Academic Year 2023 – 2024

General Information

East Pyne

Program Offerings:

  • Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Studies:

Graduate Program Administrator:


Princeton's Ph.D. program in the Department of Classics recognizes the increasing diversity of approaches and subjects housed within the discipline and aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop a varied and comprehensive course of study appropriate to their developing research interests. The department currently offers four curricular options: literature and philology, history (Program in the Ancient World), classical philosophy, classical and Hellenic studies.

Students concentrating on history are normally members of the Program in the Ancient World (PAW); those concentrating on philosophy, of the Program in Classical Philosophy (PCP); and those concentrating also on Byzantine and Modern Greek studies, of the joint Program in Classical and Hellenic Studies (CHS).

Students select their curricular option at the beginning of the program, though later changes are possible in consultation with the director of graduate studies and the graduate committee. Membership in PAW is open also to students concentrating on literature and philology (LP), who must normally declare their decision to join PAW no later than January of their first year.

All students, irrespective of their curricular option, are required to acquire a broad knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman literature and history by the time they complete their general examinations.

Students make steady progress toward the completion of examinations and dissertation at a pace that takes account of their preparation at entrance and their progress while in residence. Students regularly complete the general examinations by October of their third year and complete the dissertation by the end of the fifth.

The Department of Classics also offers a one-year, fully funded pre-doctoral Fellowship that includes an offer of regular admission to the Classics doctoral program for the following year (assuming steady academic progress). The Fellowship is intended for students who would benefit from an additional year of training before formally entering the PhD program. The field of Classics is broadly defined (including Greek and Latin Literature, Greek and Roman History, Classical Philosophy, and Reception Studies). For more information on applying to the program please visit


Application deadline
December 15, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (This deadline is for applications for enrollment beginning in fall 2024)
Program length
5 years
General Test - optional/not required

Additional departmental requirements

Sample of written work, 25 page maximum.


Program Offerings

Program Offering: Ph.D.


The department normally requires each student to complete a total of 12 courses over three years. Students are strongly encouraged to take courses in the fields of art and archaeology, classical philosophy and linguistics, as well as literature and history.


It is expected that all students will enter the program with a command of both Latin and Ancient Greek sufficient to undertake research projects based on source materials in either language. This competence will be assessed by a diagnostic sight translation exam encompassing Ancient Greek and Latin poetry and prose to be administered at the beginning of the first semester. Students who do not pass all components of this exam will be required to undertake independent study in the appropriate language and must re-attempt the sections they failed until all are passed or until they demonstrate their proficiency by passing the sight component of the final examination for the survey courses in Greek and Latin literature. All sections of the diagnostic exam must be passed no later than the end of the second year. CHS students are also required to develop proficiency in Byzantine or Modern Greek at an early stage in the program.  

A reading knowledge of both French (or Italian) and German is desirable for admission. No student is permitted to enter the second year without demonstrating proficiency in at least one of these languages; proficiency in the other must be demonstrated no later than the end of that same year.

Additional pre-generals requirements

Students must pass a departmental translation exam based on a reading list (with commentary in the literature exams), prior to the general exam in each subject field.  These exams must be completed no later than the end of the third year.  For specific details for each each track's exam requirements and the form and content of the exam, consult "The Twelve Tables."

General exam

The general examinations in literature, history and philosophy are designed to test the candidates' in-depth knowledge of the subject. For a full description of the examination required of students in different degree options, consult "The Twelve Tables" on the department’s website.

Qualifying for the M.A.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy, but may also be awarded to students who for various reasons leave the Ph.D. program. In order to qualify for the M.A., a student must have passed the sight translation examinations, successfully completed at least 12 seminars, and written at least six acceptable research papers.


Teaching experience is an essential component of doctoral training. Under normal circumstances, Princeton Ph.D. candidates are required, as part of their training, to teach for at least two terms. Post-generals students are encouraged to apply for a teaching assistantship for one of the undergraduate lecture courses, which generally involves two to three classroom contact hours a week; language teaching is normally scheduled after candidates have served as assistants in a lecture course. Appointments are made by the department chair, according to the needs of the undergraduate program, to third-, fourth-, and fifth-year students. The department expects students to fulfill the departmental teaching requirements before accepting any external teaching.

Dissertation and FPO

The fourth and fifth years of study are devoted to the writing of the doctoral dissertation. No later than May 31 of the third year, each student must successfully defend a detailed dissertation proposal before a faculty committee. Students participate in a dissertation workshop seminar during their final two years.

In addition to the supervisor the dissertation is read by two readers. Once it is accepted by the department on their recommendation, the candidate must pass a final public oral examination.


  • Chair

    • Barbara Graziosi
  • Director of Graduate Studies

    • Joshua H. Billings
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies

    • Daniela E. Mairhofer
  • Professor

    • Yelena Baraz
    • Joshua H. Billings
    • Marc Domingo Gygax
    • Andrew M. Feldherr
    • Harriet I. Flower
    • Michael A. Flower
    • Barbara Graziosi
    • Johannes Haubold
    • Brooke A. Holmes
  • Associate Professor

    • Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
    • Daniela E. Mairhofer
    • Dan-El Padilla Peralta
  • Assistant Professor

    • Caroline Cheung
    • Peter Kelly
    • Mirjam E. Kotwick
    • Jesse Lundquist
    • Katerina Stergiopoulou
  • Associated Faculty

    • Melissa Lane, Politics
  • Lecturer

    • Melissa Haynes
    • Alan M. Stahl
    • Marcus D. Ziemann

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Permanent Courses

Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.

ART 504 - Studies in Greek Architecture (also ARC 565/CLA 536/HLS 534)

This seminar explores topics in Greek Architecture from thematic perspectives and focused analysis of individual structures. Trends in ancient building practices and their cultural legacies are investigated in a holistic manner, from the drawing board and quarry to modern reception.

ART 512 - Death in Greece: Archaeological Perspectives (also CLA 516/HLS 524)

Chronological and thematic survey of the major funeral monuments, assemblages, and cemeteries of ancient Greece, from the Late Protogeometric to the Hellenistic periods. Course examines how material culture at the grave memorialized the deceased, comforted the living, and negotiated status. Students evaluate grave goods, tomb rituals, grave markers, cemetery layout, and the treatment of the body in their historical, social, and political contexts. Topics include: memory, gender, family, mortuary variability, the afterlife, the senses, ethnicity, and the dialectic presence/absence. Close work with objects from the PUAM collection.

ART 513 - Seminar in Roman Art (also CLA 518)

The seminar pursues research on a varying set of topics (differing every year) on ancient Roman art and architecture.

ART 518 - The Roman Villa (also CLA 531/HLS 539)

A seminar devoted to the long-standing problems concerning the tradition of Greek sculpture, most of which survives in later Roman copies. Replication was fundamental to ancient artistic practice and remains central to both its critical evaluation and its broad appreciation. Emphasis is on stylistic comparison of the surviving copies (Kopienkritik); critical engagement with the ancient written sources that attest the most famous works (opera nobilia); and the historiographic tradition in modern scholarship devoted to these works and the problems they pose.

ART 519 - Greece and the Near East before the Persian Wars (also CLA 523/HLS 519)

A study of the origins, nature, and impact of Greek contact with the Near East in the Iron Age. Course examines chronology; regional variation and distribution; technology and innovation; differences across media; modes of communication and exchange; patterns of consumption and display; and the social function of the "exotic." Analyzed with a view to changes and developments in settlement and society, particularly migration, colonization, social stratification, and the rise of the polis.

ART 520 - Social Identities in Ancient Egypt (also CLA 525/NES 501)

Ancient Egyptians, like all people, had multiple, intersecting aspects to their identity that were linked profoundly to their social communities. What kinds of objects, images, and material traditions linked ancient people together? What material forms acted as crucial modes of communication within communities and among them? We examine a wide range of material culture considering various sections of society, and we then look in-depth at several ancient sites to examine how these various groups intersected in shared spaces and across time.

ART 529 - Ancient Egyptian Kingship in Image, Architecture & Performance (also AAS 529/CLA 528)

The institution of kingship was central to the ancient Egyptian worldview. Kings and their administrations sought to express the complex nature of a strong leader with access to the gods and secret knowledge, exceptional skill as a warrior and diplomat, and unrivaled power over and sacrifice to his people by using both mystery and overwhelming display. In this seminar we consider the nature of Egyptian kingship and how a vast body of material and visual culture shaped and expressed this essential concept from its origins in the beginning of the 4th millennium to the era of Roman rulers.

ART 599 - The Greek House (also CLA 597/HLS 599/PAW 599)

A study of the archaeology of the Greek house (Early Archaic huts through Hellenistic palaces). Emphasis on the close reading of archaeological sites and assemblages and the integration of literary with material evidence. Topics include the discovery of houses, the identification of farms, the integration of the house with urban plans and natural landscapes, the organization and use of space, gender, domestic economies, and religious practice. Attention devoted to social, political, and regional dynamics; to the concept of the "private" in ancient Greece; and to questioning the heuristic value of the term "house".

CLA 500 - Greek Prose Composition

A weekly exercise in translating selected passages of English into Greek, with intensive study of grammar and style. Research paper not required for credit. Offered alternately with 501.

CLA 502 - Survey of Selected Greek Literature (also HLS 502)

The course concentrates on reading selected texts within a particular genre or genres or period. Research paper not required for credit. Offered alternately with 503.

CLA 503 - Survey of Selected Latin Literature

The course concentrates on reading selected texts within a particular genre or genres or period. Research paper not required for credit. Offered alternately with 502.

CLA 504 - Homer

<I>Iliad</I> or <I>Odyssey,</I> depending on the instructor's and the students' interest. Content and emphasis vary, but normally include study of traditional and contemporary categories of interpretation and a close analysis of poetic style. Lectures by the instructor; short reports.

CLA 505 - Greek Lyric Poetry

The origin and development of Greek elegiac, iambic, and melic poetry; reading and analysis of the works of the various authors, with attention to linguistic, metrical, textual, and historical problems. Lectures and reports.

CLA 506 - Greek Tragedy (also COM 502/GER 507/HLS 506)

The origin and development of tragedy, the Greek theater, and the history of our texts. The course involves the reading and analysis of selected tragedies, with an emphasis on the language, meter, and interpretation of the plays. Lectures and report.

CLA 508 - Greek Comedy

The course centers on two, possibly three, comedies of Aristophanes, and, if time and interest permit, on Menander's <I>Dyskolos</I>. Reports on selected problems of Old Comedy are assigned, such as origins, metrics, parody, politics, and textual problems. Occasional lectures by the instructor.

CLA 512 - Greek Historiography

An intensive study of one or more major historical writers---Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, and others.

CLA 513 - Ancient Literary Criticism (also COM 516/HLS 513)

Study of a selection of critical texts, such as the following: Plato, <I>Republic</I> and <I>Phaedrus</I>; Aristotle, <I>Poetics</I> and <I>Rhetoric</I>; "Longinus," <I>On the Sublime</I>; Cicero, <I>De oratore</I>, etc.; Horace, <I>De arte poetica</I>; and Quintilian, <I>Institutio Oratoria</I>.

CLA 514 - Problems in Greek Literature (also HLS 514/PHI 527)

Special problems are selected for intensive investigation, such as the origin and development of a genre, analysis of form, and history of ideas.

CLA 515 - Problems in Greek Literature

Special problems are selected for intensive investigation, such as the origin and development of a genre, analysis of form, and history of ideas.

CLA 517 - Problems in Post-Classical and Byzantine Literature (also HLS 517/MED 517)

As the late antique present began to dramatically assert its variance with the venerable Greco-Roman past, historical writing took on a significance hardly surpassed before, or after. Course surveys the diverse corpus of historiography in Greek from the 4th to the 7th centuries (and perhaps a bit beyond) when an unprecedented number of registers entered and enlarged the historiographic genre. Class reads texts in Greek (for accuracy and formal concerns) as well as in translation (for scope). Scholarship will buttress our weekly discussion.

CLA 520 - Greek History (also HLS 521/PAW 520)

A comprehensive introduction to central topics and methods of Greek history, offering a chronological overview of periods and significant developments; a survey of research tools and specialized sub-disciplines (e.g., epigraphy and numismatics); as well as important theoretical approaches to the study of the past (e.g., positivism, or the Annales School).

CLA 521 - Problems in Greek History

Special problems, such as Athenian imperialism, Sparta, political structures, and the political role of cults and festivals, are studied in rotation.

CLA 522 - Problems in Greek History (also HLS 531)

Special problems, such as Athenian imperialism, Sparta, political structures, and the political role of cults and festivals, are studied in rotation.

CLA 524 - Roman History

A seminar that introduces graduate students to current methods and debates in Roman history and historiography. Provides a chronological overview of the history of Rome and her expanding empire from early times (8th century BC) to the end of the Severan era (AD 235), accompanied by the study of a wide variety of ancient sources, including texts, inscriptions, coins, material culture, art, and archaeology, and the methods commonly used by modern historians to analyze them. Students acquire the basic tools needed to do research in Roman history.

CLA 526 - Problems in Greek and Roman Philosophy (also HLS 527/PHI 522)

Special problems are selected for intensive investigation. The subject matter of the course changes to adapt to the particular interests of the students and the instructor.

CLA 529 - Topics in the Hellenic Tradition (also COM 527/HLS 529)

An interdisciplinary seminar devoted to the study of aspects of the post-classical Greek literary and cultural tradition, including modern Greek literature, and its relation to classical literature and civilization.

CLA 533 - Vergil

The seminar generally considers either the <I>Aeneid</I> or the <I>Georgics</I> and <I>Eclogues</I>. Discussions and reports center on the interpretation of the poems in themselves and in the light of Augustan literature and politics.

CLA 534 - Roman Lyric and Elegiac Poetry

One or more of the following poets are considered in any given year: Catullus, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid.

CLA 537 - The Roman Novel

Study of Petronius's <I>Satyricon</I> or Apuleius's <I>Metamorphoses</I> or both, with some attention to Greek and Roman formative influences and the later romance and novelistic traditions.

CLA 538 - Latin Poetry of the Empire

Intensive study of Lucan, Seneca, Statius, and/or other writers.

CLA 542 - Problems in Latin Literature

Special problems are selected for intensive investigation, such as the origin and development of a genre, analysis of form, and history of ideas.

CLA 543 - Problems in Latin Literature

Special problems are selected for intensive investigation, such as the origin and development of a genre, analysis of form, and history of ideas.

CLA 545 - Problems in Roman History

Larger themes, such as Roman imperialism, the decline of the republic, and the rise of the multicultural empire, are considered in rotation with the study of specific problems and ancillary disciplines.

CLA 546 - Problems in Roman History

Larger themes, such as Roman imperialism, the decline of the republic, and the rise of the multicultural empire, are considered in rotation with the study of specific problems and ancillary disciplines.

CLA 547 - Problems in Ancient History (also ART 527/HIS 557/HLS 547/PAW 503)

Study of a topic involving both ancient Greece and ancient Rome, such as imperialism or slavery, from a comparative perspective.

CLA 548 - Problems in Ancient History (also ART 532/HLS 548/PAW 548)

Study of a topic involving both ancient Greece and ancient Rome, such as imperialism or slavery, from a comparative perspective.

CLA 562 - Historical/Comparative Grammar of Greek (also HLS 562)

Introduction to Greek historical/comparative grammar, based primarily on early Greek epic material (including Hesiod), with special attention to topics in Homeric linguistics and poetics. (For Greek dialects and Mycenaean, see CLA 564.)

CLA 564 - Problems in Indo-European Linguistics

Special topics are selected for investigation, such as comparative syntax or Indo-European particles. Or, a particular Indo-European dialect may be studied, such as Osco-Umbrian or Hittite.

CLA 565 - Problems in Medieval Literature (also HLS 565/MED 565)

This course casts a wide net over Medieval literature, Greek and/or Latin, as well as in comparison with other medieval languages and cultures. Its aim is to furnish graduate students in a variety of fields, including Classics, History, Philosophy, Religion, and Art & Architecture, with proficiency in the primary texts of the Middle Ages, as well as the scholarship about medieval literary culture.

CLA 575 - Introduction to Sanskrit (also LIN 575)

Introduction to classical Sanskrit aimed at developing a proficiency in reading prose and verse, with attention to the history of the language in its Indo-European context.

CLA 598 - Methods in Byzantine Literature and Philology (also HLS 598/MED 598)

This course emphasizes proficiency in post-Classical and Medieval Greek language through close readings and translations of literature. In addition to surveying the principal genres of literature and the questions surrounding them, it also introduces Ph.D. students to the instrumenta studiorum of Late Antique and Byzantine philology, such as palaeography, codicology, text editing, databases and bibliography.

CLA 599 - Dissertation Writers' Seminar

A practical and theoretical introduction to scholarly writing at the dissertation level and beyond. This seminar is normally required of all post-generals students and will provide information and guidance on the proposal and dissertation writing process; the seminar will meet every two or three weeks throughout the year, providing a forum for dissertators to circulate work in progress for feedback, and to discuss issues that arise in their work.

HUM 595 - Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (also ARC 593/CLA 595/MOD 595)

In the IHUM tradition, this course is team-taught, often by faculty from two different departments. Courses that fall under this topic are widely cross-listed and intended to attract students from many departments and programs. These topics are the most interdisciplinary of the IHUM offerings, aiming to bring together combinations of art, philosophy, literature, history in theory and practice, criticism, and methods from the qualitative social sciences.

HUM 596 - Humanistic Perspectives on Literature (also CLA 596/EAS 537/HLS 596)

Marking the 10th anniversary of Derrida's death, this course provides an opportunity to "unpack" Derrida's library, to remember several of his lessons - about philosophy, literature, history, politics, religion, economics, ideology, law, rights, nationalism, racism, colonialism, the media, university institutions, capitalism, rogue states, the war on terror, justice, responsibility, language, friendship, love, life, death, and mourning - all of which are more urgent and necessary than ever before.

HUM 598 - Humanistic Perspectives on the Arts (also CLA 591/HLS 594/MOD 598)

The study of the arts at the intersection of the disciplines.

PHI 500 - The Philosophy of Plato (also CLA 509/HLS 500)

The course is a study of the development of Plato's thought and an examination of the validity of his major contributions in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology, cosmology, and ethics.

PHI 503 - Plato's Political Philosophy (Half-Term) (also CLA 530/POL 556)

This course discusses central issues in Plato's Political Philosophy based closely on study of the pertinent Platonic dialogues.

POL 507 - Topics in Plato (Half-Term) (also CLA 507/HLS 507/PHI 507)

A study of fundamental questions of political theory in Plato¿s works, focusing on one or another of those works (or some part of one or more of them) while attending to the broader thematic and historical frameworks in which they must be interpreted. Topics may include part or all of Plato¿s Apology, Crito, Gorgias, Republic, Statesman, and Laws.

POL 553 - Political Theory, Athens to Augustine: Graduate Seminar (also CLA 535/HLS 552/PHI 552)

A study of fundamental questions of political theory framed in the context of the institutions and writings of ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, from the classical period into late antiquity and the spread of Christianity. Topics include the meaning of justice in Plato's Republic, the definition of the citizen in Aristotle's Politics, Cicero's reflections on the purpose of a commonwealth, and Augustine's challenge to those reflections and to the primacy of political life at all in light of divine purposes. We consider both the primary texts and secondary literature debates to equip students with a working mastery of this tradition.

REL 504 - Studies in Greco-Roman Religions (also CLA 519/HLS 504)

Themes, figures, and movements in the religions of antiquity are examined.