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The Classics Program at the Graduate Center offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Greek and Roman classics.

Ph.D. Degree

The following requirements are in addition to the University requirements for the Ph.D. stated in the Bulletin.

The Program in Classics offers the Ph.D. in Classics, with the option of a specialization in Ancient History. Students must declare which option they intend to pursue by the time they have completed 21 credits of course work.

Course of Study.  The curriculum for all doctoral students in Classics consists of a minimum of 60 graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree.

Required courses.  Students concentrating in Classical Philology and students concentrating in Ancient History will follow similar courses of study through the first 30 credits of course work.

Within the first 30 credits all students must take:

  • Greek Rhetoric and Stylistics
  • Latin Rhetoric and Stylistics
  • Proseminar in Classics

Students concentrating in Classical Philology will also take one course from each of the following categories:

  • Greek poetry, 8-6th cen. BCE
  • Greek poetry, 5th cen. BCE
  • Greek prose, any period
  • Latin poetry, Republican
  • Latin poetry, Augustan
  • Latin prose, any period
  • Greek or Roman history or archaeology

Students concentrating in Ancient History will choose their courses from each of the following categories:

  • Greek history, 2 courses
  • Roman history, 2 courses
  • Greek poetry, any period
  • Latin poetry, any period
  • Greek prose, any period, preferably a historical author
  • Latin prose, any period, preferably a historical author

Elective courses.  For the remaining credits 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.

First examination.  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.

Modern Languages.  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.

Ongoing MA. When a student has completed 45 credits and has passed the First Examination and one modern language exam, s/he may submit a research paper to the Executive Officer and receive an MA degree.

Second examination.  The second examination is in three parts. The parts 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 be examined in (1) the History of Greek literature, (2) the History of Latin literature, (3) Greek and Roman History. The parts may be taken in any order. The History of Greek literature and the History of Latin literature exams will be oral and will include a section on a special topic or author approved by a faculty adviser and the Executive Officer. The ancient history examination is a written 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.

While also working towards a PhD in Classics, students can choose to complete a Certificate Program in one of the following interdisciplinary fields: African Studies, Critical Theory, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, Women's Studies and Interactive Technology and Pedagogy.

Advancement to Candidacy and the M. Phil. degree. When a student has completed 60 credits including all required courses, passed the Second Examination and both modern language exams, s/he may advance to candidacy and receive the M. Phil. degree by application to the Office of the Registrar.

Dissertation.  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 Masters Degree

Requirements for admission in addition to the requirements set by the Graduate Center (BA; GREs): 2 years (preferably 3 or more) of college Latin or Greek or its equivalent. 

  1. Required credits: 30; years to completion if full-time: 2
  2. Required courses:
    1. Proseminar: Introduction to Classical Studies (3 cr.)
    2. Either Latin or Greek Rhetoric and Stylistics (3 cr.)
    3. 4 courses in either Latin or Greek (12 cr.)
    4. 4 courses relevant to ancient studies from any of the following programs: Art History, Philosophy, History, Comparative Literature, MALS or courses in the other ancient language (3 cr.)
  3. Two exams:
    1. A written exam in either Latin or Greek literature or a written exam in either Roman or Greek history.
    2. A translation exam in either Latin or Greek
  4. A capstone project (such as a thesis, video, website, blog, etc.) to be completed under the supervision of a faculty adviser. The capstone project often develops material that the student has worked on in a previous course.
Note:  Students who express an interest in applying to PhD Programs in classics, ancient history or archaeology will be advised to take courses in both ancient languages, to write a thesis as a capstone project and to a achieve a reading knowledge of German and either Italian or French. Students planning to apply to PhD Programs in archaeology should also pursue opportunities to do field work during the summer.