 20 upper-division credits (15 of which must be taken at the UW). 100-level credit is not accepted. Minimum 10 credits from each department (Classics and History). A minimum grade of 2.0 is required in each course. Not available to students pursuing majors or other minors in classics.

    Courses: CLAS 210, CLAS 320, CLAS 322, CLAS 324, CLAS 326, CLAS 328, CLAS 330, CLAS 424, CLAS 427, CLAS 428, CLAS 430, CLAS 432, CLAS 435, CLAS 445, CLAS 496 (except when topic is medieval); CL AR 340, CL AR 341, CL AR 342, CL AR 343, CL AR 442, CL AR 443, CL AR 444, CL AR 446, CL AR 447, CL AR 448; GREEK (all upper-division courses except GREEK 300 and GREEK 301); LATIN (all upper-division courses except LATIN 300, LATIN 301, LATIN 401, and LATIN 402); HSTAM 205, HSTAM 302, HSTAM 312, HSTAM 313, HSTAM 314, HSTAM 330, HSTAM 401, HSTAM 402, HSTAM 403; HIST 490 (when topic is ancient), HIST 498 (when topic is ancient).

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The undergraduate study of classics emphasizes critical analysis of language and culture and clear and effective writing. The BA with a major in classics is a respected terminal degree in itself. Like other degree programs in the humanities, it emphasizes the acquisition of those analytic and communications skills which are indispensable for careers in government, journalism, law, industry, medicine, and business. The classics major (especially in its more language-intensive forms) is often a mark of distinction when a graduate applies for admission to professional school.

    Many who take the bachelor's degree in classics go on to pursue graduate work in the subject at leading PhD programs. Graduates include winners of prestigious national awards such as Mellon Fellowships for graduate study and the Rhodes Scholarship.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The departmental office provides access to several computers for research and coursework. The Classics Department sponsors numerous lectures by distinguished speakers visiting from universities in this country and abroad; undergraduates are always welcome to attend.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors). With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: None offered.
  • Department Scholarships:
    • Jim Greenfield Undergraduate Scholarship is intended for undergraduate majors in classics. The object of the Jim Greenfield scholarship is to enable exceptionally well-qualified students to devote the maximum time and energy to their study of the classics at the University of Washington. While the first criterion is academic promise, an applicant's current means of support is also taken into consideration; therefore, the amount of the award may vary from partial tuition to full tuition and some expenses. Successful candidates may reapply for the following year.
    • Jim Greenfield Undergraduate Travel Bursaries: Jim Greenfield Undergraduate Travel Bursaries may be used for the department's Rome Program, for travel associated with participation in archaeological excavations, for independent travel to areas of classical interest, or for other kinds of study-related travel for which the applicant can make a cogent case. In some cases an award might allow a student to remain overseas for study travel in the wake of the department's Rome Program. Further information about applying for a Jim Greenfield Undergraduate Travel Bursary is available in the department office.
    • In addition to the above, undergraduates are eligible to apply or be nominated for:
    • Classics Students Travel Fund: provides financial support for students in the Classics Department who are intending to participate in the departmental Rome program or extramural programs, to attend conferences, or to travel to specific places in support of their studies.
    • Harvey Bruce Densmore Memorial Fund: rewards distinguished undergraduate students of Greek.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: None

Of Special Note:

  • CLAS 101, CLAS 102, CLAS 205, and HIST 111 may not be taken in fulfillment of major requirements for baccalaureate degrees in the Department of Classics.
  • Classical Seminar in Rome: During spring quarter, the department offers instruction in classics for advanced undergraduate majors and graduate students at the University of Washington Rome Center, located in the Palazzo Pio on the Campo de Fiori.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
218 Denny, Box 353110
(206) 543-2266
clasdept@uw.edu

The Department of Classics offers programs of graduate study leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The MA degree may be in Greek, Latin, or classics (a combination of Greek and Latin). The PhD degree requires both Greek and Latin.

The program of formal instruction ensures comprehensive and thorough training in the basic disciplines needed for teaching and research. The department offers courses in the major writers and periods of literature, philosophy, and history, in classical art and archaeology, and in Greek and Latin linguistics. The courses in Greek and Latin literature include many works on the PhD-degree reading list. Seminars introduce research techniques through the study of more specialized topics, which vary from quarter to quarter. Students may include in their programs courses and seminars given by other departments in such subjects as ancient philosophy, ancient and medieval history, comparative literature, and linguistics.

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

Strong preparation in Latin and Greek, preferably a full undergraduate major. Although the MA may be attained with work in only one of the languages, students who plan to work toward the PhD must be prepared to do graduate work in both Latin and Greek.

Degree Requirements

36 credits, as follows:

  1. 27 credits in courses and seminars approved by the department as applicable toward an advanced degree and either a) 9 additional credits and a research paper or b) a thesis (9 credits). At least 18 of the total 36 credits must be at the 500 level or above.
  2. Competence in reading German, French, or Italian, demonstrated by passing a departmental examination.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Strong preparation in Latin and Greek, preferably a full undergraduate major. Admission to the PhD program is granted after completion of the MA degree.

Degree Requirements

90 credits, as follows:

  1. Minimum three academic years of graduate study, of which at least two must be at the UW, and one in full-time residence at the University for three out of four consecutive quarters.
  2. 90 credits in courses approved by the department. At least half (which include dissertation credits) must be at the 500 level or above.
  3. Competence in reading German and French, or German and Italian, demonstrated by passing departmental examinations.
  4. Graduate courses (or the equivalent) in Greek and Latin composition.
  5. The classics proseminar (or equivalent).
  6. Written preliminary examinations:
    1. Translation exams on Greek and Latin literature. Reading lists in each language guide the student's preparation for these exams.
    2. A written examination on a special field of classical studies, e.g.; a period of Greek or Roman history, Greek or Latin epigraphy, Athenian or Roman topography, Greek or Roman religion, classical linguistics, metrics, or palaeography, an area of intellectual history, a literary theme or cultural institution. This examination must be taken before the doctoral orals but is preferably taken earlier in the student's graduate program.
    3. Written examinations on two special authors, one Greek and one Latin, which assume a deep familiarity with the text, a knowledge of the textual history, and the important secondary works and trends in scholarship. A special author examination may be taken only after the translation examination in that language has been passed.
  7. An oral general examination on Greek and Roman history, literature, philosophy, and related subjects.
  8. A dissertation approved by the student's Supervisory Committee, and an oral examination on the dissertation.
  9. Graduate students are expected to have teaching experience before completing their terminal degrees.

Research Facilities

The Suzzallo Library has an extensive classics collection. The department's seminar room in Denny Hall, which is available to graduate students for their study and research, contains an excellent non-circulating library with such reference works as Pauly-Wissowa, L'Année Philologique, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, the Müller Handbuch series, the Teubner and Oxford texts, commentaries on the classical authors, standard collections of inscriptions and fragments, and a number of important serials. The department also possesses a license for the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, and other databases.

Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships

The Department of Classics is able to provide substantial support at the graduate level. Jim Greenfield Graduate Fellowships are typically available to highly meritorious incoming graduate students; Jim Greenfield Dissertation Fellowships provide support at the dissertation stage; Phillip and Estelle DeLacy Fellowships and Nesholm Family Endowment Fellowships provide funding to graduate students for various needs; and the Classics Student Travel Fund provides travel funding (to academic conferences, programs abroad, etc.)

In addition, a number of teaching assistantships are available. Assistants teach sections of elementary Latin and Greek, courses in Latin and Greek derivatives, conduct discussion sections in classical literature in translation, or assist faculty members with other courses. The teaching load is four to six hours a week throughout the academic year.