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Why Classics?

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What is Classics?

Classics is the interdisciplinary study of the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds, their connections to other ancient cultures, and their continued resonance today. Classicists study language, literature, history, material culture, archaeology, philosophy, and much more, with interests reaching from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America. The discipline explores the full range of approaches to Ancient Greece and Rome within their ancient Mediterranean context, and the way that classical texts, objects, histories, ideas, and values have been significant for later cultures across the globe. 

Concentrating in Classics

Classics matters today because the modern world has been profoundly shaped by engagements with the classical past. Understanding that past in its full breadth and complexity helps us to make sense of the present, and to imagine possible ways of meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow. As an interdisciplinary field of study, moreover, Classics develops in its students a range of skills that are crucial for their development: abilities to engage with foreign cultures, to read closely, to understand events, and to trace legacies through history. The study of antiquity helps us better grasp our modernity.

Classics alumnae/i tell us why they chose to study Classics, during interviews with Professor Brooke Holmes.

The Department offers two tracks of study for concentrators: the Classical Studies program affords wide-ranging opportunities to study the history, literature, and culture of the ancient Mediterranean, as well as the impact of classical antiquity on later periods; the Ancient History program explores the history of ancient Greece and Rome and their relationships with the neighboring cultures of the Near East, Europe, and Africa.

Both tracks offer students a great degree of flexibility and the chance to work closely with faculty to develop innovative research projects that emerge from their interests and address their personal goals.

Learn more about the concentration here.


If you would like to pursue a concentration, minor or a certificate in Classics, we encourage you to be in contact with our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Daniela Mairhofer, to discuss your program of study.

After Princeton

A Classics education trains students to be citizens of the modern world. Classics concentrators go on to flourish in a range of careers including law, medicine, the arts, nonprofit work, activism, business, finance, journalism, publishing, and teaching. They perform well in admissions to law and medical schools, competitive fellowship selection, and often go on to further degrees in a range of fields. The study of Classics develops skills of reading, interpretation, and communication that are essential for future life, and offers a knowledge of history and culture that informs, challenges, and inspires.

Learn more about our alumnae/i here.

Princeton University Career Services  also provides information on what to do with a Classics major. The Society for Classical Studies  (formerly the American Philological Association) offers a comprehensive overview of the benefits of a major in Classics after graduation.