Information on upcoming courses can be found here.

Emil Homerin Teaching
Emil Homerin teaches History of Islam.

The department offers bachelor of arts degrees in religion, in classics, and in classical civilization, as well as minors in religion, classics, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic.


 The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome have influenced generations of successive western societies, leaving a legacy that includes ideas about:

  • Democracy
  • Empire
  • Myth
  • Society
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Philosophy

Studying ancient Greece and Rome at Rochester is not merely a matter of antiquarian interest; rather our courses enable students to explore the past in ways that allow them to understand the present and imagine the future. Students study the foundational texts and significant artifacts of the western world in order to understand them on their own terms and in their ancient contexts as well as to develop a deeper awareness of the ways in which classical antiquity has shaped and continues to influence contemporary society.

The classics major is language centered, emphasizing ancient history, art and archaeology, literature, and philosophy. Recent graduates of the department have an excellent record of admission to graduate school as well as to medical school or law school.

The classical civilization major focuses on the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome that have influenced all successive western societies, leaving a legacy that includes ideas about democracy, empire, myth, society, race, gender, and philosophy.


Religion is a major force in the world, both in the past and in the present. It often plays a key role in shaping the lives of individuals as well as societies and cultures at large. Students of religion learn to employ a variety of theoretical and interpretive approaches in the endeavor to understand religion in the diverse forms it has taken in different cultures and historical periods. 

The program in the study of Religion at the University of Rochester offers two majors – Religion and Religion Politics & Society -- that enable students to explore the history, literature, material culture, and practices of religion in both the past and the present.  Additionally, the study of religion at Rochester takes seriously the manifold and complex ways in which religion is embedded in human culture and society; students are challenged to explore the ways in which religion both shapes and is shaped by other aspects of human experience, such as those related to gender, sexuality, medicine, politics, law, art, performance, nationalism, violence, peace, and ethics.  Inherently interdisciplinary, students of religion will draw on a range of interpretive methods and analytical disciplines as they develop their understanding of religion.

Additionally, the department offers a wide range of courses which explore the many ways in which religious ideas and practices intersect with other aspects of human culture and society. For example, the department offers courses that examine:

  • The intersection of religion and different genres of music such as hip-hop or the blues
  • Ways religion has influenced the law and have shaped societal understandings of guilt and punishment
  • How different religious traditions have shaped human understandings of the nature of the body and the self and have informed everyday bodily practices related to eating, dressing, and sexuality
  • Ways in which religions have provided the framework for understanding fundamental and perennial questions about the meaning of life, how to understanding evil and suffering in the world, and what do we mean by the “good”

The religion major is structured so that students have considerable independence in shaping their major so that they can focus on those areas of the study of religion that are of greatest interest to them, while also developing a strong foundation in the study of religion generally and a mastery of the methods and theories used by scholars to understand religion in all its fascinating complexity.