BA in Classics & Archaeology

A joint major in Classics & Archaeology is recommended for students with interests in the study of classical literature and society in conjunction with the study of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East via the rich corpus of material remains. The major will give students a grounding in one classical language and the history, literature, and material culture of the ancient Mediterranean. It will position students to go deeper into either field while also acquiring some mastery of a cognate field.

This major offers a path to PhD programs in Classics as well as Archaeology. It is also a foundation for further study in art history, religion, theology, and other humanistic disciplines. For students who do not decide to pursue further academic study, the BA degree could lead to a number of successful career outcomes in private cultural-resource management firms, public archaeology in agencies such as the National Parks Service, and employment in museums.

Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in Classics & Archaeology will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of the history and material culture of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East.
  • Read with comprehension works of ancient Greek and/or Latin writers either in the original or in English translation and demonstrate an understanding of genre, style, and cultural context.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the material variety of the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East as well as their influence on peoples and places of subsequent historical periods.
  • Communicate these understandings clearly and persuasively, both orally and in writing.


All first-year, first-time students will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Classics & Archaeology will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy many BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation; Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship; and most of the requirements in Communication and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Classics & Archaeology majors will also satisfy College of Arts & Sciences requirements.

A minimum of twelve courses is required: six from Classics and six from Archaeology, as follows:

Classics requirements:

  • One course in either Greek Civilization or History: CAS CL 101 or CAS CL 321
  • One course in either Roman Civilization or History: CAS CL 102 or CAS CL 322
  • Two courses in either ancient Greek or Latin above the 100 level
  • Two electives chosen in consultation with an advisor from the offerings under classical civilization and/or classical languages

Archaeology requirements:

  • CAS AR 101 Introduction to Archaeology
  • CAS AR 230 Introduction to Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • CAS AR 307 Archaeological Science OR CAS AR 450 Methods and Theory in Archaeology
  • CAS AR 503 Archaeological Field Methods Survey and Excavation OR CAS AR 556 Archaeological Field Research Experience
  • Two electives chosen in consultation with an advisor from area-specific offerings in Archaeology and/or History of Art & Architecture

This major will be administered in the Department of Classical Studies. Students in this major must consult advisors in both the Department of Classical Studies and the Archaeology Program.

Honors in the Major

The department encourages work toward graduation with Honors in the Major. For students majoring in Classics & Archaeology, the primary requirement is successful completion of a two-semester program of directed research and writing in their senior year, culminating in an honors thesis and oral defense with a minimum of two  examiners. The thesis should exhibit knowledge of primary and secondary sources, with bibliography (if a research paper), or the equivalent at the discretion of the readers, and ordinarily it should not exceed 10,000 words. For students completing a written honors project, the submission of a detailed outline by the end of the fall semester is also required.

In order to qualify for any of these honors tracks, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a department GPA of no less than 3.4, must submit an application to their faculty project advisor in the spring of their junior year, and must have approval from the director of undergraduate studies and department chair.