Classical Studies

Original facade of the Colosseum, Rome.


"Classics" is a traditional designation for the study of the literature, history, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Classical studies at UC Santa Cruz combines features of traditional programs, such as solid grounding in the ancient languages, with innovative, interdisciplinary approaches (literary theory, gender studies, performance, and film). While all majors are required to take courses in Latin and/or ancient Greek language and literature, classical studies also includes courses in history, history of art and visual culture, linguistics, literature, philosophy, politics, religious studies, and theater arts. Students are encouraged to study the literary and material artifacts of Greece and Rome within the larger context of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • Minor

Study and Research Opportunities

The classical studies program offers students an opportunity to work in small classes with a dedicated teaching faculty and excellent fellow students. Our majors are a small group of dedicated students who enjoy a challenge and find their work demanding but rewarding. The classical studies program strives to provide the nurturing atmosphere and personal attention associated with a small liberal arts college, in the context of a large university. Public lectures, guest speakers, and social events that bring classical studies students and faculty together strengthen the program.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

High school students planning to major in classical studies at UC Santa Cruz do not need any specific preparation other than the high school courses required for UC admission. Previous study of Latin or Greek is valuable, but not required. Students whose high schools do not offer Latin or Greek will be able to learn those languages at UC Santa Cruz.

Information for Transfers

Some background in history and in literary analysis and interpretation is desirable, but not essential. Since this is an interdisciplinary major, preparatory work in art history, history, literature, philosophy, or politics, depending on the student's interests, may also be useful.

While it is not a condition of admission, students from California community colleges are advised to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UC Santa Cruz.


Many of our students have gone on to do graduate work in classical studies and other fields. The qualities required for success in our major, however, are also readily transferable to other careers:

  • Business
  • Communications
  • Computer services
  • Education
  • Foreign service
  • Government
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Library science
  • Museum curatorship
  • Politics
  • Publishing
  • Theater
  • Writing

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.


We actively encourage our students to expand their horizons in interdisciplinary and international settings and by taking advantage of the University of California Education Abroad Program (EAP) and other international programs. Over the years we have sent many students to work on archaeological excavations sponsored by other leading institutions.


The classical studies library, which is situated in the hall by the faculty offices, is a center for our community: small seminars meet in it, and majors may often be found working together there.

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

The classical studies program is administered by the History Department.

University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064