Emphasis in Classical Archaeology

Matter in this section pertains only to those students emphasizing Classical Archaeology.

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, historiographical and pedagogical methods.
  • 6 units of CLAS 596the Classics graduate seminar.
  • 21 units from CLAS 5XX Greek, Roman, or Egyptian archaeology courses, up to 9 of which units may be substituted with graduate courses in related fields, with approval of Director of Graduate Studies. 
  • No more than 3 units of graduate-level independent study credit may be counted toward the degree.
  • 3 units (but no more than 3 units) of CLAS 910, thesis writing, must be counted toward the basic 33 units.

Before enrolling in CLAS 596, a student 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.

CLAS 340A-B Requirements
All students who have not taken CLAS 340A and 340B at the University of Arizona must do so for a grade (i.e., they may not audit the courses or take them pass/fail) during the first year of graduate residency. Students who enter the program with extensive prior background in these areas may be exempted from this requirement, with the written permission of the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the archaeology faculty. CLAS 340A and 340B may not be taken for graduate credit.

A student need not select a minor field (see Basic Requirements No. 3 above in this section).

If students do not select a minor, then they must choose a primary area of interest in either Greek, Roman or Egyptian archaeology. A secondary interest will be chosen from Greek, Roman or Egyptian Archaeology, Greek or Latin Philology, Near Eastern Studies, Anthropology, History, Art History, Museum Studies, Geosciences, Material Sciences, or other related fields approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the archaeology faculty. All GRK or LAT 5xx courses may be used as electives. This area of secondary interest is defined as a specific area of specialization separate from the candidate's major area of interest and requires a minimum of 9 units of 5xx level course work.

GRK and LAT (Classical Language) Requirements
Students concentrating in Classical Archaeology must demonstrate 5xx-level competency in one ancient language, either Greek or Latin, by passing a course at the 5xx level with a B or higher. For the other ancient language, they must pass a course at the 4xx level (i.e. LAT 401 or higher/GRK 402 or higher) with a B or higher. Students with insufficient training in the languages must enroll, as required in writing at the time of admission, in GRK/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

Students are required to demonstrate their familiarity with key monuments of Classical Archaeology by taking a written Qualifying Examination (3 hours). The examinations will be given once each semester, in the sixth week. Exams will be administered in the fall and spring semesters only, not at any time during the summer.

The Qualifying Examination consists of 30 images: 8 Aegean Bronze Age + 2 pairs of comparisons; 8 Greek (Dark Age through Late Hellenistic) + 2 pairs of comparisons; 8 Italian (Early Iron Age through Late Roman) + 2 pairs of comparisons.  In their answers students must provide details such as the name of the monument, the date, the artist (if applicable), the find-spot (if known), the current location (where pertinent), and they are to discuss the significance of the artifact or feature on the slide. For the reading list associated with the exam, click here

Grading of the Qualifying Examination
A score of 85% is required to pass. Two archaeology faculty members will grade the examinations; in the event of a disagreement about an examination, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third archaeology faculty member to arbitrate. The exam will be graded and the result 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 in the Classical Archaeology emphasis for graduate credit. 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. A basic reading list for the examination is attached to this document as Appendix E.

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 three parts and is administered over a period of three 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 Archaeology exams at the same time, all common Ancient History 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 the Comprehensive Examination is to be taken, but no later than the end of the first week of the examination semester. Students in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies will determine the emphases of the examination.

  • At the same time students will also submit to the archaeology faculty member(s) administering the exam a list of the courses which they have taken that are relevant to the exam, including the titles of all papers they wrote for these courses.
  • Upon consultation with the student, the faculty member(s) will determine a list of ten broadly defined topics to be studied in preparation for each part of the exam in Greek and Roman archaeology. The faculty member(s) administering the exam will provide students and the Director of Graduate Studies with lists of the two sets of ten agreed upon topics, preferably in the semester before the Comprehensive Examination is to be taken, but no later than the end of the first week of the examination semester.
  1. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Greek archaeology (3 hours). As this part of the exam normally will cover all areas of Greek archaeology (i.e., prehistoric through Hellenistic), students are strongly advised to take a broad range of graduate courses. The part of the Comprehensive Examination in Greek archaeology will consist of eight essay questions based on the ten prepared topics; students will choose to write on any six of these. The essays should include, if applicable, references to relevant primary (author and work) and secondary (author, date, title of work) sources.
  2. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Roman archaeology (3 hours). As this part of the exam normally will cover all areas of Roman archaeology (i.e., Etruscan through late antique), students are strongly advised to take a broad range of graduate courses. The part of the Comprehensive Examination in Roman archaeology will consist of eight essay questions based on the ten prepared topics; students will choose to write on any six of these. The essays should include, if applicable, references to relevant primary (author and work) and secondary (author, date, title of work) sources.
  3. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to ancient history (3 hours). The ancient history component of the exam will be based on the syllabus exactly as given in Appendix H.

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

High Pass: 90-100%.

Pass: 75-89%.

Fail: Below 75%.

The parts of the Comprehensive Examination in Greek and Roman archaeology will be graded by two archaeology faculty members. In the case of a disagreement about the exam, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third faculty member to arbitrate. Two Classics faculty members will grade the common exam in ancient history; in the event of a disagreement about an examination, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third faculty member to arbitrate. The Comprehensive Examination will be graded and the results 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.