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Classical Studies

The Classical Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary examination of the ancient Mediterranean world, from the era of the Bronze Age to the great transformations of late antiquity. The program centers on the cultures of Greece and Rome and is inclusive of other cultures of the region. In the Classical Studies Program students study the Ancient World through a diverse disciplinary lens, with courses offered in History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Visual Arts, and more.

Questions regarding major or minor requirements may be directed toward the Program Coordinator via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).


Program Directors

Mira Balberg
Professor, History

Matthew T. Herbst
Director, Making of the Modern World Program

Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor

Jennifer Dieli
Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor
Ridge Walk Academic Complex - Arts and Humanities Building, 6th Floor, Room 655

Current UC San Diego undergraduate students, please use the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) for all advising questions.


Mira Balberg
Professor, History

Denise Demetriou
Professor, History

Page Ann duBois
Professor, Literature

Thomas Gallant
Distinguished Professor, History

Matthew T. Herbst
Director, Making of the Modern World Program

Monte Johnson
Professor, Philosophy

Dayna Kalleres
Associate Professor, Literature

Edward Kelting
Assistant Professor, Literature

Seth Lerer
Distinguished Professor, Literature

Patricia Marechal
Assistant Professor, Philosophy

Jacobo Myerston
Assistant Professor, Literature

Christopher Shields
Distinguished Professor, Philosophy

Edward Watts
Professor, History


Classical Studies Major

Classical Studies offers a choice between two tracks for a major: A Language Emphasis track and a Cultures Emphasis track. For both tracks, a major in classical studies consists of a choice of twelve upper-division courses (forty-eight units) approved for the program and listed below. All courses used to meet requirements for a major in classical studies must be taken for a letter grade and be passed with a grade of C– or better. 

Language Emphasis Track

This track is intended for students who are interested in intensive language study of Greek and Latin. For this track, before commencing upper-division work in Greek and Latin literature (LTGK and LTLA), students must complete LTGK 1-2-3 and LTLA 1-2-3, or demonstrate the equivalent with transfer credit. Six of the twelve upper-division courses must be distributed between upper-division LTLA and LTGK courses, three in one language and three in the other. CLAS 109 or CLAS 110, as well as Greek or Latin reading courses in other departments, are acceptable as well. The remaining six courses may be selected from the list of approved courses from anthropology, history, literature, philosophy, political science, theatre and dance, and visual arts. These must be from at least two departments. Graduate courses may be taken by undergraduates with consent of the instructor. The faculty of the program welcome qualified undergraduates in graduate courses. 

Cultures Emphasis Track

The purpose of this track is to offer a pathway for students who are interested in a cross-disciplinary study of antiquity but do not wish to pursue intensive language study. This track requires three lower division courses, which could be completed through two alternative paths. One path, which does not include any language studies, requires 2 survey courses (LTWL 19AB/BC/AC or HUM 1-2 or MMW 11-12) + any lower division classes from the list of approved courses. The other path, meant for students who areinterested in pursuing a reduced load of language studies, consists of a sequence of 3 courses in one language (LTGK 1-2-3 or LTLA 1-2-3). The emphasis in this track is on a broad, well-rounded acquaintance with classical civilizations and exposure to a variety of disciplinary approaches. To that end, students will be expected to take their 12 upper-division electives from at least three different departments, as per our course listings. There is no restriction on how many courses from each department should be taken.



Classical Studies Minor

A minor in Classical Studies consists of 7 courses (28 units), 4 (16 units) of which must be upper division.

A knowledge of the ancient languages is not required. All requirements for the minor in Classical Studies must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of C- or better.


Sample of Proposed Courses for Minor Declaration

0-3 Lower Division Courses and 4-7 Upper Division Courses
Level Subject Code Course No. Title Institution Units Grade Options
LD/UD TBA XX LD/UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter
LD/UD TBA XX LD/UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter
LD/UD TBA 1XX LD/UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter
UD TBA 1XX UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter
UD TBA 1XX UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter
UD TBA 1XX UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter
UD TBA 1XX UD Program Elective UCSD 4.00 Letter


Course Offerings

Course Offerings

Refer to the official UC San Diego General Catalog for a complete list of approved courses that will count toward a major or minor in Classical Studies.

Course offerings are constantly changing. Please refer to the Schedule of Classes for the most up-to-date listing.

(*) Indicates course may be petitioned for credit. Instructions on How to Petition Courses.

Fall 2022

  • HUM 3. Renaissance, Reformation, and Early Modern Europe
  • LTGK 1. Beginning Greek
  • LTGK 103. Greek Drama
  • LTLA 1. Beginning Latin
  • LTLA 100. Introduction to Latin Literature
  • LTWL 19A. Introduction to the Ancient Greeks and Romans
  • MMW 11. Pre-History and Ancient Foundations
  • HIEU 102. Roman History
  • HIEU 108. Sex and Politics in the Ancient
  • PHIL 31. Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
  • PHIL 100. Plato
  • PHIL 110. History of Philosophy: Ancient
  • POLI 110A. Citizens and Saints: Political Thought from Plato to Augustine

Winter 2023

  • HUM 1. The Foundations of Western Civilization: Israel and Greece
  • LTGK 2. Intermediate Greek 
  • LTLA 2. Intermediate Latin 
  • LTWL 19B. Introduction to the Ancient Greeks and Romans
  • MMW 12. Classical and Medieval Traditions
  • CLAS 109. Greek Seminar: Hippocrates’ On Airs, Waters, and Places
  • HIEU 103. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • HIEU 123. Ancient Greece in the Classical Period
  • LTLA 103. Latin Drama
  • LTCS 180. Programming for Humanities
  • PHIL 101. Aristotle

Spring 2023

  • HUM 2. Rome, Christianity, and the Middle Ages
  • LTGK 3.  Intermediate Greek (II)
  • LTLA 3.  Intermediate Latin (II)
  • LTWL 19C. Introduction to the Ancient Greeks and Romans
  • LTWL 100. Mythology
  • MMW 13. New Ideas and Cultural Encounters
  • HIEU 106. Egypt, Greece, and Rome
  • HIEU 161. Topics in Roman History
  • HINE 100. The Hebrew Bible and History
  • PHIL 102. Hellenistic Philosophy
  • CLAS 121R. World Wisdom Traditions 

Honors Program

Honors Program

Honors is intended for the most talented and motivated students majoring in Greek, Latin, Classics, or Greek and Hebrew. Requirements for admission to the honors program are:

  • Junior standing
  • Overall GPA of 3.5
  • GPA in the major of 3.7

Qualified students majoring in Greek, Latin, or Classics may apply at the end of their junior year to the program faculty on the basis of 1) a thesis proposal (three to four pages) worked out in advance with a classical studies faculty member; and 2) a recommendation from that faculty member. It is strongly advised that the proposal be based upon a class paper or project from a course taken towards completion of the major. 

The core of the honors program is an honors thesis. The research and writing of the thesis will be conducted over the winter and spring, or fall and winter terms of the senior year. Up to four hours of 196 credit to this end may be counted towards the major in place of one of the courses in English translation. The thesis will be read and evaluated by the thesis advisor and another member of the program faculty. If the thesis is accepted and the student maintains a 3.7 GPA, departmental honors will be awarded. The level of honors-distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction-will be determined by the program faculty.


Upcoming Events 2022-2023


Past Events


April 12, 2022
Navigating the Philosopher/Priest Divide after Black Athena 
Work in Progress Showcase featuring Professor Edward Kelting

February 28, 2022
Towards a More Comprehensive History of the Ancient Mediterranean
Work in Progress Showcase featuring Professor Denise Demetriou

February 2, 2022
Excess, Defect, and Balance in Ancient Medicine and Ethics
Work in Progress Showcase featuring Professor Monte Johnson

January 27, 2022
Magic, Word Vectors, and Other Strange Things: New Approaches to Ancient Greek Lexicography
Work in Progress Showcase featuring Professor Jacobo Myerston Santana

October 25, 2021
Why the Decline and Fall of Rome Still Matters Today (YouTube Link)
A Conversation with Ed Watts on his new book, The Eternal Decline and Fall of Rome (Oxford University Press, 2021)


May 5, 2021
Hegeso and Me
Lecture featuring Page duBois, Distinguished Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC San Diego

April 21, 2021
Penelope's Odyssey, Sappho's Tale: Studying Women's Songs from Ancient to Modern Greece (YouTube Link)
Lecture featuring Andromache Karanika, Associate Professor and Chair of Classics at the University of California, Irvine

February 18, 2021
Negotiating Class and Gender in Classics and in the Real World (YouTube Link)
Lecure featuring Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's College London

February 4, 2021
Classics, Creativity, and Survival (YouTube Link)
Lecture featuring Sarah Nooter, Professor of Classics and Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago


February 26, 2020
Annual Ranglas Lecture: Oresteia and Athenian Politics
Lecture featuring Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District

February 3, 2020
Annual Vassiliadis Lecture - Late Antique Caesarea - A City of Interreligious and Intercultural Encounters
Lecture featuring Maren Niehoff, Max Cooper Professor of Jewish Thought at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem

November 25, 2020
Alien or Alienable? Some Notes on the Greeks' View of Phoenicians
Lecture featuring Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Professor, Department of Classics, The Ohio State University

November 18, 2020
Thessaloniki: A Metro-Polis Through the Centuries
Lecture featuring Dr. Polyxeni Adam-Veleni, Director General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in the Hellenic Ministry of Culture

November 6, 2020
Defending Democracy from Extremism: The Rise and Apparent Fall of the Greek Golden Dawn (Co-sponsored with International Institute Faculty Group on Fascism @ Authoritarian Populism)
Lecture featuring Antonis Ellinas, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Cyprus

November 4, 2020
Jews, Greeks, and the American Racial Imagination (Co-sponsored with Jewish Studies)
Lecture featuring Devin E. Naar, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Washington

October 30, 2020
Cities on the Edge of War: Teaching Greek History Through a Strategy Role-Playing Game
Lecture featuring Eric Robinson, Professor, Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington

October 14, 2020
Reading Boredom: Pliny the Younger, Praise and Competition in the Panegyrici Latini
Lecture featuring Macro Formisano, Professor, Department of Literary Studies, Ghent University


Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for responses to commonly asked questions. If you have further questions, please contact the Classical Studies Program through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

Can I take courses P/NP for the Classical Studies major or minor?

No, P/NP courses cannot be used towards the major or minor. Courses must be taken for a letter grade and be passed with a grade of C- or better.

Do I have to know Latin or Greek to minor?

A knowledge of the ancient languages is not required for the minor; however, you are welcome to take Latin or Greek courses to count towards the minor.

Can I test into a higher level of Greek or Latin?

Yes, please contact the Literature Department through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) for testing and placement information.

I took a course not listed on the course catalog, can I count it toward my Classical Studies major/minor?

In order for a course to be eligible for petition, 50% of the course content must be related to Classical Studies.

Instructions on How to Petition Courses

Can I minor in Greek or Latin?

Yes, please see the Department of Literature website for more details.