In addition to giving students a basic grounding in the key texts and methods of philosophy, this major familiarizes them with the canonical works of ancient Greek philosophy and imparts an understanding of the importance of these texts in the development of philosophical thought in antiquity and later. Through study of ancient Greek, students learn to read standard works of classical prose in the original language and are trained to discuss clearly and persuasively key issues raised by ancient Greek philosophers. This major prepares students for entry into an MA program in ancient Greek, for graduate work in philosophy, and—if combined with preparation in Latin—for graduate work leading to a PhD in classics. It also is an excellent foundation for further study in religion, theology, and other humanistic disciplines.

Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in Classics & Philosophy should be able to:

  • Demonstrate broad understanding of the history and culture of ancient Greece.
  • Read with comprehension works of ancient Greek poetry and prose, either in the original or in English translation, demonstrating understanding of genre, style, and cultural context.
  • Communicate clearly and persuasively, both orally and in writing, ideas about the ancient world and its products.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the influence of classical culture on other historical periods.


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 & Philosophy will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic & Historical Interpretation, as well as some requirements in Diversity, Civic Engagement & Global Citizenship 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 & Philosophy majors will also satisfy College of Arts & Sciences requirements, described here.

A major in Classics & Philosophy requires a minimum of twelve 4-credit courses: six in classics and six in philosophy.

Classics Requirements

  • CAS CL 101 or CL 321
  • CAS CL 261 (Note that CAS CL 161 and CL 162, or their equivalent, are prerequisites for enrollment in CL 261, which is the third semester of ancient Greek.)
  • Four other courses at or above the 200 level in classical civilization or classical languages

Philosophy Requirements

  • One of the following: CAS PH 100, 110, 150, 155, or 160
  • CAS PH 300
  • CAS PH 310
  • Two courses in philosophy at the 200 level or above
  • One of the following: CAS PH 403, 405, or 406

Students interested in a major in classics and philosophy must consult an advisor in both the Department of Classical Studies and the Department of Philosophy.

Honors in the Major

The department encourages work toward graduation with Honors in the Major. For students majoring in Classics & Philosophy, 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 an honors track, 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.