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What is Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies?

Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) is the study of ancient civilizations that arose and flourished around the Mediterranean basin (including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Anatolia, Israel, Mesopotamia, and North Africa) from the “cradle of civilization” in Mesopotamia (ca. 4000 BCE) to the end of Greco-Roman antiquity (ca. 600 CE). CAMS investigates the whole scope of the ancient Mediterranean world and trains students to interpret the linguistic and archaeological evidence of the greatest ancient cultures.

Why Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies?

You might like this program if:

  • you want to learn the methods of archaeology and archaeological interpretation with the goal of reconstructing the social practices and historical development of different peoples in the ancient Mediterranean;
  • you want to master an interdisciplinary subject with a long-term perspective on the human condition and on cultural achievements across diverse geographical regions; and/or
  • you want to pursue a career in education, archaeology, or law.

Potential Careers

The study of CAMS requires the mastery of skills in assessing a range of evidence, deliberation and argumentation, analytical thinking, and writing and communication. The perspectives and skills developed as a CAMS student are valued in a wide range of professions, and our graduates have entered a great variety of careers.

  • Secondary and College level teaching
  • Archaeology
  • Business leaders
  • Law

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Some of our majors plan academic careers in CAMS-related fields. Our students have enrolled in graduate programs in:

  • Classics
  • Ancient History
  • Near Eastern Studies
  • Egyptology
  • Biblical Studies
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Related fields
Student Testimonial

“The day I changed my major to Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies was one of the happiest of my college career.  Even before switching to CAMS,  I was interested in what the department had to offer. (...)
An undergraduate advisor suggested LATIN 003 as a way of easing into college life, as I had taken Latin classes throughout high school and had performed well on the Advanced Placement exams.  The beginning was rough, but I enjoyed the challenge of translating Latin prose and the information that the texts conveyed.  Although I pursued an Advertising degree during my first two years of college, I continued to sign up for Latin courses, and by the end of my sophomore year, I had realized that Classics, not Advertising, was the right major for me. In addition to the Latin courses, I also studied the ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece, and Egypt in the CAMS major.  All of these classes were interesting, educational, and taught by knowledgeable faculty members.   The CAMS faculty is always helpful; they provide insight into the class material and make suggestions for outside reading during office hours and after class.  When I wrote my senior thesis for the Honors College, I received much help from the CAMS faculty while researching and writing the thesis.  Now that I have received my diplomas from Penn State, both in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Spanish, I have decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Education.  I have been accepted at the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the oldest universities in Europe, to study secondary education, specializing in classical languages.  I am confident that the education I received at Penn State, notably in the CAMS department, will aid me greatly in my postgraduate studies and in securing a teaching job, whether in the United States, Spain, or elsewhere.”

Celia Meehan
2010 CAMS graduate

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