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The Program includes a series of exams.

  • Examinations in two modern scholarly languages, usually German and French or Italian.
    These are the exams already administered by the Classical Studies or History department. Students should take these exams as soon as possible after entering the Program.


  • Qualifying examinations in classical Greek and Latin will be similar to the qualifying exams required in the Classical Studies department, based on a reading list of authors and texts. Students should take these exams soon after completing the required courses in Greek and Roman literature. On a case by case basis, however, students may substitute Hebrew or another appropriate Near Eastern language for Latin. Some students will find this alternative combination of languages more effective for their studies, particularly if they are working on Jewish or early Christian subjects in close collaboration with faculty in the department of Near Eastern Studies.


  • Preliminary examinations in four fields, selected in consultation with the graduate adviser and the supervising professors. The four fields include:
  1. A primary field in Greek or Roman history, focused around topics, periods, and/or themes.
  2. A secondary field in Greek or Roman history, focused around topics, periods, and/or themes
  3. A comparative historical topic or theme, which includes readings from outside Greek and Roman history. The primary field is evaluated in a written exam, and then all three fields in a comprehensive oral exam.
  4. An ancillary field consisting of disciplines and skills that are useful to the study of ancient history, such as archaeology, epigraphy, legal history, numismatics, papyrology, or ancient languages other than Greek and Latin. Students may satisfy this ancillary field either by completing two graduate-level courses, or by taking a written exam, or by writing an extended research paper. A written exam or a research paper might be appropriate for students who have attended a summer institute, say in epigraphy or numismatics. Satisfying this ancillary field with two courses should also satisfy Rackham's cognate requirement. Students should complete their ancillary requirements no later than the beginning of their fourth year.