Emphasis in Latin Philology

Matter in this section pertains only to those students emphasizing Latin 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.
  • Qualifying Exam in Latin Literature.
  • 24 units of LAT 500-589, including LAT 580.
  • 3 additional units of CLAS or GRK 5xx.
  • Comprehensive Exam in 1) Latin AP Required Readings, 2) Classical Literature Special Topics, 3) Latin Translation, and 4) Ancient History
  • 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 596A, a student must have demonstrated reading proficiency in a modern foreign language, following the procedures specified below. Students in the Latin Philology emphasis may substitute 3 units of CLAS 596A for 3 units of LAT 500-589 if significant amounts of 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 Latin (1.5 hours) literature.  Using a standard history (e.g. Conte, Roman Literature: A History) students will study the terms from Appendix G. This exam will be structured as follows: 

  • Part I: 8 out of 12 short identifications chosen from the Greek and Latin General lists in Appendix G (1 hour);

  • Part II: two 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, 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 Latin 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 Latin 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.

  • At that time students will consult with the Director of Graduate Studies regarding their choice of five topics for the part of the Comprehensive Examination in Latin literature. The topics are to be chosen from the list of general topics in Latin literature. Students must choose topics from at least three of the five chronological periods represented on each of the Greek and Latin literature topics lists.
  • 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 the Latin literature 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.
  • In preparing for the AP (Advanced Placement) section of the exam students must develop intimate knowledge of the AP Required Readings in Latin. In addition to acquiring full and detailed understanding of the Latin, students are expected to have read secondary scholarship and the relevant sections of commentaries on this list. Students will also need to demonstrate mastery of the rhetorical and grammatical figures on this list.

Components of the Comprehensive Examination

  1. 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.
  2. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to Special Topics in Classical Literature, with all five topics coming from Latin literature.  Students will study the primary and secondary literature associated with these Special Topics from 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).
  3. One part of the Comprehensive Examination will be devoted to the Latin texts required for the AP Exam. Students will be given six passages (three poetry, three prose) from the current AP Latin reading list for translation and close analysis, i.e.: (1) translation of the passage; (2) commentary on the passage’s thematic relation to the work as a whole, its stylistic features, and/or its literary, cultural, historical significance; (3) specific questions on rhetorical figures, tropes, and complex grammar.
  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

The parts 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.