Discover and Rediscover the Classics at NYU

In this major, you’ll learn about—and from—ancient civilization

 

If turning to the past to better understand the present seems intriguing, Classics may be the perfect major for you. At NYU, you’ll find a world-class program that is ready to welcome new students into its tight-knit community of scholars.

 

A man reading in a bookstore.
A hand touching books on a bookcase.

What Exactly Are the Classics?

Classical studies focuses on the ancient civilizations that thrived in the Mediterranean region. While the Greeks and Romans are the two primary subjects, you’ll also explore other groups that interacted with these cultures. This includes communities in Great Britain, Morocco, and Spain to the west; the Baltic Sea to the north; the Tigris–Euphrates Valley to the east, including connections to Afghanistan, China, and India; and the Sahara Desert to the south.

In addition, classics is an expansive field, encompassing art, archaeology, economics, gender, history, law, medicine, philosophy, psychology, religion, theatre, and more. And it offers an excellent educational foundation. Dr. David Levene, department chair, notes, “Many aspects of the modern world have their roots in ancient Greece and Rome. An obvious example is how the founders of the United States looked to Greek and Roman models in creating the country.” He explains, “Through appreciating how these societies functioned, we can understand the basis of many of our own strengths and weaknesses. The writers of antiquity engaged with their problems in ways that still electrify and challenge modern readers, performers, and viewers.”

A Classics major can lead to a career as an archaeologist, curator, or journalist. Or you can pursue graduate studies in law, linguistics, or medicine—just to name a few possibilities.

Why Classics at NYU?

As part of the classics community at NYU, you’ll benefit from small class sizes, individualized attention and support, and opportunities to connect with leaders in the field. Plus, adds Dr. Levene, “NYU has a wide range of resources that few other universities can match. We have the Institute of Fine Arts and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. And we have the resources of the city, most notably The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s vast collection.”

A person holding a classic book in their lap.

Choose Your Track

At NYU, you have five ways to structure your studies. Within the Department of Classics, you can choose:

  • Classics (Latin and Greek)
  • Classical Civilization

Or you can pursue a joint/interdepartmental major, including:

For sophomore Luz Ibañez-Rouhe, language was the entry point that inspired her to become a Classics major. “I had the opportunity to study Ancient Greek and Latin in high school,” she says. “I enjoyed learning both languages because being able to read the thoughts of people from so long ago is almost a form of time travel.”

Antiquity for All

Whether you decide to dedicate yourself to classical studies or just want to meet fellow Greek mythology buffs, you can find your people at the NYU Classics Club. This lively group, open to any student, meets weekly to enjoy food and drinks, guest lecturers, screenings, scavenger hunts, field trips, and much more. It’s a great way to engage with classics while having fun and making friends.