Classical Studies

Original facade of the Colosseum, Rome.


Classical Studies at UCSC combines features of traditional programs, such as solid grounding in the ancient languages, with innovative, interdisciplinary approaches. While the core of the program is focused on courses in the ancient Greek and Latin languages, the program also encompasses courses in history, the history of art and visual culture, literature, philosophy, politics, and theater arts, from the Bronze Age through the Early Christian era. Recent offerings have included everything from introductory surveys in Classical Mythology and Greek and Roman History to advanced courses in Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt and Modern Ancient Drama. 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

Our majors are a group of dedicated students who enjoy a challenge and find their work demanding but rewarding. Students have the opportunity to give close, sustained attention to an area of study, from an almost unlimited variety of perspectives. 

The program provides the nurturing atmosphere and personal attention associated with a small liberal arts college, in the context of a large university. We offer students an opportunity to work in small classes with a distinguished and dedicated teaching faculty and excellent fellow students. Public lectures, guest speakers, and frequent social events bring students and faculty together and strengthen the program.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

High school students planning to major or minor in Classical Studies at UC Santa Cruz need no special preparation other than the high school courses necessary for UC admission. Previous study of Latin or ancient Greek is valuable, but not required.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students can readily complete the Classical Studies major within two years, even if they haven’t completed any preparatory coursework prior to transferring. 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 by taking advantage of the University of California Education Abroad Program (EAP). A quarter or year abroad may be seamlessly integrated into any Classical Studies student's academic plan; several of the major or minor course requirements may be completed abroad. Over the years we have sent many students to work on archaeological excavations sponsored by other leading institutions.


The newly renovated Classical Studies library, which is situated by the Classical Studies 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

If you have any questions, please feel free to email Karen Bassi, our Classical Studies Undergraduate Director, at

The Classical Studies program is administered by the History Department.

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