Graduate Program


Full-Time M.A.

The M.A. degree is earned in either Greek or Latin, and adequate and proven reading knowledge in this language is required for admission. Students are also expected to have completed at least one year of advanced work in the other language; transcripts of undergraduate course work are accepted as evidence that this requirement has been met. Students will generally be able to complete the M.A. degree in one academic year. No full-time student may take longer than two years to complete the degree.

Course Requirements: 30 points comprised of eight courses, at least six of them taken for graded credit, and CLPH G4300 Approaches to Antiquity. Students are expected to maintain at least a B+ average in their graded courses. E credit courses must include either Greek or Latin 4105, 4106, and 4139. Exemption from Greek or Latin 4139 may be given on the basis of an examination. Candidates who do not intend to proceed beyond the M.A. may substitute a research essay for Greek/Latin 4105 or 4106. 

Modern Language Requirement: A reading knowledge of French, Italian or German, to be demonstrated by a written test.

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Part-Time M.A.

The purpose of the part-time M.A. is to provide a period of graduate study in the classics, including research experience, at the same level as that of the full-time M.A.

Requirements: The requirements for the part-time M.A. are the same as those for the full-time M.A., with the exception of the time limit. Part-time students are expected to complete the degree within eight consecutive semesters, but leaves of absence that extend the time limit will be granted in cases in which a student's other obligations conflict unavoidably with attendance at the University. The time limit may also be extended by petition in special circumstances.

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Continuation of study beyond the M.A. degree or the equivalent is authorized by the Director of Graduate Studies. The M.Phil. degree is always in Classics, both Greek and Latin. Thus, course work and examinations are related to the study of both classical languages and their literatures (including their cultural and political backgrounds). Programs of study are individually arranged in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

General Course Requirements: Fourteen courses, including twelve for a letter grade. These fourteen courses must include Greek and Latin 4105, 4106 and 4139 (all six of which must be taken for a letter grade) and four advanced courses (8000 level or above) in Greek or Latin. The Courses taken for the M. A. count toward the total of fourteen. Students are expected to maintain at least a B+ average in their graded courses.

Modern Language Requirement: A reading knowledge of French or Italian and German, to be demonstrated by written tests as early as possible in the student's graduate career, and in no case later than the certification examination. This requirement includes competence in one language demonstrated as part of the work for the M.A. degree.

Qualification Examination: The qualification examination is offered at the beginning of each semester. It consists of two two-hour examinations, to be taken either on two successive days or in different semesters, in the translation of Greek and Latin texts chosen from the common reading list. The examination in at least one language must be first attempted no later than the beginning of the student’s fourth semester of residence, and at least one must be attempted at the beginning of every following semester. Both must be passed no later than the beginning of the sixth semester. Students who do not pass both examinations by the required deadline will not be permitted to continue as candidates for the degree.

Each examination consists of six passages (three prose, three poetry) of about 100-150 words, of which the student must translate four (two prose, two poetry). The examination is designed less to test the student’s ability to translate Greek and Latin (which is assumed) than his or her knowledge of the texts on the reading list. The passages on the examination are chosen so as to be representative both of the breadth of the list (expect passages from different genres and different periods) and of the works in question (expect passages that are typical for the content and style of a work and/or particularly significant for its interpretation).

Certification Examination ("M.Phil. papers"): Students are required to complete TWO written examinations or research papers on a special author or field under the supervision of an adviser of their choice, who determines the appropriate format.  The first of these should focus on the student's secondary language, the second on the primary language.  The topic of the examination or paper in the primary language may, but need not, be related to the proposed field of the student's dissertation.  It is recommended that students complete both examinations/papers in the course of their third year. Both examinations/papers  must be completed by the end of the seventh semester.

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Within one semester of the completion of requirements for the M.Phil. degree (i.e., by the end of the fourth year of residence), a candidate for the Ph.D. must submit to the supervisory committee a prospectus for the proposed dissertation, to consist of a statement of the topic and a rough outline of both working order and expected structure, in no more than 20 pages, with a short bibliography (no more than 30 titles) of relevant scholarship. It should be noted that all dissertation (i.e. non-teaching) fellowship awards are contingent upon the approval of the dissertation prospectus. The student must present and successfully defend a dissertation, normally on the subject approved by the supervisory committee.

What follows is the ideal progress through the Ph.D. program. Individual students' careers may vary, though deadlines and rules in bold apply to everyone. Students who fail to fulfill any degree requirement in accordance with the deadlines set out here may not be permitted to continue as candidates for the degree.

Year 1

  • Fulfillment of all M.A. requirements (courses + first foreign language exam)

Year 2

  • beginning of fall semester: taking of first translation exam (usually in the language studied in Survey the previous year)*
  • fulfillment of remaining course requirement for M.Phil. + second foreign language exam
  • teaching as T.A.
  • No later than the beginning of the student’s fourth semester, at least one of the translation exams must be attempted every semester until both have been passed.
  • By GSAS rules, all M.A. requirements must be fulfilled by the end of the second year.

Year 3

  • beginning of fall semester: taking of second translation exam*
  • work on certification exams (M.Phil. papers)
  • teaching as T.F.
  • Both translation exams must be passed no later than the Beginning of the student’s sixth semester.

Year 4

  • teaching as T.F.
  • completion by the end of the seventh semester of both certification exams (M.Phil. papers)
  • dissertation proposal
  • By GSAS rules, all M.Phil. requirements must be fulfilled by the end of the fourth year.

Year 5

  • dissertation

*The translation exams, both Latin and Greek, will be held three times a year: on the Friday of the first week of classes in Fall and Spring semesters; and on the first Friday of exam period in Spring semester.

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Students who fail to fulfill any degree requirement in accordance with the deadlines set out above may not be permitted to continue as candidates for the degree.

New Common Reading Lists

(Continuing students are still operating under the old lists.)


  • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, Eumenides
  • Apollonios, Argonautica Book III
  • Aristophanes, Clouds, Frogs
  • Aristotle, Poetics, Nicomachean Ethics 1
  • Callimachus, Hymns 2, 5, Aetia frgt 1-2 Pfeiffer, Epigrams
  • Demosthenes, Philippics 1-3
  • Euripides, Medea, Bacchae
  • Gorgias, Helen
  • Herodotus, 1
  • Hesiod, Theogony all; Works and Days 1-335
  • Homer, Iliad 1, 6, 9, 16, 18-22, 24; Odyssey 1, 5-12, 18-23
  • Homeric Hymn 5 To Aphrodite
  • Isocrates, Helen, Evagoras
  • Longus, Daphnis and Chloe
  • Lucian, Icaromenippus, Zeus Refuted
  • Lyric Selections as in Campbell ed. Greek Lyric Poetry
  • Lysias, Oration 12
  • Menander, Samia
  • Pindar, Olympian 1, 6; Pythian 1, 2, Nemean 7
  • Plato, Republic II-III, Symposium
  • Plutarch, Life of Pericles
  • Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King
  • Theocritus, Idylls 2,7,11
  • Thucydides, Histories 1.1-22,  2.34-65, 5. 84-115, 6.8-32, 7. 72-87
  • Xenophon, Memorabilia I


  • Apuleius, Cupid and Psyche
  • Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1
  • Catullus, entire
  • Cicero, Pro Archia; Pro Caelio; Catilinarians 1-4; De oratore 1; Somnium Scipionis; Tusculan Disputations 5; Letters (nos. 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 38, 42, 43, 44, 61, 63, 66, 67, 69, 74, 76 in Shackleton-Bailey, ed., Selected Letters)
  • Horace, Odes 1-4; Satires 1.1, 4-6, 9, 10, 2.6; Epodes 1, 16; Epistles 2; Ars Poetica
  • Juvenal, Satires 1, 3, 6, 10
  • Livy, Histories 1, 5, 21
  • Lucan, Pharsalia 1, 7
  • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 1, 3, 4.1058-end, 5.772-1457
  • Martial, Epigrams 2.8, 14, 20, 77, 91, 92; 3.2; 4.30, 67, 72; 6.21, 64; 7.36; 8.55; 9.18; 10.4, 5, 47, 64; 12.15, 18, 31, 57 (= nos. 1-22 in L. and P. Watson, eds., Martial: Select Epigrams (Cambridge)).
  • Ovid, Amores 1; Ars Amatoria 1; Heroides 1; Metamorphoses 1, 8; Tristia 2
  • Petronius, Cena Trimalchionis
  • Plautus, Amphitruo; Bacchides
  • Pliny, Letters (nos. 3, 5, 6, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 38, 40, 47, 48 in Sherwin-White, ed., Selected Letters)
  • Propertius, Elegies 1, 3.1-5, 4
  • Quintilian, Institutio 10.1
  • Sallust, Bellum Catilinae
  • Seneca, Consolatio ad Helviam; Epistles (nos. 5, 7, 18, 77, 88.1-20, 114 in Summers' edition); Apocolocyntosis; Thyestes
  • Statius, Siluae 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.7
  • Tacitus, Histories 1; Annals 4; Agricola; Dialogus de oratoribus
  • Terence, Adelphoe
  • Tibullus, Elegies 1, 2.5
  • Vergil, entire

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  • Contact Info

  • Department of Classics
    1130 Amsterdam Avenue
    617 Hamilton Hall, MC 2861
    New York, NY 10027

  • Phone: (212) 854-3902
    Fax: (212) 854-7856