Emphasis in Ancient History

Matter in this section pertains only to those students emphasizing Ancient History.

Basic Requirements

The degree requires 33 units of graduate-level work, distributed as follows:

  • All entering graduate students must enroll in CLAS 510A, 3 units, the basic proseminar in philological, archaeological, and pedagogical methods.
  • Students must demonstrate graduate level proficiency in one classical language (Greek or Latin), and upper-level undergraduate proficiency in the other.
  • 9 units must be taken from GRK or LAT courses at the 5xx level, 3 units of which must be from GRK 530 (Greek Historians) or LAT 526 (Roman Historians).  (If a student does not complete GRK 530 or LAT 526 at the graduate level, the student must complete this course at the 400 (undergraduate) level (or demonstrate completion of an equivalent course at another institution)).
  • 12 units of CLAS/HIST/GRK or LAT courses at the 5xx level, determined with the individual student’s faculty advisor.
  • 3 units of HIST 695F (Ancient History), HIST 695K (Historiography), or equivalent HIST graduate course.
  • 3 units of CLAS 514 (Classical Historiography - Greek and Roman Historians) or equivalent.
  • No more than 3 units of graduate-level independent study credit may be counted toward the degree.
  • 3 units-and no more than 3 units-of CLAS 910, thesis writing, must be counted toward the basic 33 units.

Before enrolling in CLAS 596, students must have demonstrated reading proficiency in a modern foreign language, following the procedures specified below.

Before earning permission to undertake the M.A. thesis, students must pass the Modern Language, Qualifying, and Comprehensive Examinations.

GRK and LAT (Classical Language) Requirements

Students concentrating in Ancient History must demonstrate 5xx-level competency in one ancient language by earning a B or higher in either GRK 530 (Greek Historians) or LAT 526 (Roman Historians), or in an approved equivalent. They must also demonstrate 4xx competency in the other language by receiving a B or higher in a LAT 4xx or GRK 4xx. Students with insufficient training in the languages must enroll, as required in writing at the time of admission, in GRK or LAT 1xx or 2xx or LAT 400, and earn a grade of B or higher. They may not audit these courses or take them pass/fail.

Modern Language

Students in all five emphases must demonstrate reading proficiency in French, German, or Italian. Modern language examinations are administered by the department at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, and at the end of the spring semester, according to a uniform format: students must translate a passage from a scholarly work in the field of classical studies within one hour. Dictionaries are allowed.

Students may satisfy this requirement by completing German 500 with a grade of B or higher (and thus need not take the departmental exam). Students who do not fulfill the modern language examination requirement by the end of their second semester of graduate residence will not be allowed to continue in the program until the requirement is fulfilled, and will be ineligible for financial aid or any other form of departmental support.

Qualifying Examination

For the Qualifying Examination in Greek and Roman History, see Appendix H. The examination will be given once each semester, in the sixth week. It will be administered only in the fall and spring semesters, not at any time during the summer.

Grading of the Qualifying Examination

Grading is on the basis of High Pass, Pass, and No Pass. Two Classics faculty will grade the examination; in the event of a disagreement about the examination, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third faculty member to arbitrate.  The exam will be graded and the results reported to students within two weeks of the examination date.

If failed, the exam may be retaken in the sixth week of the following semester. Students may take the Qualifying Examination up to three times, and they must pass the examination by their third semester of residence after they have begun taking courses for graduate credit in the Ancient History emphasis. Students who do not pass the Qualifying Exam within the prescribed timeline may not continue in the M.A. program in their chosen emphasis. Upon petition, and approval by the voting faculty, they may continue in the M.A. program in a different emphasis. 

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination battery is taken after the Qualifying Examination has been passed. The timing for taking the Comprehensive Examination should be determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty in the student's field of study.  It is administered only in the fall and spring semesters, not at any time during the summer. Students must have previously passed the Modern Language and Qualifying Examinations in order to attempt the Comprehensive Examination.

It is the student's responsibility, prior to taking the Comprehensive Examination, to fully complete a Master's Degree Program Plan of Study form, and to submit it to the Graduate College (online). 

The Comprehensive Examination consists of four parts and is administered over a period of four successive days, during sessions of three hours each. All examinations of the same type will be scheduled at the same time; i.e., all Greek History exams at the same time, all translation exams at the same time, etc. No separate times will be scheduled for individual exams.

Students should inform the Director of Graduate Studies of their intention to take the Comprehensive Examination, preferably in the semester before it is to be taken, but no later than the end of the first week of the examination semester.

  • At that time, students in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies will choose five topics for each part of the Comprehensive Examination in Greek and Roman history from the list of general topics in Greek and Roman history. Students must choose topics from at least three different chronological periods (of the five periods of Greek and Roman history). They must submit their list of topics to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval before the end of the first week of the examination semester. 
  • Students should be conversant with the primary texts central to each of their topics. A basic bibliography of secondary readings is provided for each topic. Students are expected to be conversant with the works listed in the bibliographies for their topics, and are also encouraged to do further secondary reading as their interests dictate. The complete lists of topics and associated bibliographies can be found in Appendix I.   
  • Students must also inform the Director of Graduate Studies of their choice for the third component of the Comprehensive Examination (see No. 3 immediately below) and follow the relevant procedure to prepare for that component of the Comprehensive Exam no later than the end of the first week of the examination semester.
  • Students must also inform the Director of Graduate Studies of their choice to take EITHER the Greek OR Latin translation exam no later than the end of the first week of the examination semester.

Components of Comprehensive Examamination

  1. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Greek history (3 hours) and will address the students’ chosen topics. Using a general history (e.g. I. Morris and B. Powell, The Greeks: History, Culture, and Society) and studying the primary and secondary literature associated with the individual topics chosen, students will prepare the five topics. This part of the exam will include four questions based on the five prepared topics; students will choose to write on any three of these (c. 1 hr. each).

  2. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Roman history (3 hours) and will address the students’ chosen topics. Using a general history (e.g. M. Le Glay et al., A History of Rome, 4th ed.) and studying the primary and secondary literature associated with the individual topics chosen, students will prepare the five topics. This part of the exam will include four questions based on the five prepared topics; students will choose to write on any three of these (c. 1 hr. each).

  3. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Special Topics in Classical Literature, with at least two of five topics coming from each language.  Students will study the primary and secondary literature associated with these Special Topics from both Greek and Latin literature.  This part of the exam will include four questions based on the five prepared topics; students will choose to write on any three of these (c. 1 hr. each).

  4. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to translation, either of Greek or Latin texts, and is based entirely on the Reading List in Appendix F. The examination will include four selections to be translated, two of poetry and two of prose. Students may use a dictionary.

Grading of the Comprehensive Examination

Grading is on the basis of High Pass, Pass, and No Pass.

High Pass: A superior response on at least 2 of 3 individual parts of the Comprehensive Exam

Pass: An overall satisfactory response

No Pass: Falls below minimum expectations

The Greek and Roman history components of the exam will be graded by two faculty members, one of whom may be from the Department of History. In the case of a disagreement about an exam, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third faculty member to arbitrate. The third and fourth parts of the exam will be graded by Classics faculty, as appropriate; in the event of a disagreement about an exam, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third faculty member to arbitrate. The Comprehensive Examination will be graded and the result reported to students within two weeks of the examination date.

Students must obtain at least a "Pass" in each section of the Comprehensive Examination. Failure to pass one part of the exam will necessitate the retaking of the entire Comprehensive Examination in the sixth week of the following semester. A second failure on any part of the Comprehensive Examination will result in the student's termination from the graduate program. Students retaking the Comprehensive Exam are not eligible to receive a grade of “High Pass” on the exam battery.