At Pitzer College, Field Groups (similar to a discipline or department) organize major requirements and courses.

Classics is an interdisciplinary major and an intercollegiate program. Courses for the major are taught by participating faculty at Pitzer, Scripps, Pomona, and CMC campuses.

The Classics curriculum provides opportunities to study the diverse cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East from the Bronze Age through late antiquity from multiple perspectives—through ancient literature (in the original languages and in English translation), art and material culture, philosophy, and history. Several courses also examine the “afterlife” of antiquity—its reception and reinterpretations in the modern world.

Sample Courses

Classical Mythology

Greek and Roman mythology through both literature (in translation) and visual material (ancient art, architecture, and other material culture).

Fantastic Archeology

An exploration of popular and fantastic interpretations of archaeological sites and finds. This course investigates pseudoscientific explanations of archaeological questions and the biases that underlie them. 

The Roman Empire in the East CLAS 150BE PZ

The eastern Mediterranean and modern Middle East are home to some of the richest evidence for urban culture in the Roman imperial period and late antiquity. Drawing on archeological and other evidence, this seminar explores the urban social and religious life in cities ike Alexandria, Ephesos, Palmyra, etc.


Michelle L. Berenfeld
John A. McCarthy Associate Professor of Classics
[email protected]

  1. Be able to read and analyze ancient Greek and/or Latin texts, accurately translate them into English, and describe and explain particularities of grammar and syntax of those languages to others. (The number of languages studied depends on the track selected; for the Classical Languages track, students are required to study both Greek and Latin; for the Classical Studies track, only one. Students may also study Hebrew through the Classics department).
  2. Gain working knowledge of and be able to describe significant historical and cultural developments in ancient Greek and Roman civilization, including major events (wars, cultural changes) and important persons.
  3. Have a firm grasp of the geography of the ancient Mediterranean and the extent of ancient Greek and Roman empires, including the locations of major cities and sanctuaries and knowledge of the history and/or topography of selected areas.
  4. Be able to identify, describe, and analyze major archaeological sites, architecture, sculpture, and other artifacts from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds within their historical and cultural contexts.
  5. Be able to critically analyze ancient cultural products—texts (literature, philosophy, history), material culture, art—as well as modern scholarship of Greek and Roman civilization and, by the end of their college career, have specialized knowledge of the nature and extent of that evidence as well as key scholarly questions in at least one sub-field of classical studies (i.e. Latin literature, history of ancient Greece, archaeology of the Roman empire).
  6. Be able to locate, evaluate, and use specialized scholarship in classics (including ancient history, literature, archaeology, art history) effectively and efficiently to support their own research and other intellectual inquiry.

Students of the Classics have gone on to pursue and thrive in a variety of careers. Well-known public figures who studied the Classics include Toni Morrison (author), Jerry Brown (former CA governor), Will Cather (author), Karl Marx (philosopher), Huey P. Newton (co-founder, Black Panther Party), Chuck Geschke (founder, Adobe Systems), and Mindy Kaling (actress).