Our courses provide a broad perspective of ancient Mediterranean life through the study of literature, history, archaeology, mythology, and religious and social practices, and through the study of Greek and Latin, from introductory language classes to advanced study of some of the world’s most beautiful and profound texts. Courses numbered 111 may not be counted toward the major. LATI 202-316 will normally be introductory to higher courses in Latin, and GREE 212-318 will serve the same function in Greek. For students beginning the study of Greek the following sequences of courses are normal: Either 111, 212, 215 or 217, 318; or 111, 215 or 217, 212 or 318.

For Students with prior language experience who wish to take a language course:

We encourage students to join the program wherever they best fit in based on their level of prior language study.  There are no formal placement exams.  Typically, students with 2+ years of Latin, for example, start in our Latin 215 course, Catullus, offered every fall term.  More advanced students with a solid foundation in grammar may want to jump straight into a 441/442-level advanced language seminar.

For Students interested in our Civilization Courses:

We regularly offer courses in classical civilization.  This includes Greek and Roman Civilization (heavily focused on literature in its various contexts), Greek and Roman history, and classes in archaeology, mythology, and gender and sexuality. The civilization classes are pitched to all Amherst students who are studying a range of disciplines (including Classics).  These are larger classes, many with writing and discussion emphases.  Students still participate regularly and the quality of interaction between faculty and students, even in these larger courses, is very high.

For Non-Thesis Candidates

  • Comprehensive Examination --  An exam consisting of essay questions is distributed by The Department during the FIRST week of the first semester. The examination is to be completed by the FIFTH week of the first semester.


  • by taking the following courses you will fulfill the requirements for the Comprehensive Exam:

For the Greek Major- Classical Civilization 121,123, 132, or 134

For the Latin Major- Classical Civilization 124, 133, or 135

For the Classics Major-  Two courses: one from the courses fulfilling the Greek major's requirement, and one from the courses fulfilling the Latin major's requirement         

For Thesis Candidates

  • Comprehensive Examination (see above)

  • Language Examination:  written translation of approximately 50 pages of text (Greek or Latin) read independently, not as a part of course work (2 hour examination , no dictionaries)  - due before end of classes in the first semester)

  • Thesis:                                                                                                                            

    1.   Proposal and bibliography are due at the end of the first week of the first semester, within Add/Drop period.

    2.  Meet with the Department in the second week to discuss the thesis proposal.

    3.  The first chapter and Prospectus are due at the end of January Interterm, before the beginning of the second semester.

    4.  A Department/student colloquium will be scheduled in the first week of the second semester, within Add/Drop period.

    5.  Rough drafts are due the third week in March.

    6.  Completed thesis will be due to the Department on Monday of the third week of April (one copy for each professor, not on acid-free paper, and not yet bound)

    7.  Thesis defense will be scheduled in the third week of April.

    8.  Thesis is due in the Registrar’s office on the Thursday before the last day of classes (bound and on acid-free paper, with a bound copy to the Department).