Classics is dedicated to study of the literature, history, art, and thought of ancient Greece and Rome. As such it is an inherently interdisciplinary field, grounded in the critical reading of Greek and Latin texts but involving examination of all aspects of Greek and Roman civilization from multiple perspectives. The program of the Classics Department at Lawrence University emphasizes the study of Greek and Roman literature and history, supported by multidisciplinary engagement with topics drawn from a range of related academic fields, as a basis for the exploration of Greek and Roman culture, the Greco-Roman classical tradition, and the many interactions of the Greeks and Romans with other peoples of the ancient world in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

Required for the minor in Classical Studies

Required for the minor in Classical Studies: 6-9 courses depending on Latin ability, as determined by prior language study and/or placement exam. For further information about the placement exam, see below.

1. Completion of beginning and intermediate Latin language courses.

  • CLAS 100: Beginning Latin 1 (or equivalent)
  • CLAS 110: Beginning Latin 2 (or equivalent)
  • CLAS 220: Intermediate Latin (or equivalent)

2. At least one course (6 units) in Latin literature at the 300- or 400-level.

These are paired courses (300- and 400-level meeting jointly) with texts read in Latin. All have a prerequisite of CLAS 220 (or equivalent).

  • CLAS 301/401: Topics in Latin Literature
  • CLAS 302/402: Ovid
  • CLAS 303/403: Catullus and Horace
  • CLAS 304/404: Virgil
  • CLAS 306/406: The Roman Novel
  • CLAS 307/407: Cicero
  • CLAS 308/408: Roman Historians

3. At least three courses (18 units) in Greek and Roman history, culture, and civilization. At least one of these courses (6 units) must be taken at the 300-level or above.

Students may fulfill this requirement by choosing from the following list of courses. These are courses in which all texts are read in English translation.

  • CLAS 150: Survey of Greek History
  • CLAS 160: Survey of Roman History
  • CLAS 250: Classical Mythology
  • CLAS 260: Classical Literature in Translation
  • CLAS 280: Warfare in Classical Antiquity
  • CLAS 300: Periclean Athens
  • CLAS 305: Fall of the Roman Republic
  • CLAS 310: Augustan Rome
  • CLAS 363: Greek and Roman Drama in Translation
  • CLAS 370: Greek and Roman Epic in Translation
  • CLAS 421: Topics in Greek Literature

4. Two elective courses (12 units).

Students may fulfill this requirement by choosing two additional approved courses in Classics (CLAS) or related fields. At least one of these courses (6 units) must be taken at the 200-level or above.

Electives may be chosen from any of the following categories. Students are not limited to any one category in making their choices.

a. Courses in Latin literature.

For the list of eligible courses, see under requirement #2 above.

b. Courses in Greek and Roman history, culture, and civilization.

For the list of eligible courses, see under requirement #3 above.

c. Courses in related fields.

Students may also choose their electives from the following list of approved courses originating in other departments:

  • ARHI 135 (CLAS 135): Temples and Togas
  • ARHI 206: Mosques and Minotaurs
  • ARHI 215: Parchment, Power, and Play
  • ARHI 301: Topics in Ancient Art
  • ENG 527: History of the Book
  • GOVT 200: Politics and Human Nature
  • HIST 105: Cultures of the Silk Road
  • PHIL 200: History of Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle
  • RLST 290: Religion in Ancient Egypt
  • RLST 285 Hebrew Prophets
  • RLST 316: Greek and Arabic Philosophical Traditions
  • RLST 365: Mediterranean Cities

Latin placement exam

Students who have prior experience with Latin and who wish to begin taking Latin at Lawrence at the intermediate or advanced level should complete the online Latin placement exam via Canvas. Students may take the exam at any time, but should plan to do so well in advance of the term in which they expect to take their first Latin course. Students wishing to take this exam should contact the department chair.

The online Latin placement exam consists of parsing/form identifications, a short sight translation passage, and grammar questions about the passage.

The Classics Department will grade online Latin placement exams as they are received, and will notify students of their placement as quickly as possible. While each student’s language experience will be judged on a case-by-case basis, here are some general guidelines:

1-2 years of high school experience: start at the 100-level

2-3 years of high school experience: start at the 200-level

3-4 years of high school experience: start at the 300-level

foreign language competency general education requirement

Students may fulfill the university’s foreign language competency requirement by taking Latin at the intermediate level (CLAS 220) or any 300- or 400-level course in Latin literature. 

Any student who wishes to satisfy the foreign language competency requirement in Latin via examination must take the Latin placement exam in person under proctored conditions. Students must achieve a grade in the A-range (90% or above) on the proctored Latin placement exam in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement. The proctored Latin placement exam is offered annually during Week 1 of the Fall Term. Students who wish to take this exam must notify the department chair by no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Friday of Welcome Week.

The major in Classics

The major in Classics has been suspended. Beginning in the 2022-23 academic year, entering students may not declare a major in Classics. Students who previously declared a major in Classics may continue under the requirements listed in their course catalog of record (typically their matriculation year). Students who matriculated in the 2021-22 academic year or earlier may be able to declare and complete a major in Classics under its previous requirements; interested students should contact the department chair for further information.

Senior Experience in Classics

Note: The following information is intended for those students who are planning to complete their already declared major in Classics during the 2023-24 academic year, or who may be eligible to complete the major under its previous requirements (see above).

The Senior Experience in Classics consists of a self-designed project that enables each student to explore a topic of individual interest within the field. During the senior year, one term of independent study (6 units) is required to complete this project.

Classics majors must choose a topic and advisor for their Senior Experience project no later than the end of the Spring Term of the junior year. The due date for submission of the final version of the project will be determined in consultation with the advisor, but should normally be no later than the end of the Winter Term of the senior year.

The Senior Experience in Classics may be fulfilled in a variety of ways, in consultation with the department faculty. Scholarly, creative, pedagogical, and experiential projects are all viable options. Past Senior Experience projects have included: research papers on topics ranging from the interaction of speech and identity in Homer's Iliad to Hannibal's military strategy in Italy during the Second Punic War; choreographing and staging a mixed-media dance performance that incorporated the recitation of passages of Greek and Roman lyric poetry; designing a stage set and lighting for a production of Euripides' Medea; and using computer rendering software to create an explorable three-dimensional model of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae in Greece. 

Students pursuing double majors, double degrees, and/or education certification are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors and department chairs in planning their Senior Experience projects as early as possible, especially if they are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary capstone that integrates their interests in both majors or combines student teaching with a project in their major

The minors in Greek and Latin

The minors in Greek and Latin are suspended. Students may not declare a minor in Greek or Latin during the 2023-24 academic year. Returning students who have already declared a minor in Latin, or who will meet the previous requirements for this minor by the end of the 2023-24 academic year, may complete the minor under the requirements listed in their course catalog of record (typically the catalog for their matriculation year).

International study

The undergraduate classics programs at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (ICCS-Rome), the American University of Rome (ISA Rome), and the College Year in Athens (CYA) are affiliated and approved options for study abroad in classics. Consult the department chair for more details.