Academic Information

The complete regulations governing the graduate program can be found in the SGS Calendar and in the Classics Graduate Program Regulations. (For students who entered prior to September 2015, the previous program regulations are here.)

Program Overview

The graduate program in Classics provides advanced study and research opportunities in all aspects of Greco-Roman antiquity. Literature and history are central to the field, and the initial stage of our program aims to provide every student with mastery of the Greek and Latin languages and familiarity with basic works of literature in all major genres. This training is the foundation for research into any aspect of Greco-Roman antiquity for which our faculty can provide supervision.

Our programs lead to the MA and PhD degrees. Students can choose to focus on one of three fields:

  • Ancient History
  • Literature 
  • Philosophy

Most PhD students have previously obtained an MA in Classics or a related field (such as Ancient History or Ancient Philosophy), but direct entry into the PhD program from a strong undergraduate program is also possible.

Admission and program requirements are significantly different for the 1- and 2-year MA programs in Ancient History, which allow qualified students to partic­ipate in research seminars in Ancient History while also pursuing MA-level language training in one of the ancient languages (or both, depending on preparation). These programs also fea­ture a rigorous introduction to historical methods and participation in a bi-weekly collabora­tive Ancient History proseminar. For admission preparation in only one of the two ancient languages is required. For the degree students are required to pass at the MA-level a sight exam in either Ancient Greek or Latin and one of the MA-level reading list exams with a grade of at least B-. In the other language students are required to pass one course at any level with a B+.

The other programs and fields are easiest to describe in relation to the following general plan of study:

  • Stage 1.  Preparatory courses to reinforce and enhance the knowledge of Greek and Latin and basic research skills acquired in the undergraduate degree. (normally 1 year of full-time study)
  • Stage 2-3.  Reading seminars to establish breadth of competence in the classics of Greek and Latin prose and verse in preparation of qualifying examinations + Research seminars to practise a variety of styles of research under the guidance of our faculty in fields close to their own work. (2 years)
  • Stage 4.  Examination on a major field of specialization. (1 year)
  • Stage 5.  A dissertation arising out of the major field. (typically 1.5 to 2 years)

Depending on their undergraduate training, MA students complete either Stages 1 and 2, or just Stage 2. PhD students normally begin with Stage 2 (unless this has already been completed as part of their MA) and proceed through the remaining stages. Where additional experience with Greek and Latin texts is advisable before studying the reading lists, a PhD student may begin with Stage 1 or parts thereof. 

Detailed Program Stages

Admission to the MA requires a B+ average in the final year of an undergraduate program in Classics or a related field, with the equivalent of at least three and preferably four years of work in either Greek or Latin and two full years of training in the other.

Applicants can be admitted to either the one-year or the two-year MA program, depending on their level of preparation. Students in the two-year MA start at Stage 1; those in the one-year program begin at Stage 2. Applicants with an MA or a strong BA in Classics may be admitted directly to the PhD program. Admission to the PhD requires one of the following preparations:

  • an A- average in a demanding undergraduate program in Classics, with the equivalent of four years work in Greek and in Latin and substantial reading in texts of both languages
  • a strong record (B+ average, with at least one A-) in an MA program in Classics or a related field
  • the successful completion of a University of Toronto MA in Classics with a B+ average and A- on the Graduate Research Paper; PhD students who have not first done our MA program normally begin their programs with Stage 2

Stage 1 of the program is taken, usually as the first year of a 2-year MA, by those students who need additional training in one or both of the classical languages before being ready for the reading seminars and reading list exams. Each student’s program is tailored to individual needs. Diagnostic exams in Greek and Latin (sight translation) taken the first week of a student’s first term in the program help to determine the appropriate level of study.

Stage 2+3  Students are expected to complete LAT1000H and GRK1000H, as required, and a selection of other courses (reading and research seminars). They are preparing for the qualifying examinations. These examinations include sight translation examinations in Greek and Latin as well as examinations on the reading lists (the reading lists are posted here). Reading list examinations must be passed by end of Year 2 in one language, by the end of year 3 in the other. In addition, each student in the final year of the MA or the first year of the PhD year enrolls in CLA 2000Y to prepare a research paper (the Graduate Research Paper) of about 8000 words on a topic of special interest under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. Finally, students are enrolled in the stream-specific proseminar series for two years (AMP2000Y for Philosophy, SRD4444Y for History or Literature).

Stages 4 + 5   Doctoral candidates (1) prepare a major field (typically in the area of the dissertation) for examination and a major field research paper; (2) show competence in the relevant modern languages of research; (3) get experience as a teaching assistant and/or instructor; and (4) write their dissertation.

 

Sample Program Year-by-Year

This section offers an idea of the typical work done in each year of the MA and PhD programs. Note, however, that these are just samples. Students’ actual course selections are decided in consultation with the Classics Department Graduate Coordinator on an individual basis.

For current graduate course offerings, see information under Courses.

2-YEAR MA PROGRAM

Year 1

  • GRK and LAT 1000 (prose composition): students who have already taken an equivalent course or who pass the diagnostic exams with a grade of at least B+ may be exempt.
  • Two additional courses per semester, chosen in consultation with the graduate coordinator from among the Reading Seminars (1800-level courses) and upper-level undergraduate courses in Greek and Latin, depending on the student’s language background. Students might also enrol in a research seminar.

Year 2

  • Three research seminars (5000-level courses)
  • Additional reading seminars (1800-level series)
  • CLA 2000Y (Graduate Research Paper)
  • Qualifying exams in both Greek and Latin must be passed with at least a B- by the end of the year; students in the History stream may choose to satisfy this requirement by completing either the Greek or the Latin Qualifying Exam with a grade of at least B- and by completing one language course in the other language with a grade of at least B+. Either the Greek or the Latin Sight Translation Examination with a grade of at least B- is required for successful completion of the MA program.

1-YEAR MA PROGRAM

  • GRK and/or LAT 1000, unless exempt (see above)
  • 3 Research seminars (5000-level) and, possibly, reading seminars from the 1800-series.
  • CLA 2000Y (Graduate Research Paper)
  • Qualifying exams in both Greek and Latin must be passed with at least a B- by the end of the year; students in the History stream may choose to satisfy this requirement by completing either the Greek or the Latin Qualifying Exam with a grade of at least B- and by completing one language course in the other language with a grade of at least B+. Either the Greek or the Latin Sight Translation Examination with a grade of at least B- is required for successful completion of the MA program.

PhD PROGRAM

Year 1

  • GRK and LAT 1000, unless exempt (see above)
  • Reading seminars (1800-level), as needed, and Research seminars (5000-level)
  • CLA 2000Y (Graduate Research Paper)
  • AMP2000Y or SRD4444Y (Proseminar series)

Year 2

  • Research Seminars (usually 3 per semester), chosen in consultation with the graduate coordinator.
  • AMP2000Y or SRD4444Y
  • Qualifying examinations in one language must be passed with a grade of at least B+ by end of Year 2.

Year 3

  • Finish up research seminar requirements (if needed).
  • Sight translations and modern language examinations must be passed before taking the Major Field. Students must pass both sight exams with a grade of at least B+; students whose Field is Greek and Roman History only may satisfy this requirement with a grade of at least B+ on the Sight Translation Examination in one language and a grade of at least B on the Sight Translation Examination in the other language.
  • Qualifying examinations in the other language must be passed with a grade of at least B+ by the End of Year 3.
  • Stream-specific qualifying examinations.
  • Major Field preparation. Major Field exam taken in Spring. Prepare dissertation prospectus.

Year 4-5

  • Dissertation. The dissertation should be defended in Spring of the 5th year.