Darryl A. Phillips

Considering Graduate School in Classics?

September 5, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I know that some students out there are thinking about pursuing an M.A. or Ph.D. in Classics — in recent years, more and more CofC students have been going to grad school in Classics.  I thought that this blog would be a great place to post information that would be helpful to people who are considering it.  I’ll place a tag “Grad School” on all future posts so anyone who is interested can easily access all of the information.

For the first post, let’s get the basics of what courses you need to go directly into a graduate program in Classics.  To be ready for (and accepted by) grad school, you need a minimum of two years of one ancient language and three years of the other.  Most people will have more experience with Latin than Ancient Greek, but this will vary depending on your interests.  Note that this is a minimum requirement. To be successful (both in admissions and in grad classes), I would encourage you to take at least one additional year of Latin and Greek.  In addition to the ancient languages, most schools will be looking for students with some experience in a modern language, preferably French or German.  (Ph.D. students in Classics generally have to pass translation exams in Latin, Greek, French and German by the end of their second or third year of study — so some preparation as an undergraduate is helpful if not essential).  In addition to the language classes, I would recommend taking as many advanced level courses (both in Classics and other areas of interest) as you can.  You want to develop your research skills as an undergraduate so that you can hit the ground running in graduate school.  Our senior “Research Seminar” CLAS 401 will ensure that you have the research skills that you need, but the more practice you have researching and writing, the better off you’ll be.  Finally, you do need to think about your GPA.  Generally speaking, if you are applying to a strong graduate program, you ought to have, as a minimum, an overall GPA of 3.5 and a major GPA that is higher than that.

That covers some of the basics.  In later posts I’ll include some information about graduate school applications, funding, life as a grad student, life as a Classics faculty member, and other topics.  If you’re a graduate of the College of Charleston and are in graduate school in Classics, please add your comments and advice!


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