Emphasis in Classical Philology

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

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.
  • 12 units of GRK 500-589.
  • 12 units of LAT 500-589.
  • 3 units of additional graduate-level in CLAS, GRK, or LAT 5xx courses.
  • 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. Students in the Classical Philology emphasis may substitute 3 units of CLAS 596 for 3 units of either GRK 500-589 or LAT 500-589 if significant amounts of Greek and/or Latin texts are read in the seminar. Students wishing to do so must submit a petition briefly stating their intent, along with a course syllabus, to the Classics Department Curriculum Committee before the end of the first week of the semester for approval.

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

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

The Qualifying Examination will be devoted to general knowledge of Greek (1.5 hours) and Latin (1.5 hours) literature.  Using a standard history (e.g. A. Lesky, History of Greek Literature and Conte, Roman Literature: A History) students will study the terms from Appendix G. This exam will be structured as follows: 

  • Part I: 16 out of 24 short identifications chosen from the Greek and Latin General lists in Appendix G (1 hour);

  • Part II: four essays (30 minutes each) based on general and broad questions covering, e.g., genre, period, etc.

The examination 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.

Grading of the Qualifying Examination

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

If failed, either part of 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 target language for graduate credit in the Classical Philology 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 translation 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 it 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.

  • 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 should be conversant with the primary texts central to their topic, especially those works on the Classical Philology Comprehensive Examination Reading List. A basic bibliography of secondary readings is provided for each topic. Students are expected to be conversant with the works listed in the bibliographies, and are also encouraged to do further secondary reading as their interests dictate. Students must supply the Director of Graduate Studies with a final list of topics for each part of the 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.

Components of the Comprehensive Examination

  1. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Greek translation, and is based entirely on the Reading List in Appendix F. Each part of the examination will include four selections to be translated, two of poetry and two of prose. Students may use a dictionary.
  2. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Latin translation, and is based entirely on the Reading List in Appendix F. Each part of the examination will include four selections to be translated, two of poetry and two of prose. Students may use a dictionary.
  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 ancient history (3 hours). The ancient history exam component 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: 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

All portions of the Comprehensive Examination will be graded by two Classics faculty members. In the case of a disagreement about an exam, the Director of Graduate Studies will ask a third philology faculty member to arbitrate. The exam 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.