Additional information about the classics major, classics minor, and the BA/MA degree can be found on the online Academic Catalog.

Major Requirements

The BA program in classics is flexible, accommodating a variety of interests in and approaches to the ancient world.

  • Twelve courses (36 credits) are required for a major in classics.
  • All majors take a minimum of four language courses (Greek and/or Latin), two of which must be at the 200 level or above.
  • Majors are encouraged to take at least two history courses, such as the introductory Greek and Roman civilization courses (040.111 and 040.112).
  • The other six courses are chosen from among the department’s offerings, in consultation with the student’s adviser in the Classics Department, so as to build an intellectually substantial and coherent curriculum that fits the student’s interests.

Certain courses taken outside the classics department may count toward the major, with the adviser’s approval. The major also requires a reading knowledge (i.e., second-year proficiency) in French, German, or Italian. Advanced undergraduates may be eligible to participate in graduate seminars, with the approval of the student’s adviser and the professor.

Students planning to pursue graduate study in classics will need to do substantially more work in Greek and Latin than the minimum requirements listed above; most PhD programs expect successful applicants to have studied one ancient language for at least three years and the other for at least two. Therefore, students interested in graduate work should be engaged in a language-intensive curriculum by the end of their sophomore year.

Honors Program

Classics majors have the opportunity to graduate with honors by writing an honors thesis (15,000-20,000 words) in close consultation with a faculty member. Three credits of “honors thesis research” are awarded in the spring semester of the senior year. (These credits may not be used to fulfill the basic requirements for the Classics BA, which must be met independently of any honors thesis work.)

Entrance to the Classics Honors program is contingent on outstanding performance in previous classics courses. Students wishing to pursue an honors thesis are expected to consult with the director of undergraduate studies by March 15 of the junior year to allow for adequate advising, planning, and identification of an appropriate honors thesis advisor.

A typical timeline for honors thesis research is as follows: research begins in the summer before the senior year (or earlier); further research and writing continues through the fall, with a draft of the thesis submitted early in the spring semester and a final version submitted in April.

Minor Requirements

To minor in classics, the student must complete six courses (18 credits) from among the department’s offerings. These courses are selected, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies in classics, to meet the needs and interests of the student. Minors may wish to pursue the study of one ancient language, or create a curriculum that meshes with their other academic pursuits. Interested students should consult the director of undergraduate studies in classics.

BA/MA Degree Requirements

Admission to the BA/MA program is restricted to current Johns Hopkins University undergraduate classics majors and is based on outstanding performance in previous classics courses.

Students considering a five-year program are expected to declare their interest during the spring semester of their junior year. Prior to application, students must consult with the director of undergraduate studies, their faculty adviser, and the department administrator. A formal graduate application must be submitted no later than November 15 of the fall semester of the senior year in order for admission to the program in the spring of the senior year, thus meeting the requirement for concurrent status. In the senior (fourth) year, students are to devise a program of study that would best prepare them to do advanced work in their final (fifth) year, in particular addressing any weakness in one or the other classical language. All requirements for the BA must be completed by the end of the fourth year.

In the MA (fifth) year, students must complete the following:

  • Two graduate seminars in the Classics Department
  • Four semesters (12 credits) of Latin and/or Greek, at least six credits of which must be at the advanced level
  • A thesis of 20,000–25,000 words representing original research. The thesis will be supervised by a member of the Classics faculty and graded by the supervisor and a second reader from Classics or an outside department.

Exceptionally well-prepared students may apply for the BA/MA program in the spring of their junior year, with prior approval from the director of undergraduate studies and the department chair. In this case it is possible to complete the bachelor’s/master’s degree in four years, provided all BA requirements are fulfilled by the end of the third year. These students are expected to express their interest to the department by the fall term of their junior (third) year; they must then submit an application no later than March 15 in the following semester.

The BA and MA degrees are conferred concurrently at the end of the MA year. Please note that the department does not award degrees during the summer; students are expected to complete the degree requirements in conformance with the university Graduate Board spring deadlines. Specific departmental and Graduate Board deadlines are communicated to the student in due course.