The field of classics encompasses all aspects of Graeco-Roman culture. The heart of classical studies is the collection of literary, historical, philosophical, and scientific writings from Homeric to Byzantine times. The reconstruction and interpretation of these writings is the primary responsibility of the teacher of classics, who is frequently a specialist in some particular field such as poetry, drama, philosophy, epigraphy, papyrology, mythology, or history. All of these studies are interrelated, and classicists pursuing them are working toward the same goal: a wider picture of Graeco-Roman culture as a means toward a clearer understanding of our own.
It cannot be emphasized enough that the field of classics is not a narrow discipline intended for specialists only. The Greek and Roman worlds were themselves the products of cross-cultural exchange and ferment; they constituted the first widespread multicultural societies in the West and as such are of special relevance to our own multicultural society today. A major in classics can serve as a superb preparation for virtually any field of professional endeavor. The fact that classics majors are able to take many courses with small enrollments taught by senior faculty makes it especially attractive to serious students. To serve the interests of as many students as possible, the department offers a major with three distinct emphases (see below).
The department provides advising to undergraduate and graduate students. Course descriptions are prepared and distributed before the start of each quarter, and a brochure is available describing the undergraduate programs.
The Department of Classics offers an intensive summer session in Greece (Athens and Paros). Three standard courses and an undergraduate seminar on special topics offer students wonderful opportunities to study ancient Greek culture, history, and archaeology.
The Education Abroad Program also offers opportunities for study in several countries with strong traditions in teaching classics. England is one of these. Students who elect to go to France, Germany, Italy, or Spain also have an ideal opportunity to learn one of the languages that greatly enhance research in our field. The legacy of the classical past in both Greece (through Summer Sessions) and Italy (through EAP) is at the very center of our discipline. Study abroad under EAP is automatically accredited by UCSB. However, the authority to approve study abroad courses for a student’s major or minor rests with the Department of Classics.
Prizes and Awards
The Keith Aldrich Memorial Awards are given each year by the department to an undergraduate major in classics and to a graduate student in classics, in recognition of outstanding academic achievement.
The Dumas Award in Greek Mythology is given for essays on a mythological topic written in Classics 40. The Dumas Travel Scholarship supports travel to Greece by undergraduates and graduate students.
The Department of Classics at UCSB allows and encourages qualified students to pursue undergraduate honors in classics. Students admitted to the honors program in classics will write an honors thesis during their senior year, supervised by a member of the faculty. Successful completion of the program will be recognized by the award of Distinction in the Major at graduation. An honors thesis for distinction in classics is a substantial piece of critical writing that advances a sustained argument and that shows the student’s ability to conduct research with primary and secondary sources. A thesis is usually at least 25 pages in length (excluding appendices and bibliography). Candidates for the honors program in classics should petition the department chair at the end of their junior year; candidates must have been in residence at UCSB for one year (three quarters) as classics majors by time of graduation, must have maintained a grade-point average of 3.6 in the major, and must obtain the consent of two faculty members, one to serve as advisor and one as a second reader. In the first quarter of their senior year, honors students will work with faculty members to develop a suitable topic; in each of the remaining quarters, they will enroll in Classics 195A-B, Senior Honors Thesis in Classics, to research and write the honors thesis in consultation with the thesis advisor and the second reader. Writing an honors thesis is strongly recommended for students considering graduate work in classics.
The undergraduate program in classics
challenging and rewarding course of study in the unified field
culture. It is designed to accommodate both the aspirant to
graduate studies in
classics or related fields and the student primarily interested
undergraduate liberal arts major.
Students choose an emphasis in one of
three areas: (1)
language and literature, (2) Greek and Roman culture, or (3)
three are excellent liberal-arts degrees, but while option (2)
designed to be a intellectually exciting and rigorous
exploration of classical
culture, options (1) and (3) require somewhat more study of a
language and are, therefore, generally better suited for those
pursue graduate study in classics or classical archaeology
Students should keep in mind that strong language preparation
(2-3 years of
each language) is normally required for admission to a graduate
Classics. Since this exceeds the minimum language requirements
in all of the
three major emphases, those interested in taking this route will
need to do
more than satisfy the minimal language requirements for their
emphasis they choose.
Note: In the first quarter of their
junior year, all
majors must make an appointment with the undergraduate advisor
to review their
progress towards meeting the requirements of the major.