Majors and Minors

Majors and Minors

General descriptions of our major and minor programs are given on this page of the website. For a full listing of our courses as well as further details on our majors and minors, consult the Union College Academic Register.

Students without previous training in Greek or Latin who are interested in majoring in Classics are strongly encouraged to begin the study of one of the languages as soon as possible in their academic career. Students interested in minoring in Classics are encouraged to study one of the languages, but we also offer a minor in Classical Civilization which does not require language study.

Members of the department are always eager to discuss our programs with interested students; we can be found in Lamont House, and we are always happy to answer questions by email, so please fee free to email our chair, Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller (aka Molinarius) at muellerh@union.edu.

Requirements for the Major

The department has four basic tracks to enable students to major in Classics (others are possible, too — just ask). One track is for students who wish to study both Latin and Greek intensively, another for concentrators in Latin, another for concentrators in Greek, and the fourth for concentrators in classical civilization. All tracks require study of at least one ancient language, and study of both Latin and Greek is strongly encouraged. We list here minimum requirements.

The Classics (Latin and Greek) track

  • 3 courses in Latin beyond Latin 103
  • 4 courses in Greek
  • 3 courses in classics (Classics 121 Greek History, 126 Roman Republic, and 134 Classical Art & Archaeology)
  • Classics 129 Roman Empire may be substituted for Classics 126. Classics 139 City of Rome or an equivalent course in art history may be substituted for Classics 134.

The Latin track

  • 8 courses in Latin
  • 2-3 courses in classics (including Classics 126 Roman Republic and 134 Classical Art & Archaeology)
  • Courses in Greek may be substituted for two of the courses in Latin as well as for courses in classics. Classics 129 Roman Empire may be substituted for Classics 126. Classics 139 City of Rome or an equivalent course in art history may be substituted for Classics 134.

The Greek track

  • 8 courses in Greek
  • 2-3 courses in classics (including Classics 121 Greek History and 134 Classical Art & Archaeology)
  • Courses in Latin may be substituted for two of the courses in Greek as well as for courses in classics. Classics 139 City of Rome or an equivalent course in art history may be substituted for Classics 134.

The Classical Civilization track

  • 4 courses in one classical language (i.e., in either Greek or Latin)
  • 6-7 courses in classics (including Classics 121 Greek History, 126 Roman Republic, and 134 Classical Art & Archaeology)
  • Courses in Greek and Latin may be substituted for some courses in classics. Classics 129 Roman Empire may be substituted for Classics 126. Classics 139 City of Rome or an equivalent course in art history may be substituted for Classics 134.

Senior thesis/senior project

All majors must complete either a two-term senior thesis or a one-term senior project. The senior thesis represents two terms of research and writing, followed by a public performance or an oral examination based on the thesis. The senior project involves a one-term, intensive study of an ancient author or topic, followed by a public performance or comprehensive examination. Students who intend to do graduate work in Classics should consult the department chair for additional requirements.

Requirements for Interdepartmental Majors

Students who wish to create an interdepartmental major should speak to the department chair as early as possible. Generally, students in an interdepartmental major are required to receive a passing grade in at least eight courses offered by the Classics Department. Four of those courses must be in one of the ancient languages. All interdepartmental majors must have their program of study approved by the department chair.

Departmental Honors

To be eligible for graduation honors, a student must have achieved a minimum index of 3.35 in Classics department courses as well as having received a grade of B+ or better in at least one upper-level language course (Greek or Latin) with a course number of 130 or above. The student must also achieve a grade of A- or better on the senior thesis and present a distinctive performance in the oral examination based on the thesis. In addition, the student must satisfy College requirements for departmental honors.

Requirements for the Minor

The department has three tracks to a minor in Classics.

The Latin track

  • 5-6 courses in Latin
  • Classics 126 Roman Republic and 129 Roman Empire are strongly encouraged

The Greek track

  • 5-6 courses in Greek
  • Classics 121 Greek History is strongly encouraged

The Classical Civilization track

  • 6 courses combined in classics, Latin, or Greek