Roman floor mosiac

Classics

Why study Classics?

Classics is the study of the languages, literatures, and civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. These are the oldest European and American traditions of the humanities and the liberal arts. Classics literally means works of the first class or rank, and their profound truths and disciplined forms have ensured their lasting relevance.

What can do you with a Classics degree?

Although the prime purpose of the Classics major is to satisfy a quest for the original intellectual and artistic values of Western civilization, graduates enjoy a range of professional choices in addition to academic careers in Classics and various humanities disciplines. Classics majors are well prepared for law school, and with supplementary coursework in business, economics, or information systems, a Classics graduate can be very competitive in the business world. Classics graduates also have an advantage as editors, librarians, journalists, and technical writers. Opportunities are available in public relations, government, and other fields where general knowledge, perspective, and a facility with language serve not only the public good but one’s own success.

Why choose our program?

All Classics majors take two or more years of Greek or Latin. They may choose the language emphasis that allows them to study one or both languages, or they may choose the broader emphasis in classical humanities. Classics majors have at their disposal the Burnett Classics Seminar Room with its library and media resources. In addition to small language classes, close academic advising, and the fellowship of a small department with diverse interests, Classics majors culminate their studies with a senior seminar.


alumni Allen Ross
"As an alumni of the Department of Classics, I was well prepared to continue studying language at the graduate level. The breadth and depth of the curricula taught by the department developed my critical thinking skills and gave me the foundation to pursue a Master's in Historical Linguistics. The faculty and staff are excellent mentors, and through the leadership opportunities the department provided I was able to build a strong resume and confidently teach a small class in my first semester of graduate school." 

-Allen Ross, Classics graduate

Our Major

We offer three emphases for students to choose from: Classical HumanitiesClassical Language, or Classical Languages with Honors.

Premajor Requirements (16 units)

  • Classics 101G-202G (10 unit sequence) or Classics 101L-202L (10 unit sequence)
  • 6 units from any other lower division course offered in classics, or Comparative Literature 270A, History 105, Humanities 140.

Students should note that a number of the upper division required and recommended courses listed below have lower division prerequisites, but these prerequisites do not constitute requirements per se for the completion of the major.

Language Requirement (6 units)

Majors in Emphasis in Classical Humanities require completion of six upper division units in a classical language in addition to lower division prerequisites.

Major Requirements (30 units)

  • Classics 320
  • Classics 330
  • History 502
  • History 503
  • Humanities 490
  • 6 units of upper division Greek or Latin
  • 9 units of approved electives in art, comparative literature, history, philosophy, theatre, and religious studies appropriate to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world (additional prerequisites may apply to upper division courses outside the department).

Elective courses taken to fulfill the major must be approved by the humanities undergraduate adviser.

Premajor Requirements (16 units)

  • Classics 101G-202G (10 unit sequence) or Classics 101L-202L (10 unit sequence)
  • 6 units from any other lower division course offered in classics, or Comparative Literature 270A, History 105, Humanities 140

Language Requirement (6 units)

Majors in Emphasis in Classical Language require completion of six upper division units in a classical language in addition to lower division prerequisites. 

Major Requirements (30 units)

  • Classics 320
  • Humanities 490
  • History 502 or 503
  • 12-18 units of upper division Greek or Latin
  • 3-9 units of electives in Art 568, History 502, 503, Philosophy 401A (additional prerequisites may apply to upper division courses outside the department)

Elective courses taken to fulfill the major must be approved by the humanities undergraduate adviser.

Premajor Requirements (20 units)

  • Classics 101G-202G (10 unit sequence)
  • Classics 101L-202L (10 unit sequence)

Language Requirement (6 units)

Majors in Emphasis in Classical Languages with Honors require completion of six upper division units in Greek and six upper division units in Latin in addition to lower division prerequisites in Greek and Latin. 

Major Requirements (36 units)

  • Classics 320
  • Humanities 490
  • History 502 or 503
  • 6-12 units of upper division Greek
  • 6-12 units of upper division Latin
  • 3-9 units of electives in Art 568, History 502, 503, Philosophy 401A (additional prerequisites may apply to upper division courses outside the department)

Elective courses taken to fulfill the major must be approved by the humanities undergraduate adviser.

During their last semester, ALL seniors majoring in classics shall submit to the department a portfolio of their scholarly work that includes a 300-word summary of their study of the classics, the paper submitted for Humanities 490, and seminar presentation. A minor is not required with this major.

Our Minor

We offer two emphases for students to choose from: Classical Humanities and Classical Language.

The minor in classical humanities consists of a minimum of 18 units in classics, of which 12 units must be upper division. Of these twelve upper division units, a maximum of six units of approved upper division electives in art, comparative literature, history, philosophy, religious studies, and theatre appropriate to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world may be substituted for classics courses (additional prerequisites may apply to upper division courses outside the department).
The minor in classical language consists of a minimum of 17-19 units to include fourteen to sixteen units in Greek or Latin language; a minimum of six upper division units in the language and three units of upper division classics must be completed.

Elective courses taken to fulfill the minor must be approved by the classics undergraduate adviser and the approval must be filed with the Office of Advising and Evaluations. Courses in the minor may not be counted toward the major, but may be used to satisfy preparation for the major and general education requirements, if applicable. A minimum of six upper division units must be completed in residence at San Diego State University.

Our Courses

The following courses are acceptable for the Classics major, minor, and premajor.

Classics includes courses in Greek and Latin as well as non-language courses. Greek course numbers have a G suffix; Latin courses have an L suffix. No credit will be given for Classics 101G, 202G, 303G, 304G taken out of sequence. No credit will be given for Classics 101L, 202L, 303L, 304L taken out of sequence.

CLASS 101G. Ancient Greek I (5) [GE]
Beginning classical Greek. Basic grammar, vocabulary.

CLASS 101L. Latin I (5) [GE]
Beginning classical Latin. Basic grammar, vocabulary. Not open to students with credit in Classics 250L.

CLASS 120. English Words from Latin and Greek (3) [GE]
Latin and Greek words and bases and their English derivatives. Etymology, word analysis and construction, language history, and structure.

CLASS 140. Introduction to Classics (3) [GE]
Survey of Greek and Roman art, literature, drama, sculpture, and institutions. Influence on our culture today. Contemporary relevance of epic heroes, tragic heroines, gods and goddesses. Impact of political thought.

CLASS 202G. Ancient Greek II (5) [GE]
Prerequisite: Classics 101G.
Continuing classical Greek. Grammar, vocabulary, syntax. Preparation for Classics 303G.

CLASS 202L. Latin II (5) [GE]
Prerequisite: Classics 101L.
Continuing classical Latin. Grammar, vocabulary, syntax. Preparation for Classics 303L. Not open to students with credit in Classics 250L.

CLASS 296. Experimental Topics (1-4)
Selected topics. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content. Limit of nine units of any combination of 296, 496, 596 courses applicable to a bachelor’s degree.
C. Experimental Topics in Classics.
G. Experimental Topics in Greek.
L. Experimental Topics in Latin.

CLASS 303G. Reading Greek Prose (3) [GE]
Prerequisite: Classics 202G.
Reading classical prose authors such as Xenophon or Plato in original Greek. Attention to vocabulary, syntax, style, and historical-cultural context.

CLASS 303L. Reading Latin Prose (3) [GE]
Prerequisite: Classics 202L.
Reading classical prose authors such as Caesar or Cicero in original Latin. Attention to vocabulary, syntax, style, and historical-cultural context.

CLASS 304G. Reading Greek Poetry (3) [GE]
Prerequisite: Classics 303G.
Reading classical poets such as Homer or Euripides in original Greek. Attention to vocabulary, syntax, style, and historical-cultural context.

CLASS 304L. Reading Latin Poetry (3) [GE]
Prerequisite: Classics 303L.
Reading classical poets such as Catullus or Ovid in original Latin. Attention to vocabulary, syntax, style, and historical-cultural context.

CLASS 310. Greek and Roman Myth and Legend (3) [GE]
Prerequisite recommended: Rhetoric and Writing Studies 200.
Great stories from the past. Heroes and heroines. Gods and goddesses. War and peace. Love and death. Adventure, romance, and peril in ancient literature, arts, and religion. Relevance and influence today.

CLASS 320. Epic and the Novel (3) [GE]
Prerequisite recommended: Rhetoric and Writing Studies 200.
Four classic works in the genre of epic and the novel in English translation; Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil’s Aeneid, and Apuleius’ Golden Ass. Literary criticism in historical-cultural contexts and relevance today.

CLASS 330. Comedy, Tragedy, Actors, and Audiences (3) [GE]
Prerequisite recommended: Rhetoric and Writing Studies 200.
Classical tragedy and comedy in English translation. Playwrights such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plautus. Ancient theatre, stagecraft, literary criticism, and popular attitudes.

CLASS 340. Gods, Gladiators, and Amazons (3) [GE]
Prerequisite recommended: Rhetoric and Writing Studies 200.
Literary, artistic, and intellectual achievements of the classic world. Temples, tragedies, and texts. Priests, prostitutes, and proconsuls. Great cultural traditions and influences.

CLASS 350. Classics and Cinema (3) [GE]
Heroes, heroines, and conflicts of ancient Greece and Rome as represented in major cinematic “sword and sandal” productions. Screenplays compared with Greek and Latin sources in English translation. 

CLASS 360. Sex, Gender, and the Erotic in the Ancient World (3) [GE]
Prerequisite recommended: Rhetoric and Writing Studies 200 with a grade of C (2.0) or better.
Women’s lives and experiences in ancient Greek and Roman history and literature. Gender/feminist theory and application to readings of ancient texts and material culture. Ancient attitudes toward love and sexual activity. Gender identity, homosexuality, and pederasty.

CLASS 450L. Seminar: Variable Topics in Latin Literature (3)
Prerequisite: Classics 304L.
Reading significant Latin language texts in history, biography, religion, and other areas. Attention to vocabulary, syntax, style, and historical-cultural context. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content. Maximum credit six units.

CLASS 496. Topics in Classical Studies (1-4)
Topics in classical languages, literatures, cultures, and linguistics. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content. Maximum credit nine units. Limit of nine units of any combination of 296, 496, 596 courses applicable to a bachelor’s degree.
C. Topics in Classics.
G. Topics in Greek.
L. Topics in Latin.

CLASS 499. Special Study (1-3)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and department chair.
Directed individual study. Maximum credit six units in any combination of 499C, 499G, 499L.
C. Special Study in Classics.
G. Special Study in Greek.
L. Special Study in Latin.

CLASS 599. Special Study (1-3)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and department chair. For 599C: Classics 304L or 304G. For 599G: Classics 304G. For 599L: Classics 304L.
Directed individual study. Maximum credit nine units in any combination of 599C, 599G, 599L.
C. Special Study in Classics.
G. Special Study in Greek.
L. Special Study in Latin. 


Advising

If you need further information or have any questions, please contact the classics adviser or visit any of the links below.

Dr. Joseph A. Smith
Office: AL 662B | Phone: (619) 594-1526
Email: [email protected]

Important Links: Classics Brochure |  General Catalog |  Class Schedule |  Major Academic Plan