The undergraduate classics major gives students an understanding of the cultures, languages and literatures of ancient Greece, Rome and the Mediterranean world. Classics is a broadly interdisciplinary field. Most courses focus on ancient Greece and Rome, but students in the department also study the interactions among various ancient cultures, from the prehistoric Near East to the late antique Mediterranean, and the impact of classical cultures on later societies.
The classics degree requirements are also designed to encourage students to explore courses in allied fields such as religion, history, comparative literature, and art history.
A major or minor in classics can also be very successfully paired with degrees in a range of other fields. Our students have been known to combine their study of classics with a number of other majors and minors, including pre-med, religion, cinematic arts, and political science.
To declare a major or minor, and to monitor the fulfillment of degree requirement, students should consult Isaura Peña in the USC Dornsife Office of Advising. To discuss long range plans and interests, students should meet with Professor Lucas Herchenroeder, Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Departmental honors will be awarded to students in all tracks of the classics major for work of exceptional academic merit in completing requirements for the capstone research project (CLAS 410). Nomination of students for consideration for honors will be made by the instructor of CLAS 410, followed by a review and confirmation of awardees by the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Normally, to be eligible for departmental honors, a student must earn a GPA in major courses in classics of 3.7 or above.
Academic Distinctions in Latin and Greek
The department also will confer special distinction at graduation for students demonstrating exceptional achievement in study of the classical languages. Students may be considered for the Academic Distinction in Latin or Greek (or both) by passing a sight translation exam in the languages offered each year at the conclusion of the spring semester. A separate exam will be given in Latin and Greek, and each will consist of passages drawn from authors and works read in the previous six semesters’ upper-division language seminars (inclusive of the semester in which the exam is given). Students taking the exam are permitted the use of a dictionary.