Program of Study

To Which Program Should I Apply?

The decision about which program to apply to depends upon your academic background and training as well as your personal goals. Your first consideration should be whether you want to obtain a Doctoral degree or a Masters degree. This is a personal decision, based upon your level of commitment, your future professional goals, and the amount of time you wish to devote to the academic study of Classics. If you are uncertain about your further plans but wish to explore graduate study of Classics, the MA programs are ideal inasmuch as they make doctoral-level study possible but do not commit you to it.

Your second consideration should be the level of your academic preparation for graduate study, relative to the minimum admission standards detailed above. Our competitive admissions process and our rigorous degree programs make preparation above the minimum standards desirable.

  • If you meet or only slightly exceed the standards above, the two-year MA program is probably your best option. The first year is spent refining your language skills in a combination of graduate-level and advanced undergraduate-level courses in Greek and Latin, including prose composition. The second year is equivalent to the one-year MA program or the first year of the PhD program. Although funding for the first year of the two-year MA program is not guaranteed, the Department does its best to support students beginning this MA program; further information on funding can be found under Financial Support.
  • The one-year MA program is demanding: students follow the same program as students in the first year of the direct-entry PhD program. It is therefore ideal for students with a strong background in Classics who want rigorous training in our field but do not yet wish to commit themselves to a PhD program.
  • The PhD program at the University of Toronto is a five-year program to which students are admitted either from an MA program (at Toronto or elsewhere) or directly from a strong undergraduate degree (the “direct-entry” PhD). Students who already possess the MA normally enter with advanced standing and complete the PhD in four years. The first year of the direct-entry PhD is spent refining language skills and preparing for the Qualifying Exams; subsequent years follow the normal progression of seminars in the second year, the Major Field in the third, and the dissertation in the fourth and fifth years.

You should consider all of these factors in deciding which program to apply to. Note, however, that applying to the “wrong” program will not invalidate your application. The Admissions Committee may admit you into a program other than the one to which you applied, if it judges that it is more appropriate for your level of preparation. Applicants for the two-year MA program may therefore be admitted to the one-year program, and vice versa; similarly, applicants for the PhD program whose applications are unsuccessful will be considered for admission to the MA programs.

Students who do well in our MA programs have a good rate of success in winning admission to our own PhD program and to leading PhD programs at major universities around the world. Admission to our MA programs does not guarantee admission to the PhD program, however, and students who decide that they wish to pursue a doctoral degree must reapply to the PhD program in their final year of the MA program.