Instead of a senior thesis, majors in Classics and Classical Studies work toward two capstone experiences, the comprehensive exam and senior seminar.
The comprehensive exam is taken during December or January of the senior year and represents the culmination of each student's language study and general coursework. It consists of a language translation component that allows students to demonstrate their progress and command of the ancient languages they have studied, as well as essay and oral components that offer students the opportunity to discuss more broadly important themes and ideas of the Classical literary tradition. A departmental reading list (online or .pdf) forms the basis of the essay and oral components of the exam, while the translation exam draws on sight passages as well as texts that have been read in the original as part of the student’s coursework. A course entitled "The History of Classical Literature" (CLAS 701) helps prepares students for the comprehensive exam.
In addition, majors also take a senior seminar (CLAS 420), usually in the spring of their senior year. The topics vary from year to year but are focused on a Classical field, genre, or period. The seminar culminates in a research paper that builds not only upon what was studied in the class itself but also upon the student’s overall Classics curriculum at Middlebury.
Seminar topics have included:
Please click here to see the Comprehensive Examination Reading List for Classics and Classical Studies.