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Prospective Students

What the Admissions Committee Looks for in Applicants

The Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History welcomes applications from all students with an interest in pursing advanced work on ancient Greek and Roman History. The Admissions Committee is particularly interested in applicants with a strong background in the ancient languages (at least 2-3 years in both Greek and Latin), as well as broader historical interests in such topics as identity, ethnicity, imperialism, religion, politics, law and slavery. Course work in one more modern languages relevant to historical scholarship (especially German, French and Italian) is an asset.

Overview of the PhD Program

A detailed overview of the program is provided in the Handbook (see link to Handbook). Briefly stated, the program consists of two years of coursework, one year of exams, and two years of research and writing a dissertation. For a list of recent course offerings, see the link to Recent Course Offerings. Exams consist of Qualifying Exams in the ancient and modern languages (to be completed by the end of the third year), and Preliminary Exams on various topics and methods in historical studies (taken in the third year). Students typically spend the fourth and fifth years research and writing their dissertations.


The Department of Classical Studies and History at the University of Michigan have a long record of training ancient historians and placing them in academic positions. Since the founding of the Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History in 2001, graduates of the program have continued to find permanent employment in the field of ancient history. For a list of recent graduates and their placement click here.

Recent Course Offerings

Winter 2013:
History 630: Introduction to Greek and Roman Historical Studies (Sara Forsdyke)
Latin 606: Latin Inscriptions: Epigraphy (David Potter)
Classical Archaeology 815: Hellenistic Cities (Sharon Herbert)
History 591: Cities, Travel and Cartography in Pre-Modern Europe (Diane Hughes).
History 698: Thinking Law: Comparative Ancient Law and Legal Theory (Rachel Neis)
Greek 599: Demosthenes On the Crown (Sara Forsdyke)
Greek 592: History of Greek Literature (Ruth Scodel)

Fall 2012:
History 615: Introduction to the Comparative Study of History (Ellen Muelhberger and William Glover)
History 631/701: Ethnicity and Culture in the Hellenistic Age (Ian Moyer)
History 698: Theory for Historians (Nancy Hunt)
History 698: The Structures of Everyday Life in Ancient Society (Raymond VanDam).
Latin 513: Cicero: Philosophical Works
Latin 642: Introduction to Roman Law
Greek 591: History of Greek Literature (Francesca Schironi)
Classical Archaeology 822: Art of the Persian Empire (Margaret Root)

Winter 2012:
Classical Archeaology 844: Theoretical Issues in Archaeology (Lisa Nevett)
Latin 592: History of Roman Literature (David Potter)
Greek/Latin 853: Greek and Roman Rhetoric and Literary Criticism (Bruce Frier)
History 594: Ancient Judaism: Law, Religion, History (Rachel Neis)
History 630: Introduction to Greek and Roman Historical Studies (Sara Forsdyke)
History 806: Greek Law and Rhetoric (Bruce Frier)

Fall 2011:
Greek 501/804: Greek Historiography (Sara Forsdyke)
Classical Archaeology 841: Topography of Rome (Nicola Terrenato)
Latin 591: History of Roman Literature (Ruth Caston)
History 615: Introduction to the Comparative Study of History (John Carson and Christian de Pee)
History 698: The Pre-modern Mediterranean: Comparative Studies (Raymond VanDam and Paolo Squatriti)

IPGRH is broken down into a series of requirements needed to complete the Ph.D. These pages provide an overview of the Greek and Roman History Program. The Graduate Handbook will describe the Program in more detail. 

A typical graduate student completes the Program within five or six years. In the first year, students typically take four courses per semester. During this time, students also prepare for and complete at least one modern language exam. It is recommended that during the summer prior to joining the Program, students work on their modern languages as well as begin the Greek and Latin reading lists for the qualifying exams. 

In the second year, students continue to take courses, while also teaching as graduate student instructors for one course per semester (Greek History in the fall, Roman History in the winter). Ideally, students also complete their second modern language exam, as well as at least one of their ancient language qualifying exams during their second year. By the following summer, students should begin to plan for preliminary exams. 

In their third year, students may continue to teach and take courses, while also preparing for preliminary exams. 

By the end of their third year, students are required to finish all qualifying and preliminary exams in order to qualify for candidacy. Students with exceptional preparation may finish their exams early. 

After completing preliminary exams, students prepare and submit a dissertation proposal for the review of their committee. Upon approval, candidates then research and write their dissertations, during which time they continue to teach, apply for fellowships, or study abroad. Candidates work closely with their committee members throughout the writing process. 

Upon completion of their dissertation, usually by the end of their fifth or sixth year, students then defend their dissertation in front of their committee, and upon approval, are granted the Ph.D. degree in Greek and Roman History.