To successfully complete a MA or PhD in Classical Studies, students must take and pass specific comprehensive and/or qualifying exams. All examinations are written. However, at the student’s request and with the approval of the student’s advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, the history of literature and special author/topic exams may be taken as oral examinations.

Examination Requirements

Comprehensive Examinations for MA students

  • One Modern Foreign Language (or one semester of LF 621 Reading French/LG 621 Reading German)
  • Greek or Latin translation
  • History of Greek or Latin Literature

Qualifying Examinations for PhD students

  • Modern Foreign Language: German
  • Modern Foreign Language: French
  • Greek Translation
  • History of Greek Literature
  • Latin Translation
  • History of Latin Literature
  • Special Author or Topic

Since the Translation and History of Literature exams for the MA and PhD differ in degree of difficulty, students who are candidates for both degrees must pass both the comprehensive and the qualifying versions of those exams.

Students are urged to take the modern language exam(s) early in the course of studies, since reading in modern language(s) is a prerequisite for scholarly research in Classical Studies. A MA student is expected to pass the modern foreign language examination in the first two semesters of graduate school. A PhD student is expected to have passed both modern foreign language exams by the end of the fourth semester. Normally students will finish translation and history of literature examinations before taking a special author or topic exam. After three failures to pass an examination a student’s status in the program will be reviewed.

Students must sign-up for scheduled exams. The deadline for sign-up is two weeks prior to the exam.

Each exam is made and corrected by two faculty members. In case of a discrepancy regarding a student’s performance, a third faculty member will be designated to evaluate the exam. Exams are usually graded within two weeks of the exam date. After the test has been graded, the Director of Graduate Studies will notify, in writing, the exam results to the student. A copy of this written notification and a copy of the test will be placed in each student’s examination file. The student can review the actual test and comments made by the graders. When a student has finished all the course-work and examinations required for a MA/PhD degree, the department will record the test results on a Graduate Examination Form to send to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.