Bachelor of Arts in Classics

The Bachelor of Arts in Classics is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with the means to explore the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East, including Egypt.

The study of ancient languages, literature (in the original languages and in translation), and art and archaeology enables students to reconstruct ancient cultures and to examine critically the importance, which they continue to have in the world of today. Students also learn the methods of archaeological, art historical and philological approaches to the past. Students may pursue a major in Classics or a minor in Classics.

The undergraduate degree in classics is designed for students who wish to gain an interdisciplinary and broad liberal arts education. Students will find training in classics valuable in professional programs (in law or medicine, for example) that increasingly emphasize the importance of the humanities. The undergraduate degree also provides a sound foundation for students who wish to continue work in classics at the graduate level.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will acquire sufficient proficiency in Latin and/or Greek to read and interpret basic texts in the original language(s). (language)
  2. Students will become familiar with the broad diachronic development of ancient Mediterranean cultures. (history)
  3. Students will acquire an understanding of how material evidence informs our understanding of ancient Mediterranean cultures. (material culture)
  4. Students will learn to develop cogent arguments in writing about various topics in the study of the ancient Mediterranean. (writing)
  5. Students will apply their knowledge of ancient Mediterranean languages and cultures toward a richer understanding of their own language and culture. (connections)

Bachelor of Arts in Classics  — 36 Units

Discovery (6 Units)

Course List
Code Title Units
Select two lower division courses from CLAR, CLAS, GRE, and LATN prefixes.  

Survey (9 Units)

Course List
Code Title Units
Select three courses from the following:  
CLAS 410/HUM 401 Ancient Greek Literature 3
CLAS 415/HUM 402 Ancient Roman Literature 3
CLAR 420/ARTH 401 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece 3
CLAR 425/ARTH 402 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Rome 3

Synthesis (3 Units)

Course List
Code Title Units
CLAS 400GW Approaches to the Classics - GWAR 3

or a GWAR course in another department upon advisement.


View the SF State Bulletin for complete requirements information.

All undergraduate students will complete a culminating experience project with one of the following components:

  • A demonstration of oral and written skills in Latin and/or Greek. This demonstration has three parts: oral declamation of a prose passage; written transcription of a prose passage dictated by a test administrator; and oral declamation of passage of poetry (scansion) in dactylic hexameter.
  • A comprehensive reflective statement focused on the role that receiving a Classical education at SF State has and will play in the student’s life.
  • A display of the student’s best projects from their Classics coursework (e.g. term papers, translations, archaeological reconstructions).

These components may be fulfilled through in-person meetings with a Classics undergraduate advisor, but students wishing to develop and display information competency are encouraged to complete these components in electronic form (website, etc.).

The Classics Graduation Examination Effective Fall Semester 2000


The oral dimension of Latin and Greek is sadly neglected in the field of Classics, but it remains significant especially for our students who are looking toward teaching and to further graduate study. The proposed examination would neither add to the unit requirements of our students nor prolong the time to degree. It would, however, put our Department -- and our students -- in the forefront in terms of addressing oral competency and communication, which is mandated by current national standards and proposed State of California standards. [See, Standards for Foreign Language Learning, National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1996; Standards for Classical Language Learning, 1997.]

The Classics Graduation Examination combines listening proficiency in classical Latin and Greek with oral recitation proficiency in classical Latin and Greek prose and poetry. It is required:

  • For graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Classics (emphasis in a single language, Greek or Latin; emphasis in two languages, Greek and Latin; emphasis in classical archaeology or philosophy, Greek or Latin)
  • As a condition of approving subject matter for a Latin credential (Latin only)

General Content

  • Each passage of Latin or Greek will be approximately 25-30 lines and will be given “at sight”
  • Listening comprehension: designated faculty member will read Latin and/or Greek prose passage aloud and student will write down the recitation from the oral dictation
  • Pronunciation ability: student’s oral recitation of Latin and/or Greek prose; student’s oral recitation with correct scansion of dactylic hexameter in Latin and/or Greek

Specific Requirements

  1. Undergraduates must take the exam at least one semester before the semester in which they plan to graduate. It is desirable to take the exam more than one semester before the projected semester of graduation so any deficiencies noted can be corrected.
  2. Undergraduates currently enrolled in Latin and/or Greek 202 must wait until the following semester to take the exam in that language, in order to ensure adequate preparation.
  3. The minimum percentage required to pass each section is 70%.
  4. The student must wait until the following semester to retake the failed section or sections of the exam.
  5. If the student fails to pass over 50% of the total exam, s/he must retake the entire exam.
  6. The student must retake the exam, or indicated portions, within three semesters after the initial attempt. If this time limit is passed, the entire exam must be retaken.
  7. A failure to pass the sections attempted the second time will require a statement from the student to the Department Examination Committee showing how the student prepared for retaking the exam and the perceived reasons for the unsatisfactory performance. This ensures that the student becomes involved in the process, and that the process is a collaborative effort between faculty and student.
  8. The department will specify at least two times during each semester when the examination may be taken.
  9. Students will always have the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Examination Committee to discuss in detail the strengths and weaknesses of their individual exams.
  10. For students with physical challenges, learning disabilities, and other special needs, the Department will make accommodations in the form of the examination.

To ensure adequate planning of a student’s program, all majors must consult an advisor regularly throughout their undergraduate years. A list of Department of Classics advisors and a schedule of their availability can be found on the People section or on our Advising section.

Students are also advised to consult with the Undergraduate Advising Center for information about General Education and other University requirements.

Bachelor of Arts students must complete at least twelve units of complementary studies outside of the primary prefix for the major. (Note: Students may not use an alternate prefix that is cross-listed with the primary prefix for the major.)

Students who complete two majors or a major and a minor automatically complete the complementary studies requirement. Additional ways to complete the CS requirements for students in the classics major is to complete 12 units in Greek (GRE) or Latin (LATN) or some combination.

The Undergraduate Program in Classics: A Statement of Goals

The Department of Classics endorses the national Standards for Classical Language Learning (1997), which is aligned with and is a companion document for Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1996). Working within that framework, the Department has adopted the following goals for all undergraduate majors (effective Fall 1998):

Communication in Classical Languages

  1. Students will read, understand and interpret Latin and/or ancient Greek.
  2. Students will use orally, listen to, and write Latin and/or ancient Greek.


Gain knowledge and understanding of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern society and material culture, and communicate this knowledge in written and oral form.

  1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the perspectives of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures as revealed in the practices (e.g., philosophy, religion, arts) of the ancient Mediterranean world.
  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the perspectives of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures as revealed in the products (e.g., archaeological evidence, artifacts, art forms) of the ancient Mediterranean world.


Gain knowledge of the interdependence of literary and material culture, and communicate this knowledge in written and oral form.

  1. Students will demonstrate their awareness of the interdependence of classical languages and literature and the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean world.
  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the varied disciplines within and related to classics -- philology, linguistics, literary theory and criticism, archaeology, history, art and architectural history, philosophy, religion, etc. — and will be able to understand how each relates to the other and provides information valuable to our understanding of ancient societies.


Develop insights into one’s own and other languages and cultures, and communicate these insights in written and oral form.

  1. Students will recognize and use elements of the Latin and/or ancient Greek languages to increase knowledge of their own language and enhance cognitive skills.
  2. Students will compare and contrast their own and other cultures with those of the ancient Mediterranean world to increase their understanding of the dynamics of human culture.

Career Development

Understand the nature of the Classics discipline and its varied applications outside the university.

  1. Students will employ research methods, data bases, and other tools appropriate to current expectations within the classics discipline.
  2. Students will participate in the larger community of classics professionals and non professionals and will pursue service and professional activities which serve as a bridge from campus to community.

The Student Portfolio

All incoming students will, in consultation with a faculty advisor, begin compiling a portfolio of their undergraduate major which reflects the goals as outlined above. The student maintains and keeps the complete portfolio, and a few items are copied for department records, as noted below. It is the Department’s intent that such a portfolio will provide not only a record of the student’s achievements, but will be valuable documentation for the student when applying to graduate school or for employment. Each undergraduate major in Classics will be expected to include, at a minimum, the following items in the student portfolio; other curricular and co curricular items may be included, at the student’s discretion:

  1. A statement of goals, to be completed early in the first semester of attendance (with a copy to your advisor for your department file).
  2. An annual self-assessment, to be discussed with a faculty advisor, with appropriate modification of goals statement (a copy of each goes to your advisor for your department file).
  3. Curriculum vitae — a work in progress; to be discussed at each annual self-assessment conference and updated accordingly.
  4. One written research paper each academic year of attendance; these papers must reflect the breadth of study in classics.
  5. Extended translations into English from the original Latin and/or Greek, at least one in each language studied, each year.
  6. In addition to 4 above, one additional paper which reflects the student’s area of emphasis (language, archaeology, philosophy).
  7. Faculty and/or peer evaluations of oral presentations, as appropriate.
  8. Evidence of professional development: attendance at local, state, regional or national conferences, public readings, papers presented at conferences, participation in campus student organizations, student leadership, travel and excavation experience, participation in overseas academic programs, peer tutoring and K-12 involvement, development of software or Web site, and so on.
  9. Finally, a statement of achievement, and final version of curriculum vitae (a copy of each goes to your advisor for the department file).

Note: For students who are gifted in Web development and Web site management, the portfolio could be developed as a Web site, with links to the various components.