Our goal is for you to become a versatile and constructive thinker, and writer, about how the deep past of ancient Greece and Rome has shaped—and itself has been reshaped by—the vital concerns of the present, often in controversial ways.
Our students go forward from Penn ready to perceive, interpret, and respond to the present world as they find it while drawing on the significant knowledge and skills they have acquired through their critical engagement with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.
Each year in Senior Colloquium we celebrate the range of student work in Classical Studies and Ancient History, using this as an opportunity to reflect on how well we are meeting our goals.
As a department we have identified six general goals corresponding to six distinct content/skill areas. Our curriculum is intended to enable every student to meet these goals regardless of major-option and course-plan:
1. Systematic knowledge of the Greek and Roman worlds
Students will have a thorough familiarity with the historical periods, topography, cultures, and contributions of ancient Greece and Rome, including specialized knowledge in certain areas.
2. Interpretation of texts, objects, and other data
Students will be able to explicate and/or argue for the meanings and significance of cultural products deriving from, or associated with, ancient Greece and Rome, taking account of all relevant factors of language, medium, and context.
3. Disciplinary approaches
Students will understand the disciplines corresponding to the different subject-areas of Classical Studies, and they will be cognizant of and competent in the methods specific to each.
4. Modes of discussion and argument
Students will be competent in the oral and written conventions (such as giving a presentation or writing a paper) by which academic studies of ancient Greece and Rome can most effectively be conducted and communicated.
5. Research practices
Students will be proficient in designing a research inquiry and carrying it to fruition, employing standard procedures for scholarly investigation, argumentation, and the citation of evidence.
Students will be conscious of, and responsive to, structures of social inequality in the ancient world as a consideration of special importance for Classical Studies.