University of Southern California
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Graduate Degrees

The graduate program in classics at USC aims to train students to become scholars, teachers and interpreters of ancient Mediterranean civilizations, of the Greek and Latin languages and literatures, and of the traditions that have developed from them. In order to prepare students to work in a variety of intellectual contexts, the department seeks to provide both a traditional substantive training in classical philology and the intellectual flexibility that will enable them to make the accomplishments of the past available to audiences of the present.

The department offers the Ph.D. in Classics (Greek and Latin) and the M.A. in Greek, Latin and Classics. Collateral offerings are available in related departments, such as comparative literature, history, philosophy, art history, English and anthropology.

The graduate program offers mastery of traditional philological and linguistic skills as a basis for the study of ancient cultures, with emphasis on literature, other discursive practices and material culture. Students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary approaches to classical studies and the relations between classics and other fields. Courses in related departments are recommended and degree requirements permit students to develop individual interests.

Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission will normally have an undergraduate major in classics, but programs may be arranged for promising students who do not. The student should have an undergraduate record satisfactory to the department. At least three letters of recommendation from the student’s undergraduate teachers should be sent to the chair of the department. All applicants are required to take the verbal and quantitative general tests of the Graduate Record Examinations. See the department Web site for detailed application instructions.

Degree Requirements

These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and the Graduate School section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Master of Arts in Classics

The department does not accept applicants for a Master of Arts degree in classics. The M.A. degree is intended only as a transitional degree in the process of completing requirements for the Ph.D. in classics.

Work toward the M.A. consists of six 4-unit courses (24 units) and a thesis and oral defense, or the M.A. comprehensive examination. Two of the core seminars are required and five of the six courses must be taken in the Department of Classics. Under the guidance of a faculty committee, the student elects those courses appropriate to individual areas of special interest and previous academic preparation.

Doctor of Philosophy in Classics

Application deadline: January 1

Sixty units of course work are required. Of these ordinarily at least 48 will be taken in the Department of Classics. Course work, exam and individual research projects are organized into a three-year cycle of 12 core courses. The final two years of the five-year program are reserved for dissertation preparation. At the end of each of the first three years a student will sit for a portion of the preliminary examinations, with all preliminary exams to be completed by the end of the third year. In addition, at the end of each of the first three years students present before a jury of internal and external examiners an individual research project. A substantial dissertation prospectus will be submitted within six months of the completion of course work, and an oral examination conducted by the student’s five-member guidance committee will be based on the prospectus.

The core program is as follows, and a student may enter at any time in the three-year sequence.

Greek YearUnits
CLAS 540Seminar in Early Greek Literature4
CLAS 545Seminar in Theoretical Approaches to Greek Culture and Literature4
CLAS 550Seminar in Classical and Hellenistic Literature4
CLAS 555Seminar in Greek History, Culture, and Society4

Latin YearUnits
CLAS 560Seminar in Republican Latin Literature4
CLAS 565Seminar in Theoretical Approaches to Roman Culture and Literature4
CLAS 570Seminar in Imperial Latin Literature4
CLAS 575Seminar in Roman History, Culture, and Society4

Theory, Skills, Methods YearUnits
CLAS 510Seminar in Classical Philology4
CLAS 515Topics in Classical Scholarship4
CLAS 520Approaches to Antiquity4
CLAS 525Studies in Ancient and Pre-Modern Cultures4