College of Arts and Sciences

Classical Studies


The honors program in Classical Studies offers talented students the intellectual challenge of independent research on any aspect of the ancient world—literature, art, architecture, history, or culture. Through this program, the Department of Classical Studies recognizes the academic achievements of its outstanding students. 

Guidelines for Undergraduate Honors Theses


  1. The Honors candidate must maintain a GPA of 3.3 overall and 3.5 in the major.
  2. The Honors candidate researches and completes an honors thesis or equivalent project under the close supervision of a committee of two faculty members during the senior year.

Honors Thesis

An honors thesis in Classical Studies is first of all a study of primary sources for the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, e.g. literary and historical texts, inscriptions, sculptures, vase paintings, murals.

The student, after identifying an area of interest, should work with a faculty advisor to define an appropriate topic and to make a plan for research and writing. Emphasis should be placed upon critical analysis and interpretation of primary evidence. The student should use secondary literature to build background knowledge and to support his/her interpretation of primary sources, but the final thesis may not be only a synthesis of secondary literature. Other innovative projects are also possible, especially those combining primary evidence from the Classical world with a student's expertise in another discipline. All theses involve significant, analytical writing, the nature and scope of which is to be determined in consultation with the faculty advisor, second reader, and the DUS.

Application for admission into the departmental Honors program is usually made during the junior year and the thesis is written during the senior year. Students may be nominated by a faculty member or may nominate themselves. Acceptance into the Honors program is made by the Honors Advisor and the Undergraduate Committee.

FAQs about Departmental Honors in Classical Studies

  • Can I participate in an overseas study program and still complete the honors requirements?
    Yes! Since a thesis may be written in one semester, you can participate even if you spend half of your senior year abroad. If you are planning to study abroad, you should begin the honors process before you leave for your travels, talking with a faculty advisor and planning some preliminary readings. If you return from a semester abroad inspired by your travels to undertake a thesis, meet with a faculty advisor as soon as you can to begin work.
  • What are some good ways to prepare for honors work in Classical Studies?
    Take College Honors courses or course sections in your freshman and sophomore years. Take C494 Topics in Classical Studies as a junior along with other advanced courses in Classical Studies–you can use these courses to explore potential topics and to practice the research and writing skills that a thesis requires. Do an internship in Classical Studies (take C498) to learn more about an area of interest.
  • Is there financial aid for honors work?
    The Department of Classical Studies offers several scholarships that can be used to support work on your honors project, even for related travel! If you are at the Hutton Honors College, they offer grants for thesis writers; see their web site for details.
  • What classes do I take while writing an honors thesis?
    C399 and C499 are designated for senior honors work. Students usually write a thesis over two semesters, registering for C399 (3 credits) for the first semester of work and C499 (3 credits) for the second. C399 Readings for Honors should be a tutorial focusing on the area/s which the thesis will explore. This course work (3 or 6 credits) is in addition to the 27 credit hours required of the regular major.
  • How can I learn more about honors in Classical Studies?
    Talk with a student who is currently writing an honors thesis, discuss your interests with a faculty member, consult with the Academic Advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies in Classical Studies, and view the guidelines for honors theses.