The Honors Program in the Classical Languages

Greek laurel wreath

The program of every honors candidate in Greek, Latin, or Classics must include those courses numbered 441 and 442 in either Greek or Latin. It will also include, beyond the program of courses described under Major Requirements, the courses numbered 498 and 499. The normal expectation will be that in the senior year two courses at the 441/442 level be taken along with the 498/499 sequence. Admission to the 498 course is contingent on approval by the department of a thesis prospectus. Translations of work already translated will not normally be acceptable nor will comparative studies with chief emphasis on modern works. Admission to the 499 course is contingent on the submission of a satisfactory chapter of at least 2,000 words and a detailed prospectus for the remaining sections to be defended at a colloquium within the first week of the second semester with the department and any outside reader chosen.

In addition, honors candidates must in the first semester of their senior year write an examination on a Greek or Latin text of approximately 50 pages (in the Oxford Classical Text or Teubner format) read independently (i.e., not as a part of work in a course), and selected with the approval of the department. The award of honors will be determined by the quality of the candidate’s work in the Senior Departmental Honors courses, thesis, and performance in the language examination. The department will cooperate with other departments in giving combined majors with honors.

The Honors Program in Classical Civilization 

The requirements for an honors thesis are the same as for the language majors, except that students are expected to take one 400-level language course (or an equivalent course) instead of taking both 441 and 442 language courses in the senior year. For the honors thesis students may consider, in addition to the options for the language majors, a project that addresses either the classical tradition more generally or another relevant project. 

Thesis Proposals

All majors who are considering writing an honors thesis should consult with members of the department early in their junior year in order to define a suitable honors project and to determine whether a member of the department can serve as advisor. All resident members of the department read honors theses and exams and are, in addition to the designated advisor, available to offer advice during honors work. 

A list of past thesis topics is available here. 

Schedule for Honors Work

  • Language Examination: written translation of passages selected from approximately 50 pages of text (Greek or Latin) read independently, i.e., not as a part of coursework, and selected with the approval of the department, taken in fall semester of the senior year.


  1. A proposal and bibliography are due by the end of the first week of the first semester (within the add/drop period).
  2. The first chapter and prospectus are due by the end of the January interterm, before the second semester begins.
  3. Honors candidates meet with the department early in the second week of the first semester to discuss the chapter and prospectus (within the add/drop period).
  4. Rough drafts are due during the second week of March.
  5. Completed theses are due to the department on Monday in the second full week in April (delivered digitally to the ADC for distribution to faculty).
  6. Thesis defenses will be scheduled for the third week of April.
  7. Theses are due to the registrar via Submittable, usually on the Thursday before finals week. Formatting should follow the guidelines made available by the college that year. A final copy should also be shared with the ADC for department records.

Thesis Evaluation

All resident members of the department meet with the honors candidate for the thesis defense and determine the level of Latin honors to be awarded. The thesis advisor assigns the grade for the student’s honors work. 

Submitting the Thesis 

The final corrected thesis, in electronic form, should be submitted both to the Office of the Registrar and to the Classics Department. A collection of theses is available for perusal in Grosvenor 12.