Doctor of Philosophy in Classics

CU Classics offers the Ph.D. in Classical Languages and Literature; we therefore stress mastery of the ancient languages, but students also will have the opportunity to draw on the expertise of the CU Classics faculty in a wide range of specializations. After proficiency in the languages has been established, starting with the M.A. years, we expect students to pursue independent scholarly research projects in seminars, culminating with the dissertation.

Our offerings include courses on the major ancient authors and genres, Greek and Latin prose composition, and advanced seminars on special topics. The department also has special strengths in ancient historiography, late antiquity, philosophy, and Greek and Roman archaeology.

Entrance Requirements

A B.A. or  M.A. in Classics or closely related field, either from the University of Colorado or from another accredited university, is required for direct admission to the Ph.D. program.  Students who were admitted to the M.A. program and who receive an M.A. from our department may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program.  Students who wish to apply to the Ph.D. program after completing an M.A. in our department are strongly encouraged to first pass one of the Greek or Latin examinations for the Ph.D. within the first two years of M.A. study.  All candidates for admission to the Ph.D. program must demonstrate ability in the other language either by examination or advanced course work.  The Ph.D. should normally be compled within five years.  Candidates who have not completed the Ph.D. within five years of the M.A. must petition for permission to continue in the program.

Residence Requirements

At least six semesters in residence beyond the attainment of a Baccalaureate Degree are required for the Ph.D., though two semesters of residence credit may be transferred from a Master's Degree from another institution.

Transfer of Credit

No more than 21 semester hours of coursework from another institution may be transferred toward the Ph.D. Credit will not be transferred until the student has established a satisfactory record of at least one semester of graduate study in residence.

Course Requirements and Examinations

  1. A minimum of 42 hours of coursework at the 5000-level or above (excluding thesis and accelerated courses). Course work completed in the M.A. program at the University of Colorado, or up to 21 hours of graduate credit transferred from another institution, may be applied toward this requirement. Courses should be distributed as follows:
    1. 4 7000-level graduate seminars (at least one each in Greek and Latin).
    2. 2 courses in Ancient History and/or Classical Archaeology.
    3. 1 course in either Greek or Latin Prose Composition.
    4. 2 courses in special fields such as Epigraphy, Law, Linguistics, Literary Theory, Medieval Studies, Palaeography, Papyrology, Philosophy, or Religion, as approved by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.
  2. A minimum of 30 hours of doctoral dissertation credit with no more than 10 of these hours in any one semester. No more than 10 dissertation hours may be taken preceding the semester of taking the Oral Comprehensive Examination. Up to 10 hours may be taken during the semester in which the student passes the comprehensive examination.
  3. A reading knowledge of German and one other modern foreign language (normally Italian or French) is required. Proficiency is tested by a one-hour written translation test using a dictionary. Students may take a Foreign Language Exam at any time by arrangement with the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies. Students are encouraged to pass both modern language exams by the end of the second semester in the Ph.D. program.
  4. Preliminary Examinations in Greek and Latin. Two written examinations of four hours each, each consisting of translation and analysis of texts. The translation portion of each exam will consist of two out of three prose passages and two out of three verse passages for a total of c. 100 lines. All passages will be drawn from the PhD reading list. Each written examination will be followed by a one-hour oral examination that covers the range of Greek or Latin literature represented by the reading list and tests the candidate's general knowledge of the primary sources and literary history. There will be two adminstrations of each exam per year, in the fall and spring. Students are encouraged to pass both exams by the end of the second semester in the Ph.D. program (or the second semester beyond the M.A.). 
  5. Comprehensive Examination. Two written examinations of three hours each on two topics or authors chosen in consultation with faculty members selected by the student and approved by the Graduate Committee, to be chosen from the following broad areas: language and literature, ancient history, archaeology, or religion. In selecting the topics for these examinations, students are required to demonstrate balance in the fields of Greek and Roman culture, as determined by the Graduate Committee. The written Comprehensive Examinations will be administered twice per year.  Successful completion of the written examination is followed by a two-hour oral exam on Greek and Roman culture within the area of the student's chosen specialization, which should coincide with the student's intended dissertaion topic.  Students are encouraged to complete these exams by the end of their fourth semester in the Ph.D. program.
  6. Dissertation Prospectus: To be approved, as described in the Ph.D Requirements, preferably by the end of the fifth semester in the Ph.D. program.
  7. Dissertation: To be completed by the end of the tenth semester in the Ph.D. program.
  8. Final Examination (upon submission of dissertation): Two hours of oral defense of the Dissertation.

Outline of progress through Ph.D. program

  • Year one: pass all modern and ancient language exams
  • Year two: pass comprehensive exams
  • Year three: write dissertation prospectus (fall), write dissertation (spring)
  • Year four: write dissertation
  • Year five: finish and defend dissertation