Classics is the study of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures in their broadest sense: the languages of ancient Greek and Latin, literature and mythology, history, philosophy, and art and archaeology. It is also about where we come from and who we are today. Citizenship and immigration, democracy and protest, beauty and love – so many of our key modern ideas and debates have their roots in ancient practices and institutions.
Classics is an interdisciplinary degree subject and its breadth makes Classics at UCSB dynamic, challenging, and fun. It also gives our graduates highly marketable skills. Learning ancient languages brings special rigor to a humanities degree. Classics graduates go on to become archivists, lawyers, lobbyists, journalists, teachers, actors and management consultants. They work in PR, in museums, in business, and in IT where their skills in language, critical thinking, and communication are valued. For more information about careers for Classics majors, see our Majoring in Classics section.
The UCSB Classics major must select one of three emphases: (1) Language and Literature, (2) Greek and Roman Culture, or (3) Classical Archaeology. For each emphasis the student must begin the study of Greek and/or Latin, and take both general Classics courses and courses in the chosen area of emphasis.
Language and Literature
The Language and Literature emphasis focuses on examining the Graeco-Roman world through an exploration of ancient texts in their original languages. Reading in Greek and/or Latin texts offers the student a sampling of poetry, drama, history, philosophy, oratory, etc., in close collaboration with faculty.
Students who wish to pursue graduate studies in Classics must take the Language and Literature emphasis, but this emphasis also serves well students with interdisciplinary interests who seek a challenging liberal arts major and who enjoy small classes in which they receive significant personal attention
Greek & Roman Culture (Classical Civilization)
The emphasis in Greek & Roman Culture encourages students to pursue in-depth study of one of various clusters of interdisciplinary subjects pertaining to the Classical world: literary traditions and representations, politics and society, material culture and intellectual life. A breadth requirement in Comparative Ancient & Classical Cultures encourages cross-cultural comparison with pre-modern civilizations of Mesoamerica, the Middle East, or South or East Asia. A minimum of one year of Greek or Latin is required.
This emphasis is ideal for the student with interdisciplinary interests seeking a strong, liberal arts degree with a modern, global perspective on the Classical world.
The Classical Archaeology emphasis brings together classical art history, classical archaeology, anthropology, and ancient history into a coherent program of study. A minimum of five quarters of Greek or Latin is required.
This emphasis is for students with an interest in archaeology looking for a strong, liberal arts major, or for students planning to pursue graduate studies in Classical Archaeology.