Department: Classical and Oriental Studies


The Department of Classical and Oriental Studies offers programs in Arabic, Chinese, Classics, Hebrew, Japanese, and Russian. With over 20 full-time faculty and over 50 adjunct faculty, the department is able to offer nine BA degrees: Arabic, Chinese, Classical Archaeology, Classical Studies, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Latin and Greek, and Russian. In addition, the department offers a three-year sequence in the Japanese language, and ― in joint sponsorship with the Kosciuszko Foundation―a wide range of courses in Polish language, literature and culture. The department participates in several interdisciplinary programs, including Anthropology, Religion, Women and Gender Studies, Comparative Literature, Middle East Studies and Jewish Studies.  All the programs of the department have as their common goal the teaching of the foreign languages and literatures, traditionally viewed as one of the cornerstones of the liberal arts curriculum. This goal is met in several ways. Each of the languages helps fulfill the 12-credit (normally four-semester) foreign-language requirement. The six-credit requirement in literature may be satisfied in part by a course in literature in the original language or by a course in literature in translation. Undergraduate majors are given a solid grounding in foreign languages, literature, and cultural studies in order to prepare them both for careers in which they will use these skills and for further study on the graduate level.

What can I do with my degree in Classical and Oriental Studies?

The programs prepare students for further studies in graduate school and professional careers in international trade, education, government service, diplomacy, private business, journalism and related fields.  Careers in research, government and education use skills developed in classical studies, and a major in classics provides an excellent foundation for many professional programs such as law. Majors in our programs find employment in museums, archives, U.S. governmental agencies, the United Nations, broadcasting, banking, international commerce, education, library services, college and high school teaching, and other fields.



David Petrain
1425 West
(212) 772-5181