UW students in the Roman Forum.
UW students in the Roman Forum.

Classics concerns itself with the languages and cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose civilizations had a central role in shaping the basic conceptual categories of our present cultural, intellectual, professional, and civic lives. Study of Classical languages and cultures fosters broad and deeply informed critical perspectives on the human experience and develops excellent analytical, problem-solving and communication skills.



UW’s Department of Classics is known nationally and internationally as a place where innovative research, excellent instruction, and active mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students are ensuring the preservation and expansion of knowledge of the Classical world for the next generation.

Faculty and students work collaboratively with colleagues in most other humanities departments as well as colleagues in Art History; Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; History; the Honors Program; Jewish Studies; Music; the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity; Philosophy; the Simpson Center for the Humaniities; and the UW Libraries. We also serve as a local hub for the teaching of Classics and offer engaging annual events for teachers of Latin and Classics at all levels.


Undergraduate majors


The humanities, with their critically informed and historically grounded explorations of fundamental human experiences, are integral to the public good. The Department cultivates a strong sense of stewardship and embraces opportunities to provide access to education in Classical languages and cultures as widely as possible.

The Department offers four undergraduate majors: Classics, Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies. The majors in Classics, Greek, and Latin emphasize the development of expertise in the Classical languages and literatures. The Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies is for students wishing to explore the literature, history, art, archaeology, and philosophy of Classical Antiquity primarily through English translations. Undergraduate majors deepen and consolidate their explorations of the ancient world in a culminating project, the Senior Essay. Many of our graduates have gone on to become distinguished teachers and scholars; others have pursued successful careers in business, journalism, law, medicine, the arts, and a variety of other fields.

The Department’s graduate programs, leading to the MA in Greek, Latin, or Classics and the PhD in Classics, ensure comprehensive and thorough training in the disciplines needed for teaching and for producing original research in the field of Classics. Students may also do supporting work in other departments in such areas as ancient philosophy, ancient and medieval history, art history, literary theory, and linguistics.

The Department actively encourages and in many cases is able to provide financial assistance to students to participate in a study abroad program, including those sponsored by the Department or the University’s Study Abroad office as well as a variety of programs offered by organizations such as the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and archaeological excavations and field schools.


Autumn 2019

  • 25 Undergraduate majors
  • 30 Undergraduate minors
  • 15 Graduate students
  • 3,272 Total student enrollment (Autumn 2018-Summer 2019)

Degrees Awarded

July 2018 - June 2019

  • 11 Bachelor of Arts degrees
  • 4 PhD degrees

Major Student Awards

Since 2010

  • 4 Mary Gates Research Scholarships
  • 2 Grand Prizes, UW Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Competition
  • 1 Freshman President’s Medal
  • 3 Dean’s Medals
  • 1 Presidential Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2 Presidential Fellowships, GO-MAP
  • 2 Bank of America Endowed Minority Fellowships (GO-MAP)
  • 1 Research Assistantship Award (GO-MAP)
  • 1 Alvord Fellowship
  • 7 Joff Hanauer Fellowships
  • 3 MacFarlane Scholarships
  • 2 Fulbright Scholarships
  • 1 American Association of University Women, American Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2 American School of Classical Studies Scholarships


Autumn 2019

  • 6 Professors
  • 3 Associate Professors
  • 1 Assistant Professor
  • 3 Emeritus Professors

Faculty Awards & Honors

Faculty bring a global perspective to the study of Classics, with numerous international collaborations. Faculty awards and honors include:

  • 1 Departmental Professional Equity Award from the Women’s Classical Caucus
  • 1 Departmental Gold Star Award from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • 4 UW Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • 1 UW Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovation with Technology
  • 4 Simpson Center Humanities Scholars
  • 2 Lockwood Professorships in the Humanities
  • 1 Solomon Katz Distinguished Lecturer
  • 8 UW Royalty Research Fund Awards
  • 1 Getty Foundation Grant
  • 2 Loeb Classical Library Foundation Awards
  • 1 American Philosophical Society Fellowship
  • 3 Center for Hellenic Studies Fellowships
  • 2 NEH Fellowships for University Teachers
  • 1 NEH Summer Stipend
  • 1 NEH Albright Institute of Archaeological Research Fellowship
  • 1 Martin Lectureship, Oberlin College
  • 1 J. H. Gray Lectureship, Cambridge University
  • 1 Postdoctoral Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome


Faculty engage in critical analysis of texts, artifacts, and culture from across the whole range of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, including projects focusing on archaeological, art historical, topographical, historical, historiographical, philosophical, folkloric, and literary studies.

Recent faculty publications include Ancient Sex: New Essays; The Gods of Greek Hexameter Poetry: From the Archaic Age to Late Antiquity and Beyond; “A River Runs Through it: Waterways and Narrative in Strabo;” “Memory as Motive in Tacitus;” “Pastoral and its Futures: Reading like (a) Mantuan;” “Solon in Herodotus;” Pseudo-Demosthenes: Against Neaira; “Homer and Indo-European Myth;” The Brothel of Pompeii: Sex, Class, and Gender at the Margins of Roman SocietyVarro’s Dystopian Rome: Cryptological Writing and Triumviral Shadow in de Rebus Rusticis (in progress); “Dionysos Comes to Thrace: The Metaphor of Corrupted Sacrifice and the Introduction of Dionysian Cult in Images of Lykourgos’s Madness.”

In addition to pursuing their own research projects in Senior Essays and in graduate work, students have the opportunity to participate in the production of the first complete digital edition of the oldest manuscript of Homer through a local chapter of the international Homer Multitext project.

Areas of Scholarship

  • Classical Archaeology
  • Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
  • Greek and Roman Historiography
  • Greek and Roman Linguistics
  • Greek and Roman Medicine
  • Greek and Roman Philosophy
  • Greek and Roman Religion
  • Greek and Roman Science and Technology
  • Greek and Roman Social and Cultural History
  • Greek Epic, Lyric Poetry, and Drama
  • Hellenistic Poetry
  • Literary Theory and Criticism
  • Roman Literature of All Periods
  • Roman Topography
  • The Ancient Novel
  • The Reception of Classical Texts in the Medieval and Renaissance Periods
  • Visual Culture


  • Classics Department Endowment Fund
  • Classics Faculty Fellowship
  • Classics Student Travel Fund
  • DeLacy Classics Endowment
  • Harvey Bruce Densmore Memorial Fund
  • Jim Greenfield Endowed Classics Scholarship
  • Roseanna Wabel McDermott Endowed Fund for Study Abroad
  • John and Mary McDiarmid Lectureship
  • Thomas and Joyce Morgan Endowment for Classics
  • Nesholm Graduate Fellowship


The Department’s activities that serve the local community include:

  • offering Latin 103 in select high schools for UW college credit, through the UW in the High School Program;
  • an annual Classics conference for K-12 teachers, featuring faculty and teacher presentations and discussions;
  • K-12 activities including presentations at high schools and at the Junior Classical League’s annual convention and after-school enrichment classes in Latin;
  • public lectures at various venues for local associations and programs, such as the Frye Art Museum, Temple Beth Am, and local theaters; and
  • co-sponsorship, with the University of Puget Sound, of the local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, which brings noted scholars to campus for public lectures on archaeological topics.


Department of Classics
Box 353110
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2266


last update:  December 2019