Classical Studies

Find your Future in the Ancient World

Classical Studies students explore the fascinating cultures of the ancient Mediterranean that have shaped our modern civilization, including the art, history, literature, material culture and religious beliefs of the peoples of ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East.

Traces of classical antiquity are everywhere around us. From the Greeks, we have inherited our democratic institutions and medical terminology; from the Romans, legal concepts and terms like “bona fide” and “quid pro quo.” Our buildings, including Oregon’s modernist State Capitol, borrow from ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Classical Studies majors recognize these connections and read the 2,500-year-old texts (in the original languages) that have inspired such recent movies as Troy and 300. In the process, students gain an in-depth understanding of the ancient cultures and traditions that have shaped our modern society and continue to influence it today, not to mention excellent writing and critical thinking skills.

Why choose Willamette for Classical Studies?

Our interdisciplinary program offers an unusually broad range of courses. Apart from Latin and Greek, we also teach Classical Hebrew. Our classes are small (20 or fewer students) and taught by active scholars whose expertise ranges from the dawn of Greek and Near Eastern civilization to the fall of Rome. Experts in Art History, Earth and Environmental Sciences, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Rhetoric regularly contribute courses on the ancient world. Other small Classics departments have one archaeologist on staff if they are lucky; Willamette has three. They have excavated in Italy, Greece, Scotland, Jordan, Syria, and the United States.

Where can Classical Studies lead you?

Classical Studies will get you into graduate school. A third of our recent graduates have gone on to law, business, and medical school, usually supported by generous scholarships. About a quarter have earned M.A.T. degrees and are now full-time teachers. Many others have earned or are currently working toward advanced degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) in fields as diverse as classics, archaeology, art conservation, history, intercultural studies, theology, chemistry, engineering, and computer science. Every last one of our graduates, regardless whether they went on to graduate school or not, has so far found their niche, most often in business, public administration, or a health-related field.

Key features 

  • Small classes taught by award-winning faculty with international experience
  • Interdisciplinary curriculum offering Latin, Greek, Classical Hebrew, and a wide selection of Classical civilization courses 
  • Mentoring and support of our majors even after graduation;
  • An unusually high rate of our graduates are being inducted into the oldest and most prestigious national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa (ca. 30% of our majors and 12.3% of our minors since 1999; average across all majors is 10%)
  • Grants to support student participation in archaeological field schools anywhere in the world; nearly 50% of our students study abroad 
  • An unusually wide variety of courses on ancient art, archaeology, history, literature, philosophy, rhetoric, social practices, and religious beliefs
  • Interesting study abroad opportunities
  • One of the most active chapters of the Archaeological Institute of America nationwide, plus the only undergraduate classics conference on the West Coast 
  • Willamette's Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (CASA) supports student and faculty research, scholarly conferences, and a guest lecture series 
  • Paid student internship at Willamette’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art; grants for summer programs in ancient languages not taught at Willamette
  • A student-run Archaeology Club