Our undergraduate certificate program is for students interested in a rigorous grounding in Western culture, reflecting on its traditions and values, and the certificate itself is the equivalent of an inter-disciplinary minor. The program allows students to study Western culture, science and government in their ancient, medieval and modern forms. The curriculum embraces over 30 courses taught by faculty in departments that include art history, classics, English, German, history, humanities, Italian, philosophy, political science and religious studies.

For more information on the program, requirements and current course offerings, visit the Benson Center's Certificate in Western Civilization webpage or contact the Director.


The interdisciplinary curriculum of over 30 courses is taught by faculty in departments that include: classics, English, history, philosophy, religious studies, and Germanic languages and literatures.

The certificate requires the completion with a grade of C- or better of eight courses (24 credit hours), of which 12 credit hours must be at the upper-division level. Up to three courses (or 9 credit hours) may come from the student's major.

In addition, students must fulfill the requirements for a BA in a major in a school or college at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Required Courses and Credits

The required courses are offered each year. Students will enroll in one course from each cluster (9 hours total): literature, history and science.

The elective courses are offered regularly, but not each semester. Students are advised to check with the offering department regarding availability. Some courses may have prerequisites. Additional courses may be petitioned for inclusion in meeting certificate requirements through the center director.

Required Courses
Select one course from the following:
Introduction to Humanities: Literature 2
Greeks, Romans, Kings & Crusaders: European History to 1600
Empire, Revolution and Global War: European History Since 1600
The World of the Ancient Greeks
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Rome
The Western Tradition
Select one course from the following:
Philosophy and the Sciences
History of Science: Ancients to Newton
History of Science: Newton to Einstein
Science in the Ancient World
Select one course from the following:
Introduction to Humanities: Literature 1
Medieval and Renaissance
Shakespeare for Nonmajors
Shakespeare in Dialogue
Shakespeare in Performance
Greek and Roman Mythology
Power and Passion in Ancient Rome
Pompeii and the Cities of Vesuvius
Medieval Art Survey
Major Works and Trends in Literature and Culture in Spain Up to 1700
Main Currents of Italian Culture and Literature 1
The Bible as Literature
The Enlightenment: Tolerance and Emancipation
The Question of Romanticism
Greek and Roman Epic
Greek and Roman Tragedy
Greek and Roman Comedy
What the Hell?: Dante’s Divine Comedy and the Meaning of Life
Boccaccio's Decameron: Tales of Sex and Death in the Middle Ages
Literature in the Age of Goethe
Main Currents of French Literature 1
French Enlightenment
Chaucer and the Invention of English Literature
Milton’s Worlds
Medieval Worlds
Athens and Greek Democracy
Alexander the Great and the Rise of Macedonia
Twilight of Antiquity
The Roman Republic
The Roman Empire
Europe During the Renaissance
The Age of Religious Wars: Reformation Europe,1500-1648
From Revolt to Revolution: Europe in an Age of Global Enlightenment, 1648-1789
The History of the Mediterranean, 600 CE-1600 CE
Jewish Thought in Modern History
Worlds Transformed: Late Antiquity & the Early Middle Ages in Europe & the Mediterranean
Europe in the High Middle Ages (1000-1400 A.D.)
Christian Traditions
History of Ancient Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
The Enlightenment: Tolerance and Emancipation
Nietzsche: Literature and Values
Foundations of Western Civilization
Survey of Western Political Thought
Classical Greek Political Thought
Total Credit Hours24