The M.A. Program in Classics (Pre-2011)

Note: The requirements have been updated. Please see the 2011 revision.

The Master of Arts degree in Classics, a Plan II degree (24 units and a comprehensive examination), is taken with either Greek or Latin emphasis. Students are expected to have completed before admission at least the equivalent of the undergraduate major in Classical Languages and are strongly urged to supplement these minimum requirements with two or three additional senior reading courses in Greek or Latin and with courses in Advanced Prose Composition. It is also recommended that students acquire an adequate reading knowledge of German and/or French or Italian before admission if possible.


1. Unit and course requirements: 24 units distributed as follows:

a. (4 units) either the Proseminar (Classics 200) or Approaches to Literature (Classics 203). Exemption from this requirement may be authorized by the Graduate Advisor (GA) only when a student has taken a course equivalent to either Classics 200 or Classics 203 elsewhere. If exemption is granted, then 4 additional units are required under 1b or 1c.

b. (4 units) a seminar in the Classics Department, in a Greek subject for the Greek emphasis or in a Latin subject for the Latin emphasis.

c. (4 units) an additional seminar in Classics or a closely-related field.

d. 12 units in upper division courses in Greek, Latin, or closely-related fields or in graduate courses in Classics or in closely-related fields.

NOTES: (1) "Graduate course" includes all courses numbered in the 200-series; "seminar" includes graduate courses other than those numbered 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 250, 260, 298, 299. Courses in the 300-series do not count as "graduate courses" or "seminars" for the purposes of these requirements. (2) Students planning to continue toward the Ph.D. should note that Classics 200 and Classics 203 are both required for that degree (see Ph.D. regulations 5j), and it is recommended that these courses be taken as early in one's graduate career as possible.

2. Demonstration of competence in specific disciplines

(i) Translation, literature, and history:

EITHER for the Greek emphasis:

a. Greek translation (2 passages of verse, each of 20-25 lines, and 2 passages of prose, each of 20-25 full lines): 3-hour exam.

b. Greek literature: 3-hour exam.

c. Greek history: 3-hour exam.

OR for the Latin emphasis:

a. Latin translation (2 passages of verse, each of 20-25 lines, and 2 passages of prose, each of 20-25 full lines): 3-hour exam.

b. Latin literature: 3-hour exam.

c. Roman history: 3-hour exam.

1. The comprehensive examination consists of the set of exams in translation, literature, and history. In the interest of rapid progress through the program, students may take individual exams as soon as they feel ready to do so. In the event that any of the exams are failed only the failed exams have to be retaken. At the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to complete the last of these exams (or equivalent coursework), the student must file an application for advancement to candidacy for the M.A. with the Graduate Division.

2. Substitution of coursework: any student may satisfy the M.A. requirement in history by coursework substitution, namely by taking two seminars in Greek history (for the M.A. with Greek emphasis) or two seminars in Roman history (for the M.A. with Latin emphasis) given in the Classics Department or (with approval of the GA) the History Department, submitting research reports on historical topics, and earning a grade of at least A- in each. Where the emphasis of the seminar is ambiguous the course must be approved for substitution by the GA in consultation with the instructor. In satisfaction of these requirements one semester of History 105 (Ancient Greece) may be taken in place of one Greek history seminar and one semester of History 106 (Ancient Rome) may be taken in place of one Roman history seminar provided the approval of the GA is secured beforehand.

(ii) Composition: Competence must be demonstrated either

1. by passing a take-home exam in prose composition in Greek (for the M.A.with Greek emphasis) or in Latin (for the M.A. with Latin emphasis), with a proficiency equivalent to the standard of the grade B (composition exams are administered by the Ph.D. committee), or

2. by completing with at least a grade of B Classics 250 or 260 (250 for the M.A. with Greek emphasis, 260 for the M.A. with Latin emphasis).

(iii) German or French or Italian:

1-hour-fifteen-minute exam to test reading ability (a passage of 500 words with the use of a dictionary or of 300 words without a dictionary). This exam must be attempted by the end of the third semester in the M.A. program and if not passed at that time must be repeated in every subsequent semester until passed. (It is strongly recommended that students who enter the program without knowledge of any of the three languages attempt to achieve competency in German first.) See also Note 1 under §2(i) above.

3. Timing and Review

a. The M.A. requirements in coursework should normally be fulfilled by the end of the second year. The M.A. exams will normally be attempted at that time (or before) and must be attempted by the end of the third year.

b. Reviews. Provisions for review of students at regular intervals during their M.A. program are described in the document "Evaluation of Progress of Classics Graduate Students."

4. The Personal Advisor.

Each student will have a Personal Advisor, that is, a member of the faculty to whom the student can turn for help and advice concerning the course of study, general reading, development of research interests etc. The student will meet with his/her PA at the beginning and end of each semester and a note recording that these meetings have taken place will be appended to the student's file.

New students will be advised initially by the GA, but immediately upon a student's entrance the GA will assign a temporary PA. After the student has had the opportunity to become acquainted with members of the faculty (ideally by the beginning of the second semester in the program, and in any case by the end thereof), he/she will choose a more permanent PA in consultation with the GA.

The GA may serve as PA. A student may change Advisor at any time (this may in any case be necessitated by faculty leaves or induced by the student's advancement in the program or some change of interest).

The PA will attend (in a non-voting capacity unless already a member of the Committee) any formal review of the student by the M.A. Committee. The PA will have some obligation to represent the student's best interests and point of view at these meetings (though the extent and nature of advocacy on behalf of the advisee will naturally vary with the circumstances).

5. Advancement to the Ph.D.

Admission to the M.A. program does not guarantee advancement to the Ph.D. program (see Ph.D. regulations 1b.). A student who earns an M.A. with Greek or Latin emphasis cannot be advanced to the Ph.D. program unless competence has been demonstrated in the non-emphasized language at least equivalent to that required to complete the undergraduate major in Classical Languages. The student has the right to demonstrate such competence by taking an exam (e.g. the M.A. translation exam in the non-emphasized language).