IPCAA usually has twenty-five to thirty students enrolled at any single time. This translates to admitting, normally, three to five students each year. The Program, on average, receives up to twenty times as many applications as students it can admit. It is thus a quite competitive application process.
That said, well-qualified students should not quail at the prospect of submitting an application. But what does “well-qualified” mean in this context?
The majority of IPCAA students arrive from undergraduate backgrounds (and sometimes with Master’s degrees) in Classics, Classical Archaeology, History (usually with a specialization in Ancient History), and Art History (usually with a specialization in Ancient Art). Such degrees have generally proven to offer the most thorough foundation for a successful career through IPCAA. Other degrees and life experiences, such as training in Anthropology or Museum Studies, are also very welcome, but additional preparatory work, not least in classics and ancient languages, would be necessary before entering the Program.
Competence in both ancient and modern languages is a necessary skill for classical archaeologists; to that end, IPCAA students must satisfy language requirements in ancient Greek, modern Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and German. Preference is thus given to applicants who have demonstrated significant preparation and competence in at least one of the required ancient, and one of the required modern, languages. This is to ensure that students do not spend an inordinate amount of their early years in the Program primarily studying languages. If an applicant’s language preparation is not yet up to this level, time spent in post-bacccalaureate programs or other courses before applying to IPCAA may be advisable.
No formal fieldwork or museum experience is expected or required of prospective students, but signs of interest and energy in the discipline of archaeology (outside the formal classroom setting) are welcome.
Admissions: What does IPCAA need to consider an application?
The on-line application process for IPCAA is administered in part by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
Additional application requirements:
- Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results from ETS. Please request that ETS send your scores to the University of Michigan.
- Academic transcripts, including Grade Point Average (GPA). You must submit both unofficial and official copies of your transcripts to complete your application.
- Unofficial transcripts from all of your undergraduate and post-graduate institutions. Please upload these on the "Other Supplemental Materials" section of your application.
- Official transcripts from your degree-awarding institutions only. Please request that your institutions send these to the Rackham Graduate School. (Rackham Graduate School Admissions, Attn: Transcripts, 915 East Washington Street, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070).
- A curriculum vitae or résumé, including work experience, evidence of travel, museum or fieldwork, or other relevant activities in the fields of Classical Art and Archaeology. Please upload this to your application
- A statement of purpose and a personal statement, detailing and conveying your interest and enthusiasm for the field of classical archaeology, and why IPCAA might be an appropriate place for you to undertake graduate study. A length of about two or three pages for each statement is recommended (you may ignore Rackham's 500-word limit on the application). Please upload these to your application.
- Three letters of recommendation, preferably from teachers from whom you have had classes or practical experience in archaeology and classics. Please have your recommenders upload these to your application.
- A sample of writing, such as a term paper for a class, or a senior thesis. Please upload this to your application. The sample should be written in English and should be about 15-20 pages in length (if you would like to send part of something longer, it is usually helpful to include the table of contents of the full work and an indication of the overall argument). The sample should also be your own work, not the result of a collaboration, nor something translated or substantially edited by someone else. The most helpful writing samples are those dealing with a specific question or problem in relation to a set of material evidence.
- Specific details on your foreign language experience, including the names, dates, and institutions of your language courses
IPCAA's annual application deadline is December 15th. All materials must be submitted by that date, and applicants should take responsibility for ensuring this happens (e.g., take the GRE examination in good time for IPCAA to receive the results).
All applications are reviewed by the IPCAA Executive Committee in January and February. Invitations are then issued to a small number of applicants to visit the Ann Arbor campus (usually in early-mid February). This visit, which is funded by IPCAA and the Rackham Graduate School, provides an excellent opportunity to meet faculty and students, and to see the full resources of the Program and its University setting. Offers of admission and fellowship support are made shortly thereafter. Acceptance or rejection of an offer of admission is needed by April 15th (the national deadline to be observed by all graduate programs).
What does IPCAA look for in a prospective student?
There is no single "cookie cutter" model of a successful IPCAA student; over the years, the Program has fostered a remarkably wide variety of interests and personalities. Students are given preference for certain elements, however. These include:
- Substantial preparation and competence in at least one of the required ancient, and one of the required modern, languages
- A solid, if not necessarily comprehensive, background in ancient history and classical archaeology
- Noteworthy performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Overall undergraduate performance, and record in classes most pertinent to the study of Classical Art & Archaeology
- Enthusiastic and insightful reports from teachers and mentors in letters of recommendation
- A compelling personal statement, that also demonstrates skills in writing and argumentation
- Evidence of energy and enthusiasm, not to mention perseverance and dedication, in pursuing a possible career in Classical Art & Archaeology
Eligibility for certain types of Fellowship support may be linked, by the Rackham Graduate School or by the College of Literature, Science & the Arts, to combined GRE scores and to undergraduate GPA averages.