Founded in 1867, the Department of Classics has long been the only degree granting program in the languages and cultures of classical antiquity at any HBCU.
Our mission, through teaching and research, is to transmit knowledge of areas of ancient human cultures including the Greek and Roman worlds as well as Egypt, Judaea, and the Near East.
The department also seeks to teach our students how later African, European, and American traditions understood these ancient cultures. The department’s teaching focus on the ancient world naturally entails interdisciplinary approaches, including literature, linguistics, history, philosophy, rhetoric, art, archaeology and various social sciences.
In addition to helping to prepare students for advanced work in fields directly related to the classics, the department provides fundamental training for all professional schools—such as law, business, and medicine—that require developed skills of close reading, critical thinking, and analysis.
Currently, the department’s primary teaching consists of providing a large component of the General Education requirements for the College and other Schools, primarily Divisional A courses, and also some courses in Division B and Division C.
In this way we serve the College in its critical task of laying a solid foundation in content and skills for work in undergraduate majors all across the University.
The department’s mission aligns with all aspects of the Howard University Mission, especially its mission to provide an educational experience of exceptional quality at the undergraduate level and to develop historically aware and compassionate graduates who are prepared to pursue positions of global leadership.