skip to content

Doctor of Philosophy in Classics

University requirements for the Ph.D. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. There are four specializations within the Classics Ph.D. program: language and literature; classical archaeology; ancient history; and ancient philosophy.

I. Language and Literature—Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Classics with specialization in language and literature must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete 135 units of academic credit or equivalent in study beyond the bachelor's degree at the end of the fourth year.

    This includes:

    1. Greek and Latin survey sequence (CLASSGEN 207-208)
    2. Greek and Latin syntax sequence (CLASSGRK 275A,B and CLASSLAT 275A,B)
    3. semantics of grammar sequence (CLASSGEN 205A,B)
    4. twelve graduate seminars, nine of which must be Classics seminars, and one of the remaining three of which must be outside the department. The other two seminars may be in Classics, from other departments (with the graduate director's approval), and/or directed readings. However, no more than two directed readings can be taken. Classics seminars are generally offered for 4-5 units. In some cases, instructors allow a student to complete a seminar for 4 units without requiring a written paper but with completion of all other requirements.
  2. Examinations:
    1. Students must take Greek and Latin translation exams at the end of each survey sequence (the end of the first and second years). These exams are based on the Greek and Latin reading lists available on the Classics Department web site at: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/classics. Greek and Latin survey courses cover less than half of the material on which the translation exams test, and students need to prepare much of the work on their own. It is possible to take both exams in the same year if the student chooses. However, students are obligated to take the exam in the language which the survey has covered that year. The exam consists of a choice of six of eight passages, and students are allowed three hours. A grade of 'B-' or higher, on every passage, is required to pass. If a student does not attain a 'B-', the exam must be retaken later in the summer before registering for the Autumn Quarter, in order to continue in the program. In order to retake an exam during Summer Quarter, a student must be registered at Stanford at his or her own expense; the department does not cover tuition in these instances. The exam can only be retaken once.
    2. Students must pass modern language translation exams in both German and French; Italian or modern Greek may be substituted in place of French, with consent of the graduate director. Students arrange with the student services officer to take the exam. One modern language exam must be passed by the end of the second year, the other by the end of the third year. These examinations are administered once each quarter.
    3. At the beginning of Autumn Quarter of the third year, students take general examinations in four of the following fields: Greek literature, Latin literature, ancient philosophy, Greek history, and Roman history. Students select the fields in consultation with the graduate director no later than June of the second year of graduate study. Candidates must have taken at least one course at Stanford in each of the chosen fields (in the case of ancient philosophy, a seminar or its equivalent); students need to confer with the professor overseeing the exam. General examinations must be taken by October of the third year.
    4. the University oral examination, which is a defense of the candidate's dissertation
  3. The graduate director assigns a dissertation proposal director to each candidate who has passed the general examination. During the third year, the candidate, in consultation with the dissertation proposal director, prepares a dissertation proposal which is examined by the dissertation proposal defense committee (set up by the dissertation proposal director and consisting of the dissertation proposal director and two other faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department), no later than the end of the first quarter of the fourth year. If the proposal is deemed unsatisfactory, this proposal examination is repeated in the following quarter and must be passed. Subsequently, each candidate, in consultation with the graduate director and the dissertation proposal director, selects a dissertation director who must be a member of the Academic Council. The candidate, the dissertation director, and the graduate committee collaborate to select an appropriate dissertation reading committee. Two of the three members of the reading committee, including the chair, must be members of the Academic Council.
  4. Students are required to undertake the equivalent of four, one quarter courses of teaching under department supervision. This teaching requirement is normally completed during the second and third years of study. Summer teaching does not satisfy this requirement.
  5. A typical program for a graduate student in Classics is as follows. First year: CLASSLAT 275A,B (6 units), CLASSGRK 275A,B (6 units), CLASSGEN 205A,B, Semantics (3 units), either CLASSGEN 207A-C or 208A-C, Literature Survey (offered alternate years; 15 units), and three elective seminars (12-15 units). Second year: either CLASSGEN 207A-C or 208A-C, Literature Survey (offered alternate years; 15 units), five to nine elective seminars (20-45 units), and one to three teaching assistantships (9-27 units). Third year: three to eight elective seminars (12-40 units), one to three teaching assistantships (9-27 units). Fourth year: three quarters of predoctoral dissertation research assistantship (30 units).

II. Classical Archaeology—Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Classics with a specialization in classical archaeology must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete 135 units of academic credit or equivalent in study beyond the bachelor's degree at the end of the candidate's fourth year.

    These must include:

    1. at least three graduate (200) level courses in Latin and/or Greek literature
    2. History of Classical Archaeology (CLASSART 201), to be taken as early as possible in the candidate's Stanford career
    3. the interdepartmental graduate core sequence in archaeology. The Archaeology Center announces the courses which fulfill this requirement. The core sequence currently comprises a seminar in archaeology theory and a course on archaeological methods.
    4. at least one further course outside the Classics department
    5. at least five graduate seminars in classical archaeology
    6. at least three graduate seminars in ancient history
    7. Students may petition to count independent study courses in place of up to two required courses, but no more.
    8. Students who enter the program with only one ancient language at the level needed for graduate study are strongly encouraged to take additional course work to reach graduate (200 and above) level in another language.
    9. Students are urged to enroll in or audit other undergraduate courses that may fill gaps in their undergraduate training.
    10. All students are expected to take part in archaeological fieldwork in the classical world areas.
    11. At least three consecutive quarters of course work must be taken at Stanford.
  2. Examinations:
    1. As soon as students arrive, they must take a diagnostic exam in either Greek or Latin. Depending on performance, students may be required to enroll in undergraduate language classes in that language to improve their skills to the level required for graduate work.
    2. reading examinations in two of the following languages: French, German, Italian, and modern Greek. Candidates may petition to substitute a different modern language for one of these, if their area of specialization requires it. One modern language exam must be passed by the end of the second year, the other by the end of the third year. These examinations are administered once each quarter.
    3. a translation examination from Latin or Greek into English. This examination must be taken either at the end of the first year or at the end of the second year. A grade of 'B-' or higher on every passage is required to pass. If a student does not attain a 'B-,' the exam must be retaken later in the summer before registering for Autumn Quarter, in order to continue in the program. In order to retake an exam during Summer Quarter, a student must be registered at Stanford at his or her own expense; the department does not cover tuition in these instances. The exam can only be retaken once.
    4. general examinations in Greek archaeology and Roman archaeology, and two of the following fields: Greek literature, Latin literature, ancient philosophy, Greek history, Roman history. Candidates select the fields in consultation with the graduate director no later than the first week of Spring Quarter of the second year of graduate study. Candidates must have taken at least one course at Stanford in each of the chosen fields (in the case of ancient philosophy, a seminar or its equivalent). General examinations must be taken by October of the third year.
    5. the University oral examination, which is a defense of the candidate's dissertation
  3. The graduate director assigns a dissertation proposal director to each candidate who has passed the general examination. During the third year, the candidate, in consultation with the dissertation proposal director, prepares a dissertation proposal which is examined by the dissertation proposal defense committee (set up by the dissertation proposal director and consisting of the dissertation proposal director and two other faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department), no later than the end of the first quarter of the fourth year. If the proposal is deemed unsatisfactory, this proposal examination is repeated in the following quarter and must be passed. Subsequently, each candidate, in consultation with the graduate director and the dissertation proposal director, selects a dissertation director who must be a member of the Academic Council. The candidate, the dissertation director, and the graduate committee collaborate to select an appropriate dissertation reading committee. Two of the three members of the reading committee, including the chair, must be members of the Academic Council.
  4. Students are required to undertake the equivalent of four, one quarter courses of teaching under department supervision. This teaching requirement is normally completed during the second and third years of study. Summer teaching does not satisfy this requirement.

III. Ancient History—Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Classics with specialization in ancient history must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete 135 units of academic credit or equivalent in study beyond the bachelor's degree at the end of the fourth year. This includes:
    1. in the Autumn Quarter of the first year, Approaches to History (HISTORY 304), offered in the History department
    2. two proseminars. These introduce students to primary sources of evidence for ancient history that require special training: papyrology, epigraphy, paleography, numismatics, and archaeology. The department should offer one each year, but students may also fulfill this requirement by doing a directed reading, or (with the approval of the ancient history track adviser) by taking a course at another university with which Stanford has an exchange agreement.
    3. three skills courses relevant to the individual student's chosen research approach. For example, a student could take classes in economics, demography, legal history, or anthropology. The skills courses can also be used to learn other ancient or modern languages, either by course work or directed reading. Students need to consult with their advisers and the graduate director.
    4. 10 graduate seminars: These normally have course numbers in the 200s, 300s, or 400s. Most of these are taken in the department, but students may also take seminars outside the department or at another university with which Stanford has an exchange agreement. Approval from the ancient history adviser and the graduate director must be obtained prior to exercising this option. While only two of the ten seminars can be replaced by directed readings, up to three additional seminars may be taken outside the department. This leaves five ancient history seminars that must be chosen from those in the department. Other Classics graduate seminars may be substituted for these ancient history seminars, with approval of the ancient history track adviser.
    5. The range and sequence of other courses to be taken depend on which of the following two options the student selects within the Ancient History track.
      1. Option 1: Students focus more on one language. This requires students to take: the three quarter survey course in either Greek or Latin (CLASSGEN 207A,B,C or CLASSGEN 208 A,B,C); the fifteen-week syntax course in the same language (CLASSGRK 275A,B or CLASSLAT 275A,B); one quarter of the survey course sequence in the other language; and the two quarter Semantics of Grammar sequence (CLASSGEN 205A,B).
      2. Option 2: Students emphasize broader linguistic skills. This requires students to take the three quarter survey sequence in both Greek and Latin (CLASSGEN 207A,B,C and 208A,B,C).
  2. Examinations:
    1. As soon as students arrive, they take diagnostic exams in two areas of ancient history. Choices are: Egyptian, Greek, and Roman history. The test is mainly on narrative history, especially important names, dates, and events. Depending on performance, students may be asked to sit in on the undergraduate history courses and take directed reading or a graduate survey if offered. Reading lists are available upon request.
    2. Students must take the final offered at the end of each quarter of Greek or Latin survey (for Option 1 above) or both Greek and Latin surveys (for Option 2 above). Students must earn a 'B-' or higher on each final to pass.
    3. Students must pass modern language translation exams in both German and French; Italian or modern Greek may be substituted in place of French with consent of the graduate director. One modern language exam must be passed by the end of the second year, the other by the end of the third year. These examinations are administered once each quarter.
    4. Students must pass general exams in two areas in history (Egyptian, Greek, or Roman) and two of the following fields: Greek literature, Latin literature, Greek archaeology, Roman archaeology, or ancient philosophy. Students select the fields in consultation with the graduate director no later than June of their second year of graduate study. Candidates must have taken at least one course at Stanford in each of the chosen fields (in the case of ancient philosophy, a seminar or its equivalent). General examinations must be taken by October of the third year. In preparing for the general examinations, candidates are expected to make full use of relevant secondary material in modern languages. They should therefore plan to satisfy the requirements in French and German as soon as possible, preferably before the translation examinations.
    5. the University oral examination which is a defense of the candidate's dissertation.
  3. The graduate director assigns a dissertation proposal director to each candidate who has passed the general examination. During the third year, the candidate, in consultation with the dissertation proposal director, prepares a dissertation proposal which is examined by the dissertation proposal defense committee (set up by the dissertation proposal director and consisting of the dissertation proposal director and two other faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department), no later than the end of the first quarter of the fourth year. If the proposal is deemed unsatisfactory, this proposal examination is repeated in the following quarter and must be passed. Subsequently, each candidate, in consultation with the graduate director and the dissertation proposal director, selects a dissertation director who must be a member of the Academic Council. The candidate, the dissertation director, and the graduate committee collaborate to select an appropriate dissertation reading committee. Two of the three members of the reading committee, including the chair, must be members of the Academic Council.
  4. Candidates are required to undertake the equivalent of four, one quarter courses of teaching under department supervision. This teaching requirement is normally completed during the second and third years of study. Summer teaching does not satisfy this requirement.

IV. Joint Program in Ancient Philosophy—This specialization is jointly administered by the departments of Classics and Philosophy and is overseen by a joint committee composed of members of both departments. It provides students with the training, specialist skills, and knowledge needed for research and teaching in ancient philosophy while producing scholars who are fully trained as either philosophers or classicists.

Graduate students admitted by the Classics department receive their Ph.D. from the Classics department. This specialization includes training in ancient and modern philosophy. Each student in the program is advised by a committee consisting of one professor from each department.

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Classics with specialization in ancient philosophy must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete 135 units of academic credit or equivalent in study beyond the bachelor's degree at the end of the fourth year. This includes:
    1. all the requirements listed for the language and literature specialization in the graduate program in Classics (see "I" above).
    2. three courses in the Philosophy department (including 100/200 and two courses at the 200 level or higher). These include:
      1. one course in logic which can be fulfilled at the 100 level or higher
      2. one course in aesthetics, ethics, or political philosophy
      3. one course in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, or philosophy of science
    3. at least three courses in ancient philosophy at the 200 level or above, one of which must be in the Philosophy department
    4. all courses taken in the Philosophy department count for seminar credit (i.e., as contributing to the 12 seminar requirement in the Language and Literature track in the Classics department).
  2. Examinations: The requirements are the same as those listed in the language and literature specialization, except that one of the four areas of general examination must be taken in ancient philosophy.
  3. The graduate director assigns a dissertation proposal director to each candidate who has passed the general examination. During the third year, the candidate, in consultation with the dissertation proposal director, prepares a dissertation proposal which is examined by the dissertation proposal defense committee (set up by the dissertation proposal director and consisting of the dissertation proposal director and two other faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department), no later than the end of the first quarter of the fourth year. If the proposal is deemed unsatisfactory, this proposal examination is repeated in the following quarter and must be passed. Subsequently, each candidate, in consultation with the graduate director and the dissertation proposal director, selects a dissertation director who must be a member of the Academic Council. The candidate, the dissertation director, and the graduate committee collaborate to select an appropriate dissertation reading committee. Two of the three members of the reading committee, including the chair, must be members of the Academic Council.
  4. Students are required to undertake the equivalent of four, one quarter courses of teaching under department supervision. This teaching requirement is normally completed during the second and third years of study. Summer teaching does not satisfy this requirement.

PH.D IN CLASSICS IN HUMANITIES

For a description of this program see the "Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities" section of this bulletin.

CLASSICS AND A MINOR FIELD

The Ph.D. in Classics may be combined with a minor in another field, such as anthropology, history, humanities, or classical linguistics. Requirements for the minor field vary, but might be expected to involve about six graduate-level courses in the field and one written examination, plus a portion of the University oral exam (dissertation defense). Such a program is expected to take five years. The department encourages such programs for especially able and well prepared students. See the department Graduate Handbook for more information. The following timetable would be typical for a five-year program:

First Year: course work, almost entirely in Classics. One translation exam taken in June. One or both modern language exams taken.

Second Year: course work, both in Classics and the minor field. Second translation exam completed. French and German exams completed.

Third Year: course work, both in Classics and the minor field. General examinations in Classics.

Fourth Year: remaining course work, both in Classics and the minor field. General examination in the minor field. Preparation for dissertation.

Fifth Year: dissertation, University oral examination.

© Stanford University - Office of the Registrar. 630 Serra Street, Stanford, California 94305. (650) 723-2300Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints