Show The Graduate Center Menu


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.

Masters Degree

The MA Program in Classics offers a terminal Master of Arts degree. MA graduates wishing to matriculate in the PhD Program must apply in the usual way, and will be considered on an equal basis with the other applicants. There is no automatic pass-through between the programs, but if an MA graduate is admitted to the PhD Program, all 30 of the credits earned at the masters level will be counted toward the PhD.

Course of Study. The students must follow a program of study approved by an adviser, including graduate courses totaling a minimum of 30 credits, distributed as follows:

Required courses:

  • Greek Rhetoric and Stylistics (3 credits);
  • Latin Rhetoric and Stylistics (3 credits);
  • One course each on texts from the following categories: Greek poetry, Greek prose, Latin poetry, Latin prose.

Elective courses:

The student is encouraged to balance elective courses as evenly as possible between Greek and Latin authors.

Upon completion of course requirements, the student must pass a comprehensive examination that will test general competence and competence in a special area selected by the student with the adviser's approval. Part of this comprehensive examination will test the student's ability to translate into English selected passages of either ancient Greek or Latin; this part is normally taken separately.

The student must pass an examination demonstrating a reading knowledge of French, German, or Italian. This requirement should be discharged as early as possible.

The final requirement for the degree is a thesis approved by a designated faculty committee. The student must maintain matriculation while writing the thesis.