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Our Graduate Programs


Michigan's Department of Classical Studies has roots that reach back to the founding of the Ann Arbor campus in 1841. During the twentieth century, it emerged as one of the outstanding classics departments in the United States, and it has preserved this reputation particularly in the area of graduate education. The Michigan department is known for the quality and breadth of the training that it offers not only in traditional areas of language and literature, but also in related and comparative disciplines.

The Department offers four degree programs to which students may apply:

  •    Ph.D. in Classical Studies
  •    M.A. in Classical Studies (Bridge M.A.)
  •    M.A. in Latin with Teaching Certification
  •    M.A. in Latin
  •    M.A. in Greek

The Ph.D. program is entirely separate from the M.A. programs, with different admission requirements and different schedules of study. With the exception of the M.A. in Classical Studies (Bridge MA), the M.A. programs are self-contained and do not prepare students for or guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program. Students who enroll in an M.A. program and who later decide to pursue the Ph.D. must make a subsequent application to the Ph.D. program.

The Ph.D. in Classical Studies is a five to six year program designed to prepare students for teaching and research in colleges and universities. This program is particularly broad and challenging. Its special feature is coordination of the requirements for the degree with a carefully thought-out sequence of courses and other activities through which students prepare to meet the requirements. It is designed to make it possible to gain a balanced knowledge of the classical world and the ability and desire to teach the classical languages and literatures at the college and university level and to do professional work in a particular field of classical scholarship.

Greek and Latin language and literature are at the heart of the program, but it also offers the student an introduction to one or more other areas pertinent to classical studies (such as history, archaeology, ancient philosophy, epigraphy, papyrology, linguistics, law, literary theory, and Near Eastern studies), and an opportunity for some specialization in one of these fields. In addition, the Department participates in the Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History and the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology.

The University's collections of Greek papyri, Greek and Latin inscriptions, Greek and Roman coins, and other ancient artifacts, together with the special scholarly competence of members of the teaching staff in each of these fields (see our Faculty here) are departmental assets which are not easily duplicated in graduate programs elsewhere. Students encounter genuine documents and ancient objects at first hand; this lends a sense of immediacy and directness to the study of antiquity.

The Department believes it is important that students develop into effective, lively, and well-organized teachers, as well as scholars, and works to achieve this objective in two principal ways. First, the ability to express ideas clearly is stressed. Students are expected to prepare frequent oral reports in graduate classes and in seminars, and there are oral components to both preliminary and dissertation examinations. Second and more important, students are required to teach for a minimum of two terms, under staff supervision, in the Elementary Latin or Classical Civilization programs. The Department places great importance on preparing students to be confident and effective classroom teachers. Within the limitations of available funding, research assistantships are also offered which provide an opportunity for close collaboration in research with one of the department faculty.

The M.A. in Classical Studies (Bridge M.A.) is a fully funded, three semester program designed to assist promising students in Classical Studies, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History, or Greek and Roman Archaeology in developing the Ancient Greek and Latin language skills needed to pursue a Ph.D. in Classical Studies. 

Exceptional students with demonstrated potential for graduate study will gain research, language, and teaching experience while interacting with other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty through one-on-one meetings, seminars, and research symposia.  

Individuals from non-traditional backgrounds, ethnically diverse cultures, or first generation college students are particularly encouraged to apply. 

The M.A. in Latin with teaching certification is a 2-3 year program intended for the preparation of secondary school teachers. The Department has long played a significant role in preparing teachers, and its educational facilities are renowned throughout the nation for their innovations in methodology. This M.A. program is designed to strengthen the basic language abilities of future teachers while simultaneously acquainting them with new techniques and teaching materials. In addition this degree requires six professional education courses plus directed teaching in a secondary school. No separate application to the School of Education is necessary.

The M.A. programs in Greek and Latin are used primarily as supplementary courses of study for current UM graduate students pursuing Ph.D. degrees in related disciplines such as classical archaeology, comparative literature, and history.