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Curriculum Requirements

Course Requirements

The Ph.D. Program in Classics requires 60 credits of approved graduate work. Students concentrate in either Classical Philology or Ancient History, and must declare which option they intend to pursue by the time they have completed 21 credits of course work.

Remaining credits for the degree are completed via electives. The student will plan a program of study, with the approval of an adviser, from among the listed author and special topics courses. Students are encouraged to balance as evenly as possible courses in ancient Greek and Latin

Core Curriculum
Classical Philology Concentration
Ancient History Concentration

Language Requirement

All students will be required to demonstrate by written examination a knowledge of German and either French or Italian adequate to read scholarly works in those languages.

Examination Requirements

First Examination

The first examination assesses the student’s ability to translate Greek and Latin literary texts by means of written exams in each language grounded in a reading list approved by the faculty and posted on the Program’s website. These exams demonstrate that a student has achieved the first Program goal: “mastery of the languages of the Greco-Roman world.”

This is a written examination in two parts that are taken separately before the completion of 45 credits. For students concentrating in Classical Philology, the areas are (1) Greek translation and (2) Latin translation. For students concentrating in Ancient History, the areas are (1) Greek or Latin translation and (2) Greek and Roman history.

Examinations are composed by two examiners and graded pass/fail by two other examiners. Students who fail either examination on the first try may take it again. A student who fails the same examination a second time must petition the Program’s Executive Committee for the right to take it a third time.

Second Examination

The second exam demonstrates that the student has achieved parts two and three of the Progam’s goals: “mastery of the literature and civilization of the Greco-Roman world.” It is given in three parts which are taken separately when the student has completed, or is close to completing, 60 credits and all other requirements for the Ph.D. with the exception of the dissertation.

Students concentrating in Classical Philology will take the following examinations: (1) a written examination in ancient history; (2) an oral examination in the history of Greek literature; (3) an oral examination in the history of Latin literature. The parts may be taken in any order. The ancient history examination, composed by two examiners and graded by two others, is given twice a year; the oral examinations are each administered by a panel of three faculty members, and are offered at mutually convenient times during the academic year. For each of the three exams, the student will choose in advance a special topic and work on that topic with a faculty advisor who is also one of the examiners. A portion of the exam addresses the special topic, while the remainder is grounded in general knowledge. Students will prepare for the general knowledge portion of the oral examinations using a reading list posted on the Program’s website that is more expansive than the list used for the first examination.

Students concentrating in Ancient History will take the following examinations: (1) a written translation examination in the classical language not taken as part of the first exam; (2) a written examination in Greek and Roman literature; (3) an oral examination in Greek and Roman history.

Students who fail any part of the Second Examination may take it again, but if it is failed a second time, they must petition the Program’s Executive Committee for the right to take it a third time.

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Dissertation Requirement

The dissertation demonstrates that students have achieved the final Program goal - “to conduct original, documented research in the field" - and is expected to constitute a new contribution to knowledge. It tests the student’s ability to engage with both primary and secondary sources, and to apply the skills learned in the writing of seminar papers to a larger project. It also enables committee members to assess the student’s capacity to read Greek and/or Latin texts with precision and nuance. It is the final measure of the student’s readiness to enter the academic profession

The candidate is required to write a dissertation on a subject approved by a committee of the doctoral faculty. As part of this approval process the student will write a dissertation proposal and meet with the committee to answer questions on the proposal and the general area(s) of the dissertation. After the dissertation has been completed and approved by this committee, the candidate will defend the dissertation at a final oral examination.

The dissertation is evaluated by a committee of three members of the CUNY Graduate Faculty chosen by the student and the Executive Officer in consultation with one another. Outside experts may also be added to the committee at the student’s request.

The Dissertation Process

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Choosing a Topic and an Advisor
The Committee
The Proposal
The Proposal Defense
Research and Writing
The Oral Dissertation Defense
Depositing the Dissertation