Welcome to Classics at Yale

The Classics Department at Yale has been an international center for teaching and research for over a hundred years and is at the forefront of current research into the cultures and societies of the ancient Mediterranean World. We are proud of the department’s intellectual tradition and its former students, both undergraduates and graduates, who continue to play an important role in shaping the present-day discipline of Classics. Building upon a tradition of original and imaginative teaching and research, we seek to open up the study of Greco-Roman antiquity and its afterlife to future generations of students, and to bring Classics to a wider audience.

The Department has eighteen members of faculty as well as affiliated faculty in the Yale Art Gallery, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Hellenic Studies, History, Linguistics, Near Eastern Languages and Culture, the Divinity School, and Religious Studies. Our outlook is international: in addition to the U.S., members of the teaching faculty come from Britain, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands. Our areas of expertise include Ancient Philosophy, Greco-Roman History and Historiography, Greek, Roman, and Hellenistic EgyptianLaw, Art and Material Culture, Archaic and Hellenistic Greek Poetry and Performance, Roman Poetry, especially Satire and Elegy, and Greek Oratory. Within these broad outlines the department conducts research and teaching across the entire disciplinary spectrum from ancient epigraphy to twenty-first century classical receptions.

What we do

The department exists to conduct original research, to train Classicists to the highest standards of scholarship at both undergraduate and graduate level, and to promote interest in the study of Greco-Roman antiquity. To this end, we are fortunate in enjoying unparalleled library resources and material holdings for the study of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Hellenistic World. We offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in the languages, societies, and cultures of the Greco–Roman world, and in classical reception.

Our approaches to teaching and research are informed by the knowledge that Classics is not an immutable body of knowledge, but that what Classics is, and how we do it, varies according to changing historical, social, and cultural contexts. The department offers students the opportunity to develop an overall knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, as well as an appreciation of how, at different historical moments, Greco-Roman antiquity has been used and abused to serve the needs of the present. Our programs of study emphasize getting to grips with the history and cultures of Greece, Rome, and the Hellenistic World, in conjunction with intensive language training in Greek and Latin, which makes profound engagement with these societies possible. The department also undertakes to equip its students with the specialist skills needed for their study, such as papyrology, numismatics, and epigraphy, and we are fortunate to have experts in all of these fields.

Many of the faculty have one or more joint appointments elsewhere within Yale and work closely with colleagues across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. We offer a number of combined programs at the graduate level, for example with Comparative Literature, Renaissance StudiesPhilosophy, and History of Art.