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*Classics is currently not accepting graduate applications.

The Department of Classics offers the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy.

The graduate program in classics sponsors two programs:

Classics and an area of concentration in classics, philosophy, and ancient science.

Contact Information

Graduate Advisor: D. Mark Possanza
Main Office: 1518 Cathedral of Learning
Fax: 412-624-4419

Additional information concerning the department’s graduate program may be obtained from the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Classics, Graduate Advisor, 1518 CL, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Phone: 412-624-4493. Fax: 412-624-4419. E-mail:


To be considered for admission to the graduate program in classics in the next fall term and for financial assistance, prospective candidates are asked to submit by no later than January 16 the following: online application, transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, sample of written work, and official scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Examination.

After that date, applications for admission in the fall term, without financial assistance, will be considered on a rolling basis until April 15.

International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit either the TOEFL administered by the Educational Testing Service or the IELTS administered by the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate.

Financial Assistance

The department attempts to provide financial assistance to students whose performance is at a consistently high level for the five to six years that they are in residence as students.

Requirements for the MA

The course requirements for the MA are a minimum of eight one-term graduate credit courses (24 credits), of which at least four must be at the 2000 level or higher. Included in the program must be Classics 2010 (Introduction to Classical Studies) and a two-term sequence, consisting of a reading course and a seminar on a single subject. Students may emphasize either Greek or Latin, but they must pass at least one course at the level of 1300 or higher in each language. A reading knowledge of German is required. This requirement may be met either by taking two appropriate courses and receiving a letter grade of B or higher, or by passing an examination administered by the department.

The MA comprehensive examination consisting of three parts is also required. Students choose, in consultation with the graduate advisor and the department, the three fields in which they will be examined. The three are usually chosen from the following six fields: Greek translation, Latin translation, Greek literature, Latin literature, Greek history, and Roman history. Either Greek translation or Latin translation must be included.

Requirements for the PhD

Credit Requirement: The requirements for the PhD are at least 72 graduate-level credits, including the master's degree, earned from any suitable combination of formal course work, independent study, research, teaching, or dissertation work as detailed elsewhere in this bulletin.

PhD Qualifying Examination: The MA comprehensive exam also serves as the PhD qualifying exam for those students who wish to pursue graduate work at the PhD level. Students admitted to the graduate program with MA degrees from other institutions must take the MA comprehensive/PhD qualifying exam, usually within their first year of study at the University of Pittsburgh.

Supervised Teaching Experience: Supervised teaching experience is an integral part of the doctoral program. All PhD students are required to take part in the department’s undergraduate teaching program as preparation for scholarly and professional careers.

Comprehensive Examination: Students normally complete, by the end of the three years of full-time graduate study, the PhD comprehensive, which consists of four written examinations: (a) special author in Greek; (b) special author in Latin; (c) special genre; and (d) special field or topic. The student is given considerable latitude in choosing individual topics for the PhD comprehensives, as long as the four examinations demonstrate competence in a variety of aspects of classical studies.

Dissertation Overview: Upon completion of the comprehensive examination and all other requirements, the student files an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy. In consultation with a dissertation advisor, the student presents a prospectus of a dissertation to a faculty committee, following the general procedure described in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

Course Listing


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