The classical tradition is not trapped in dusty old books on library shelves; it exists in the way we speak, the way we think, what we read, the music we listen to, and what we watch on television and in movies. From democracy to gender, from theater to athletics, from philosophy to the very way in which we understand history – the legacy of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds lives all around us.
The classics program will introduce you to authors, texts, and ideas that constitute the foundational literature of the Western tradition. As we become increasingly globalized, you will benefit from learning to read, critique, and analyze ancient Greek and Roman literature.
Why study the Classics?
Hofstra’s program in the classics offers language training in ancient Greek and Latin at all levels. By the third semester students are prepared to read and analyze Greek and Latin texts like Virgil's Aeneid and Plato's Symposium in their original language.
Our proximity to New York City allows students to enrich their classroom training with visits to the Greek and Roman wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the neo-classical collection at the Dahesh Museum of Art, and the city's classically oriented exhibitions, theatrical offerings, and cultural events.
Degrees & Programs
The classics curriculum emphasizes training in Latin and/or ancient Greek. Classics majors acquire powerful linguistic abilities by studying Latin and Greek and learning about the world through ancient literature. This program provides students with a strong background in classical literature and in related areas of study (including ancient philosophy, art history, and the religious traditions of Greece, Rome, the ancient Near East, and early Christianity). Students may choose to specialize in classical languages and literatures, classical civilizations, or Latin.
Major in the Classics
There are two major concentrations in Classics at Hofstra:
The concentration in Classical Languages and Literatures emphasizes language training in ancient Greek and/or Latin and provides the student with a strong background in classical literature and in related areas of study within classics – for example, ancient history, philosophy, art history, and the religious traditions of Greece and Rome and early Christianity.
The concentration in Classical Civilizations focuses on the literatures of antiquity (taught in translation), along with additional emphases in the ancient languages, and in related areas of study within classics – for example, ancient history, philosophy, art history, and the religious traditions of Greece and Rome and early Christianity.
Minor in the Classics
Take a combination of courses in Ancient Greek or Latin and Classic Literature.
Learn from the Experts
Meet Professor Steven Smith
Professor Smith’s research interests include Greek literature of the Roman Imperial period, especially the ancient novel (first - fourth centuries CE), animals in the Greco-Roman imagination, sex and gender in antiquity, and early Byzantine culture. He teaches Greek and Latin at all levels and ancient literature in English translation. In 2020, he was named a recipient of the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit for outstanding publications in the field of classical studies for his 2019 book, Greek Epigram and Byzantine Culture: Gender, Desire, and Denial in the Age of Justinian.
Professor Smith and the other faculty members in the classics program are internationally recognized scholars in the field. Their publications have transformed the way other scholars think about certain ancient texts.
The Student Experience
Students have ample opportunities to take advantage of many plays, lectures, and other cultural events and programs held on campus and in New York City. Examples of recent events include a performance of Sophocles' Antigone by the Theatrikos Kyklos, an ensemble featuring actors from the National Greek Theater and the Athens and Epidaurus festivals.
Great Writers, Great Readings
The University's Great Writers, Great Readings author series has featured Emily Wilson, the classics editor of the revised Norton Anthology of World Literature and the first woman to publish a translation of Homer's Odyssey into English.
Also appearing on campus was bestselling author Daniel Mendelsohn, whose memoir, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, recounts his travels around the Mediterranean with his late father while reading the Odyssey.
Take advantage of Hofstra's study abroad programs, which are primarily held during the January and summer sessions. Hofstra offers programs in Athens, Venice, and other exciting locations.
Students are encouraged to share their love of the classics with their peers and with the community. For example, one group of intrepid classics students taught introductory Latin classes for elementary and middle school students at a local library.
By the time they graduate from the program, Hofstra students are effective writers and researchers, and skilled presenters. They have fine-tuned their grammatical and syntactical precision and are well-versed in literary history, theory, and criticism; the process and theory of translation; and textual analysis. They are ready to move into the competitive world of work or an advanced studies program.
In a survey of recent graduates:
100% responded that they were employed or pursuing an advanced degree within one year of graduation
100% of students who reported employment responded that they had landed their position within six months of graduation
$49K is the annual mean reported salary for 2020-2021 graduates in this area of study
Our alumni may be found working as:
Language translators and interpreters
Some have landed positions working overseas for American-based companies.
They are pursuing advanced degrees at:
Ball State University
College of William & Mary
CUNY Hunter College
East China Normal University
University of Alabama
University of Iowa
University of Kent, Canterbury
University Of Vermont
University of Washington
Wayne State University
Their study courses include the classics, Japanese, education, law and medicine.
Ilaria Marchesi, PhD
Professor of Classics
and Comparative Literature