M.A. and Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology (old)

[n.b.: This the old set of program requirements. The new set adopted by the Department of Classics in Spring, 2014 and in force as of Fall, 2014 can be viewed online here.]

Goals of the Program

Study leading through the M.A. to the Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology is intended to ensure that students are fully competent in Greek and Latin and have a good understanding of historical method, as well as a thorough training, including experience in fieldwork, in Greek and Roman archaeology. Degree recipients should be qualified either for a major museum post, or for university teaching up to senior undergraduate level in the ancient languages and in ancient history, and at all levels including graduate instruction in large areas of ancient archaeology and art history.

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M.A. in Classical Archaeology: Requirements


An undergraduate major in Classical Languages or its equivalent is pre-requisite to the M.A.; if an actual Classics B.A. is not in hand, then the equivalent amount of Greek and Latin must have been read. At the time of entrance into the program, strength in one ancient language may be allowed to compensate for some deficiency in the other.

Requirements for the M.A.

The M.A. in Classical Archaeology is offered under Plan I (20 units of coursework and a thesis).

Course requirements. 20 semester units of upper-division coursework (courses numbered 100 or above) or graduate research seminars (courses numbered in the 200's). Of these 20 units at least 8 units must be in graduate research seminars (in Classics, 200-level courses with the exception of 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 245, 250, 260). Although there are no specific courses required for the M.A., courses should be taken with an eye to ultimately using them to meet more specific course requirements of the Ph.D. program (for which, see below).

Master's Thesis requirement. A short dissertation of around 100-150 pages on a topic in Classical Archaeology must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee; the thesis committee, however, may include faculty members outside the Advisory Committee. The topic should be selected in consultation with the Advisory Committee no later than the start of the second year of study.

Modern Language Examination requirement. A student must pass a reading examination in German and either French or Italian. It is a one-hour-fifteen-minute exam of 300 words without a dictionary or 500 words with a dictionary; the passage will be subject matter relevant to Classical Archaeology. The exam is set and graded by the student's Advisory Committee.

Progress toward the degree.

Students should normally take two years to reach the M.A. and will be expected during that time to continue to develop their knowledge of Greek and Latin besides studying archaeology, art history and ancient history.

Advancement to the Ph.D. Program.

Applicants are normally admitted to the M.A. program with the expectation that they will proceed to the Ph.D. in due course; however, permission to proceed into the Ph.D. program is not automatically given. Shortly before or upon completion of the M.A., the student will be reviewed by a committee composed of the faculty in Classical Archaeology, the Graduate Advisor in Classics, and the student's Personal Advisor (who may be one of the aforementioned). The student's course work, written evaluations by instructors, and general promise will be evaluated. Admittance into the Ph.D. program is automatic upon unanimous recommendation of this committee. Should the committee be split or deny admission to the Ph.D. program, and the student wish to appeal its decision, he/she should follow the appeal procedures outlined in the Appeals Procedure document.

Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology: Requirements

Students entering with a B.A. in Classical Languages (or the equivalent, meaning comparable knowledge of Greek and Latin) must first obtain the M.A. in Classical Archaeology. A student holding the M.A. from another institution may be admitted directly into the Berkeley Ph.D. program, if it appears that knowledge in all relevant fields is approximately equivalent to the Berkeley M.A.

Coursework requirement: Classical Archaeology.

12 units in Classical Archaeology or Art History. Of these, at least 6 must be Graduate Research Seminar units (in Classics, courses numbered above 204). The remainder may be in upper division courses (those numbered in the 100's). Courses taken to fulfill this requirement may not be used to fulfill any other requirements. In addition to the above twelve units every student is required to take and satisfy at the 4-unit level Classics 204, the Proseminar in Classical Archaeology. Students should note that this Proseminar will be offered only once every two years.

Language requirements

Modern Language Requirement.

Must be satisfied in two languages, German and either French or Italian. Continuing students will have satisfied one of these for the M.A. Students admitted directly to the Ph.D. program must satisfy both, although the Graduate Advisor in Classical Archaeology may accept as valid a certification for one language achieved in an M.A. program other than Berkeley's. In special cases, with the permission of the Advisory Committee, a student may substitute some other modern language for French or Italian.

The language exam consists of a one-hour-fifteen-minute exam of a passage of 300 words without a dictionary, or 500 words with a dictionary. The passage will be subject matter relevant to Classical Archaeology. The exam is set and graded by the student's Advisory Committee.

Ancient Languages Requirement.

Preparation for Exams: Reading Lists. The student will prepare and submit to the Advisory Committee for approval a list of works he or she has read. The list will be based upon the lists below. The student's exam will be taken from the approved list of readings.

a. The Greek list shall include:

Homer, a total of six books of which two must be from the Iliad and two from the Odyssey;
Aeschylus, one play;
Sophocles, one play;
Euripides, one play;
Aristophanes, one play;
Herodotus, Book 1, plus one other book;
Thucydides, Book 1, plus two other books;
Plato, Apology, Republic 1;
Demosthenes, De corona;
[Aristotle], Athenaiôn Politeia;

A minimum of an additional 100 Oxford Classical Text pages to be chosen by the student together with the Advisory Committee at the time when the elective plays and books listed above are chosen.

b. The Latin list shall include:

Terence, one play;
Plautus, one play;
Caesar, De bello civili 1;
Sallust, Catilina;
Cicero, Pro Caelio, Epist. ad Atticum 1;
Vergil, Aeneid (six books);
Horace, Odes (one book);
Ovid, Metamorphoses or Amores (one book);
Livy, Books 5, 21, 22;
Tacitus, Annales Books 1, 12-15, Agricola, Germania;
Juvenal, 1, 3, 10;
Petronius, Cena Trimalchionis

A minimum of an additional 100 Oxford Classical Text pages to be chosen by the student together with the Advisory Committee at the time when the elective plays and books listed above are chosen.

c. The exams. The student will be examined in ancient Greek and Latin by a three-hour written exam in each language; four passages will be selected from the student's approved list of readings. The selections, normally two prose and two verse, will each approximate 20-25 lines (prose) or 20 lines (verse) of an Oxford Classical Text page. The exam is set by an examiner chosen by the Graduate Advisor in Classical Archaeology who is a member of the Classics Department, outside the field of Classical Archaeology; the exam must also be approved by the Graduate Advisor in Classical Archaeology. The exam shall be graded by the examiner and at least two members of the student's Advisory Committee.

Ancient History Requirement.

I. Description. The purpose of this requirement is to enable the student to relate the material he or she is studying to its historical background. It is met by coursework or examination in Greek and Roman History.

II. Coursework Requirement. Historical seminar. One graduate seminar in the History Department, the AHMA, or the Classics Department (provided the Advisory Committee approves the course topic and research paper as sufficiently historical in nature). Upon consultation with the Advisory Committee, a seminar in an auxiliary discipline (epigraphy, papyrology, numismatics) may also be used if a research paper is completed on a project which uses historical methodology on an historical problem. Courses in Classical Archaeology and Art History may not be used to fulfill this requirement. Final grade of at least A- required.

III. Competency Requirement. A student must obtain sufficient knowledge of Greek and Roman history to supply a firm historical background to the study of Classical Archaeology. Either coursework or exams will satisfy this requirement.

a. Greek History requirement may be satisfied either by taking two suitable courses in Greek History or by taking a three-hour exam in Greek History.

b. Roman History requirement may be satisfied either by taking two suitable courses in Roman History or by taking a three-hour exam in Roman History. Courses considered suitable include upper division classes and graduate research seminars in Classics, the History Department, or AHMA. The historical seminar referred to in Part II, above, may also fulfill one of these course requirements. The Advisory Committee will consult in advance with the professor teaching the course to determine its suitability for fulfilling the requirement. Classics courses in historical authors may also be counted as fulfilling the requirement in either Greek or Roman history, if the professor teaching the class approves beforehand.

c. The exams will be essay format in three parts, each with four options. The Advisory Committee will set and grade the exam(s); the student should consult the Committee about preparation.

d. The student need not choose the same method of fulfilling the requirement for both fields; she or he may do the exam in one and coursework in the other.

General Examination.

Content and Format. This exam demonstrates the student's ability to analyze and synthesize material from a wide range of archaeology from Greek prehistory to the later Roman imperial period. It is a three-hour written exam made up of three to five parts, each with three to five essay questions on Greek and Roman antiquities. The student is not expected to show equal proficiency in all fields but is expected to display competence in different time periods and genres. The exam is set and graded by the student's Advisory Committee, who shall offer advice on how best to prepare.

Scheduling. The Generals should be taken within the same semester during which all the previous requirements have been fulfilled.

Research Papers.

These papers represent the student's best work in archaeology and art history. They are to be on three different topics and may be reports submitted for courses, with such additions as are necessary. They may also be the result of independent study. The student must show in these papers a high ability to organize and interpret evidence, and to present his or her results intelligibly. All three papers must be approved by the orals examining committee before the oral exam may be scheduled.

Oral Qualifying Examination.

Three-hour oral examination, given by a committee of five members. The orals committee will be selected by the student in consultation with the Graduate Advisor. It is the student's responsibility to solicit orals committee members and to keep them informed about plans for the orals examination. During the exam, the student will be questioned chiefly, but not exclusively, on points raised by his or her written examination. The chair and outside member of the Qualifying Examination must be members of the Academic Senate.

Field Work-Foreign Study.

Students are encouraged to travel and to take part in excavations. At an appropriate point in his or her academic career, the student shall (if possible) spend at least one year as a regular student of either the American Academy in Rome or the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, or at some other approved institute abroad. If this is impossible, the committee shall direct the student to a suitable program of work abroad.

Advancement to Candidacy.

After passing the oral qualifying exam, and submitting the required forms to the Graduate Division, the student is formally Advanced to Candidacy and is awarded the degree of "Candidate in Philosophy" (C.Phil.) while working on his or her dissertation.


A dissertation must be completed. A description of the research, reports to the committee, etc., for the dissertation in Classical Archaeology is available from the Classics Department. The dissertation committee members are selected by the student in consultation with the Graduate Advisor. The chair and outside member of the dissertation committee must be members of the Academic Senate. For University Regulations on format, etc., ask the Graduate Division for a copy of their booklet, "Guidelines for Preparing a Doctoral Dissertation or Master's Thesis."

Progress toward the degree.

From the M.A. to advancement to doctoral candidacy should take two to three years; the dissertation will normally take 2 years to write.


In the year immediately following the M.A. (if that degree is taken at Berkeley) or during the first 2-3 years of Ph.D. study (if the M.A. is earned elsewhere), the student is guaranteed at least one year's employment as a Graduate Student Instructor.