There are a variety of paths to undergraduate research in the Department of Classical Studies. The Capstone Seminar, which is required of all majors but open to any junior or senior, is offered every spring and provides an excellent opportunity to engage in collaborative or solo research projects. Students can pursue research topics in one- or two-semester long independent studies. Finally, many of our majors elect to pursue the two-semester option, writing a Senior Thesis with a view to Graduation with Distinction (for more on this, see the link to information on Graduation with Distinction in the lefthand menu). Writing a thesis in Classics is a good way (1) to develop a deep intellectual relationship with a faculty mentor, (2) to engage with the wonderfully alien world of Greek and Roman antiquity in greater depth and breadth than you might have done in a traditional class, (3) to learn firsthand the methods of humanistic and scientific enquiry that propel the field, and (4) to challenge yourself to think and write about an aspect of antiquity so as to advance an idea that you can claim as your own!
Students who have written senior theses in Classical Studies have gone on to careers in diplomacy, finance, law, medicine, secondary teaching, as well as graduate programs in archaeology, classical studies, history, or medieval Latin. You do not need to be headed to grad school to write a thesis. Recent topics have included credit crises in ancient Rome, Greek and Roman religious tolerance, rhetorical strategies in the Greek medical author Soranus, Roman military training, tourism in the Roman Empire, vengeance in the Athenian legal system, Vergilian allusion in the fourth-century Christian poet Juvencus, and a wide range of other topics.
Every year, the David Taggart Clark Prize in Classical Studies is awarded to the senior major in classical civilization or classical languages who is judged to have written the best honors thesis of the year. The prize consists of an important book or books in the field of classics. Support for this award derives from income earned on the generous bequest (1956) of Professor David Taggart Clark, classicist and economist.