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 classical 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 https://classics.princeton.edu/programs/pre-doc-fellowship.
Sample of written work.
Optional: Applicants may submit a statement with their application, briefly describing how their academic interests, background, or life experiences would advance Princeton’s commitment to diversity within the Graduate School and to training individuals in an increasingly diverse society. Please submit a succinct statement of no more than 500 words.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Michael A. Flower
Director of Graduate Studies
- Brooke A. Holmes
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Joshua H. Billings
- Yelena Baraz
- Joshua H. Billings
- Marc Domingo Gygax
- Denis Feeney
- Andrew M. Feldherr
- Harriet I. Flower
- Michael A. Flower
- Andrew L. Ford
- Barbara Graziosi
- Johannes Haubold
- Brooke A. Holmes
- Joshua T. Katz
- Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
- Dan-El Padilla Peralta
- Caroline Cheung
- Mirjam E. Kotwick
- Daniela E. Mairhofer
- Katerina Stergiopoulou
- Melissa Lane, Politics
Lecturer with Rank of Professor
- Brent D. Shaw
- Melissa Haynes
- Alan M. Stahl
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.