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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. 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 2017:

Classical Archaeology 821: Bronze Age Economy & Trade (Natalie Abell)

Classical Archaeology 855: Problems in Roman Archaeology (Nic Terrenato)

Greek 592: History of Greek Literature II (Ruth Scodel)

Greek 638: Paleography of Papyri (Arthur Verhoogt)

Greek 830: Topics in Post-Aristotelian Philosophy – The Platonic Commentary Tradition (Sara Ahbel-Rappe)

History 630: Introduction to Greek & Roman Studies (Ian Moyer)

Latin 576: Readings in Roman Society – city & Country in Roman Literature (Ruth Caston)

Latin 606: Latin Inscriptions (David Potter)


Fall 2016:

Classical Archaeology 823: Archaeology of the Black Sea (Chris Ratte)

Classical Archaeology 844: Theoretical Issues – Domestic Space in Classical Antiquity (Lisa Nevett)

Greek 591: History of Greek Literature I (Richard Janko)

Greek 804: Greek Historiography (Sara Forsdyke)

History 615: Introduction to the Comparative Study of History (Joel Howell)

Latin 529: Livy (David Potter)

Latin 870: Topics in Roman Lit – Roman Love elegy (Ruth Caston)


Winter 2016:

Classical Archeology 536: Hellenistic & Roman Sculpture (Elaine Gazda)

Classical Archeology 841: Topography of Rome (Nic Terrenato)

Greek 602: Classics as a Profession (Ruth Scodel)

Greek 669: Ancient Literary Criticism (Richard Janko)

Histart 689: Special Topics – Romans on Display (Elaine Gazda)

Latin 592: History of Roman Literature II (Basil Dufallo)

Latin 834: Tacitus (David Potter)

Latin 860: Ancient Religion (Celia Schultz)


Fall 2015:

Classical Archaeology 831: Theoretical Approaches in Classical Archeology (Lisa Nevett & Natalie Abell)

Classical Linguistics 635: Comparative Grammar (Benjamin Fortson)

Greek 801: Epic – Hesiod (Ruth Scodel)

History 615: Introduction to the Comparative Study of History (Valerie Kivelson)

History 698: Topics in History – Premodern Empires: Comparative Studies (Ray Van Dam)

Latin 591: History of Roman Literature I (Celia Schultz)

Latin 870: Lucretius and Catullus (Basil Dufallo)


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. 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.