Our Program and Courses
You can major or minor in Classics at F&M. You’ll study Greek, Latin, ancient history and classical art and archaeology to develop a vivid understanding of the history, art, language, literature, philosophy, religion, social structures, economy, government and everyday life of the ancient Mediterranean.
A major in Classics allows you to follow your interest in studying the past. If your interests lean toward linguistic and literary studies, you can explore Greek and Latin languages and literature. For those excited by archaeology and social history, you can take courses that center material culture and thematic topics like sex and gender or race and ethnicity, among other topics. Students share foundational study in introductory courses with opportunities to build toward upper-level seminars in which you can investigate more specialized topics in your area of interest.
By the time you graduate, you will:
- Have developed an intricate understanding of the events, individuals, literature and monuments of the ancient world
- Be able to read Greek and Latin texts with a proficient knowledge of grammar, syntax, language and meaning
- Be able to identify and assess Greek and Roman monuments and artifacts
- Comfortably use standard resources to research questions about the ancient world, including secondary sources, digital humanities resources, commentaries and dictionaries
- Understand the unique blend of diverse approaches to studying the ancient world
Wondering what a Classics course is like? Take a look at our course catalog to see the depth and breadth of what’s available to you.
Our Faculty and Staff
Shirley Watkins Steinman Professor of Classics, Department Chair of Classics, Brooks College House DonContact »
Learning Outside the Classroom
Our classics professors are committed teachers and active scholars with broad interests who publish in the most prestigious national and international journals. While they bring their vast knowledge and expertise to the classroom, they’re also committed to tailoring your education to your interests and goals, and helping you to discover independent study and study-abroad opportunities to broaden your understanding of the discipline.
Research Opportunities & Off-Campus Study
As you dive into the intricacies of the ancient world, you may find yourself wanting to further explore a particular route, be it a text, artifact, historical event, or something else entirely. If this is the case, you won’t have to wait until graduate school to launch your investigation. Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research. Previous Classics majors participated in archaeological field schools or engaged in research projects with faculty on Latin manuscripts. Our students also frequently study abroad in locations such as Athens, Rome, and Bath and London, England.
Success Beyond F&M
What happens after you graduate with a degree in Classics? With the breadth of study that a multifaceted major like Classics provides, our graduates are immediately prepared to pursue advanced degrees or begin their chosen careers upon graduation.
Many Classics majors go on to study in graduate programs in Classics, Classical Archaeology, Art History and other related topics in the U.S. and abroad. Graduates have also pursued advanced degrees in medicine, law, English literature, and more.
Classics graduates are prepared for a wide array of careers. They find their initial jobs in education, law, medicine, business, banking, insurance, and government. Recent F&M Classics alumni hold positions such as:
- Assistant Conservator
- Assistant General Counsel
- Assistant Professor of Classics
- Business Development Manager
- Communications Officer
- Content Writer
- Director of Marketing
- English Teacher
- Fine Arts Assistant Appraiser
- Latin Teacher
- Legal Research Manager
- Medical Director
- Museum Education Specialist
- Museum Educator & Archaeologist
- Professor of Art History
Finding Humor and Homer in Ancient PoemAlongside Professor of Classics Zachary Biles, Therese Watkins '23 will co-author work that an international journal will publish later this year. Watkins and Professor Biles were the first scholars to recognize an allusion in poem “37” to a passage in Homer’s the “Iliad.” “There are other scholars out there who had close to the same idea, especially the military themes...But nobody had picked up on that specific allusion to the ‘Iliad,’ so that was new and unique to us,” Watkins said.
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“I like classics because it’s the study of the ancient world. Trying to connect with people of two millenniums ago is a very interesting process.”As a first-year F&M student, Jinrui Zhang won that year's Sight Translation Award. To participate, students must translate a Latin passage without using any outside resources, including a dictionary. Students have one hour to complete it and to come as close as possible to what the author is saying. Zhang’s translation was the most precise. “I like classics because it’s the study of the ancient world," Zhang said. "Trying to connect with people of two millenniums ago is a very interesting process.”
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Related Fields of Study
What does art of the past tell us about the transformation of visual and material experience over time? By studying art history at F&M, you’ll actively engage with this living dimension of the past through its artifacts, images, architecture, and relevant texts.
Comparative Literary Studies
Investigate the development of literature in an international and historical context. When you immerse yourself in comparative literary studies at F&M, you’ll explore foundational works of literature from a variety of historical periods and national traditions to better understand the ways in which literary processes unfold in various environments.
Learn to think clearly and creatively about the big questions: the nature of meaning, morality, justice, art, the mind, knowledge, language, and reality. By studying philosophy at F&M, you’ll search for understanding while discovering how to value the reason for an answer as much as the answer itself.
Classics in the Spotlight
February 22, 2023
Student Finds Humor, Homer in Ancient Poem
After a three-year odyssey in academic research, Franklin & Marshall College senior Therese Watkins' achievement is nearly homeric, worthy of seasoned scholars. Professor of Classics...Franklin & Marshall College offers students a hands-on education that emphasizes close relationships with faculty. Students flourish in a supportive community that treats them as an individual, and their successes continue long after F&M. The College is a national leader in launching students and alumni to opportunities where they make a difference in the community and the world.
October 13, 2022
F&M Grad Shows How Anything is Possible with a Liberal Arts Degree
Recent Franklin & Marshall College graduate said she credits the College and her liberal arts degree for landing a position in an industry she thought was out of reach. Hannah Breedlove '22...Recent grad credits liberal arts degree and Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development for her success in landing a position in live entertainment
April 22, 2019
Chinese Student Wins Classics Sight-Translation Contest
In Manchuria, Jinrui Zhang pursued an interest in Buddhism and Sanskrit, prominent subjects in that region of China. At Franklin & Marshall College, the first-year student has embraced the...Franklin & Marshall College offers students a hands-on education that emphasizes close relationships with faculty. Students flourish in a supportive community that treats them as an individual, and their successes continue long after F&M. The College is a national leader in launching students and alumni to opportunities where they make a difference in the community and the world.