Classics Department

What is classics? Classics is the study of the languages, literature, history, and material culture of ancient Greece and Rome.

Studying classics is foundational and but also inherently interdisciplinary, appealing to students interested in history, literature, archaeology, art history, religion, philosophy, and even linguistics and anthropology. Extended study of Greek and Latin stretches students’ analytical skills and deepens their knowledge of key ancient authors. Students develop critical and imaginative thinking by working with and writing about ancient material. By studying the classics, student are well prepared not only for many other courses of study but also for a wide range of careers.

Why study classics at Reed?

At Reed, classics is at the heart of the academic program. All first-year students at take Humanities 110, an intensive yearlong course on the ancient Mediterranean world. The classics program builds on Hum 110, and students take courses on history and archaeology, mythology, literary theory, mythology, and ancient philosophy, ancient religions, ancient art, and Greek and Latin language and literature.

During their junior year, all classics majors complete a junior qualifying exam—including a 20-page research paper in a Latin, Greek, or classics course—and are strongly encouraged to study abroad in Rome, Athens, England, or Ireland.

Classics majors have an opportunity to work closely with faculty throughout their time at Reed, particularly during the senior thesis process. Reed classics alumni have pursued a wide variety of careers, including high school and college teaching, law, medicine, journalism, library science, and more.