Requirements: Classics

Humanities Division

The study of the classics concerns the one fixed point of reference in the liberal arts: the origins. Classics is an interdisciplinary field at whose core lies the study of the primary evidence for all aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. A knowledge of the classics enhances understanding in a variety of disciplines, including art and architecture, history, political science, philosophy, religion, drama, linguistics and modern literatures. 

At the heart of Kenyon's classics curriculum is the study of Greek and Latin. Every semester, Greek and Latin are offered at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Complementing the essential study of the original languages, survey courses in archaeology, civilization, history and mythology are offered every year. In addition, the department regularly offers courses in topics of special interest, covering subjects such as ancient drama, travel in the ancient world, rhetoric and the illicit trade in antiquities.

The department encourages its students to study abroad, especially in Greece and Italy, but in many other countries as well, either during the summer or for a semester or year.

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New Students

First-year students or students new to classics are particularly advised to take the classical civilization courses. Courses in classical civilization do not require a knowledge of Greek or Latin. Under this heading, students' particular interests may lead them to courses that concern ancient history, literature, myth or archaeology. Please note that the distinction between civilization courses at the 100 level and 200 level is not one of difficulty. Courses at the 200 level tend to have a narrower focus than the surveys at the 100 level, but both typically combine lectures and discussions, and the work may involve presentations, papers, and tests.

New students also are encouraged to take Latin and/or Greek at the appropriate level. Those who have previously studied Latin or Greek should consult with a member of the departmental faculty to determine which course would be appropriate. We offer proficiency tests in both Latin and (on demand) Greek during Orientation and in Latin during the spring semester. For many reasons, it is ideal for students to begin studying a language in their first year of college, and our elementary courses in both Latin and Greek are specifically designed to meet their needs. No previous linguistic training is required or assumed for these courses, but regular attendance and thorough preparation are crucial.

Second Language Proficiency Requirement

A year of study at Kenyon in either Latin or Greek satisfies the second language proficiency requirement. To satisfy the language requirement through previous study in Latin, a student needs a score of 4 or 5 on the Latin Advanced Placement exam, or a passing grade on the department's proficiency test. The proficiency test is given during the Orientation Program as well as on the Wednesday of the ninth full week of classes in the spring semester. The examination tests the student on the equivalent of a year of Latin at Kenyon. To satisfy the language requirement through previous study in Ancient Greek, a student needs to achieve a passing grade on an examination set by the department during Orientation, but only by arrangement between the student and the department. The examination tests the student on the equivalent of a year of Greek at Kenyon.

Requirements for the Major

Students majoring in classics may choose any one of the four tracks:

  • Greek and Latin
  • Greek
  • Latin
  • Classical civilization

A Senior Capstone and CLAS 471 Senior Seminar are required of all majors. Students must declare their classics major by November 1 of their senior year.

Students who intend to continue the study of the classics in graduate school are advised to choose the Latin and Greek form of the major and to develop reading ability in both French and German.

Time away from Kenyon, as well as other circumstances, may render it impossible for a student to proceed with his or her language study according to the established sequence: LATN 101Y–102Y or GREK 111Y–112Y, respectively, followed by one odd-numbered and one even-numbered course on the 200 level, followed by as many courses as possible on the 300 level. To take one of the courses in Latin or Greek offered at Kenyon out of sequence, a student must solicit in advance the department's approval for the necessary deviation by means of a brief petition emailed to all classics faculty members currently on campus. Students wishing to substitute a different course for any of the courses required for their type of the major or minor should follow the same procedure.

We encourage all majors and minors to take as many as possible of the seven survey courses. We offer at least two, and usually three, of these core courses every year, which are known as the core civilization courses:

  • CLAS 101 Greek Civilization
  • CLAS 102 Roman Civilization
  • CLAS 111 Greek History
  • CLAS 112 Roman History
  • CLAS 121 Greek Archaeology
  • CLAS 122 Roman Archaeology
  • CLAS 130 Classical Mythology

Greek and Latin track (6 units minimum)

  • Five units of Latin and Ancient Greek, with at least two courses in each
  • One of our core courses:
    • CLAS 101 Greek Civilization
    • CLAS 102 Roman Civilization
    • CLAS 111 Greek History
    • CLAS 112 Roman History
    • CLAS 121 Greek Archaeology
    • CLAS 122 Roman Archaeology
    • CLAS 130 Classical Mythology
  • CLAS 471 Senior Seminar

Greek track (5 units minimum) — The Greek track must include at least one core course concentrating on Greece, either CLAS 101, 111 or 121

  • Three units of Ancient Greek
  • Two of our core courses:
    • CLAS 101 Greek Civilization
    • CLAS 102 Roman Civilization
    • CLAS 111 Greek History
    • CLAS 112 Roman History
    • CLAS 121 Greek Archaeology
    • CLAS 122 Roman Archaeology
    • CLAS 130 Classical Mythology
  • One classics, Greek, Latin or Sanskrit course or any approved cognate course taught in another department
  • CLAS 471 Senior Seminar

Latin track (5 units minimum) — The Latin track must include at least one course in Classics concentrating on Rome, either CLAS 102, 112 or 122

  • Three units of Latin
  • Two of our core courses:
    • CLAS 101 Greek Civilization
    • CLAS 102 Roman Civilization
    • CLAS 111 Greek History
    • CLAS 112 Roman History
    • CLAS 121 Greek Archaeology
    • CLAS 122 Roman Archaeology
    • CLAS 130 Classical Mythology
  • One classics, Greek, Latin or Sanskrit course or any approved cognate course taught in another department
  • CLAS 471 Senior Seminar

Classical Civilization track (5 units minimum)

  • Two units of either Ancient Greek or Latin
  • Three of our core courses:
    • CLAS 101 Greek Civilization
    • CLAS 102 Roman Civilization
    • CLAS 111 Greek History
    • CLAS 112 Roman History
    • CLAS 121 Greek Archaeology
    • CLAS 122 Roman Archaeology
    • CLAS 130 Classical Mythology
  • Two classics, Latin, Greek or Sanskrit course or any approved cognate course(s) taught in other departments
  • CLAS 471 Senior Seminar

Senior Capstone

To fulfill the Senior Capstone, each track must pass the appropriate sight translation examinations and the senior seminar. For detailed information about the Senior Capstone, please see the classics department webpage.

Honors

Honors in classics involves a substantial senior thesis in the area of Greek, Latin, ancient history or archaeology. The thesis is written in the senior year under the direction of an advisor.

For detailed information about Honors, please see the classics department webpage.

Requirements for the Minor

The minor in classics requires the completion of six courses as follows:

  • Five courses in classics, Greek, Latin or Sanskrit in any combination. Students may substitute an approved cognate course taught in another department for one of these five courses
  • CLAS 471 Senior Seminar

Minors do NOT have to take the sight translation examinations that constitute part of the Senior Capstone for majors. Students must declare a classics minor by November 1 of their senior year.

Cognate Courses

Several of the forms of the classics major and minor allow one or two cognate courses taught in other departments to be used to meet requirements. These courses include, but are not limited to, the following:

ARHS 110 Survey of Art, Part I
ARHS 220 Greek Art
ARHS 221 Roman Art
ARHS 373 Topics in Ancient Art
DRAM 251 Classical Drama
HIST 437 Late Antiquity
IPHS 113Y-114Y Odyssey of the West (.5 unit)
PHIL 200 Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 308 Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy
PHIL 353 Aristotle
PSCI 220 Classical Quest for Justice
PSCI 421 Socrates Seminar
PSCI 422 Thucydides: War and Philosophy
RLST 125 The New Testament

To determine whether a particular course not on this list may be counted as a cognate course for a major or minor, the student should email a brief inquiry to all classics faculty members currently on campus.

Transfer Credit

Transfer students and students who study abroad may receive collegiate credit for coursework completed off campus, but each student should ascertain from the department in advance how work done elsewhere will be credited to the departmental requirements for the major.