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 archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. The major will give students a grounding in the history, literature, and material culture of the ancient Mediterranean and in either Ancient Greek or Latin. It will position students to go deeper into Classics or Archaeology while also acquiring some mastery of a cognate field.

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

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 BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Classics & Archaeology will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy most BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic & Historical Interpretation and the Intellectual Toolkit, as well as some requirements in Scientific and Social Inquiry. 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, including the CAS Second Language Requirement.

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 or CAS CG 101
  • 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

*Classics courses are divided into four categories: classical civilization (works read in translation), Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, and Latin. Refer to the Classical Studies program section of this Bulletin for the full list of courses and their categories that may be used to fulfill the requirements stated above and for information on the CAS foreign language requirement for classics majors and minors.

Archaeology requirements:

  • CAS AR 190
  • CAS AR 230
  • CAS AR 307 or CAS AR 591
  • CAS AR 410, 503, or 556
  • Two electives chosen in consultation with an advisor from area-specific offerings in Archaeology and/or History of Art & Architecture

This major is administered by 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 of the junior year is also required.

In order to qualify for any of these honors tracks, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of no less than 3.4 in the major, 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.