The following information is for the Graduate Degree Program in Classics. You may also wish to learn more about the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Classical Art and Archaeology.
Six seminars and translation examinations in Greek and Latin.
A reading knowledge of German, French, or Italian. Student will demonstrate this knowledge by passing the departmental examination in one of the three languages during the first term.
NOTE: No student will be admitted for the M.A. as a terminal degree. Students are only admitted to the Ph.D. program.
To receive a Ph.D. in Classics from Johns Hopkins University, students must complete successfully a range of seminar work and examinations, and then write a substantial dissertation. The Graduate Program in Classics is designed to be completed in five years, of which the first three are dedicated to seminar work and examinations, and the last two to the dissertation. All students admitted to the program receive five years of living expenses and tuition remission, in order to make it possible to complete the program in a timely manner. This support takes the form of a fellowship for the first two years, and teaching for at least two of the remaining years. All students, upon reaching dissertation level, are encouraged to apply for outside funding to spend a year abroad, at institutions such as the American School of Classical Studies in Athens or the American Academy at Rome. If outside funding is obtained, the Johns Hopkins fellowship may be held in reserve for an additional year.
Students in the seminar-taking portion of their careers are normally expected to undertake a workload consisting of three graduate seminars (or an equivalent amount of work) each semester they are receiving full fellowship (which is to say, throughout the first two years), and two seminars or the equivalent per term when teaching. Students must produce a minimum of eight (8) seminar papers over the course of their career, and it is advantageous to produce most of these during the first two years during the period of full fellowship support. The papers must be on varied topics and should span the subfields of the discipline represented by departmental faculty. In each seminar, students should meet briefly with the professor at the beginning of the term to discuss whether they will write a paper. If so, professor and student will together develop a topic that takes due consideration for the student's interests and of the need for distribution among subfields.
Students auditing a seminar must come to an agreement with the professor, at the beginning of the term, about the level and degree of their participation.
Paper deadlines and incompletes: It is always desirable to complete a seminar paper within the bounds of the semester in which the seminar itself is conducted. A professor may specify a fixed date by which a paper is due, or may not; this is at the professor's discretion, and students must abide by any deadline so set. If no explicit deadline is set, and if it proves impossible to complete a given seminar paper within the confines of the semester, the student should ask the professor whether s/he is willing to record a temporary grade of "incomplete," to be replaced by proper a grade when the paper is finally submitted. If an incomplete is granted, the following rules and deadlines then come into effect: (1) the paper must be submitted by the end of the semester following the term for which the incomplete was granted. Thus, if an incomplete is received for a seminar conducted in the fall term, the paper must be submitted by the end of the spring term; and an incomplete received for a seminar conducted in the spring term must be resolved by the end of the following fall term. No student should have more than one incomplete grade at any given time. If a student has more than one incomplete grade, s/he is prohibited from taking further examinations until the backlog is cleared and at most one incomplete remains (see below).
Examinations are administered twice per academic year: in the Fall semester, at the end of the first full week of classes; and in the Spring semester, at the end of the first week of April or thereabouts. (The diagnostic sight examinations are an exception to this schedule: see below). The exact dates of each examination period will be announced at the beginning of the preceding semester. The Program requires that students pass six major exams, or groups of exams. They are as follows:
(1) Diagnostic sight examinations in Ancient Greek prose, Ancient Greek poetry, Latin prose, and Latin poetry (four 45-minute examinations). These exams are intended to help the faculty identify weaknesses in language preparation that should be addressed, and to assess progress. They are administered three times per year: at the start of the fall semester; at the start of the spring semester; and at the end of the spring semester. Any sight exams that are failed in any particular sitting must be retaken at each opportunity until all are passed. All sight exams must be passed before any further exams may be attempted. Students are normally expected to have passed all four by the end of the first year of Ph.D. study.
(2) Ancient Greek and Roman history exam (two two-hour exams). The history exams at present have set reading lists, to give students clear structure in their preparation. These exams are normally to be taken in the fall examination period at the beginning of the second year. [see reading list]
The following three exams-Ancient Greek Literature, Latin Literature, Classical Archaeology-may be taken in any order. All three should be completed, however, by the spring examination period of the third year at the latest (earlier if possible).
(3) Ancient Greek Literature. Preparation for this exam has two parts: reading an extensive list of ancient texts in the original Greek and some in translation; and wider reading in the scholarship on various topics related to Greek literature. [see reading list]
(4) Latin Literature. Preparation for this exam has two parts: reading an extensive list of ancient texts in the original Latin and some in translation; and wider reading in the scholarship on various topics related to Latin literature. [see reading list]
The Greek Literature and Latin Literature exams each include passages for translation and interpretive essays addressing questions arising from the literary criticism of the authors being read. Preparation for the essay portion of each exam should be done in consultation with the faculty member who will administer the exam; students approaching one or the other of these exams should identify the appropriate faculty member 3-4 months in advance of the exam period in which they plan to take it, to develop with that faculty member a program of research and reading.
(5) Greek and Roman Archaeology. This exam should be prepared in consultation with the faculty member who will administer it. For a skeleton list of primary texts, scholarship, and reference works that can serve as a starting point for preparation, [see reading list].
(6) Special field exam. This exam, the last of the sequence, requires the student to study in depth a particular subfield within the discipline of Classics, one that is recognized as an area of specialization. The student will choose the field and develop a reading list in consultation with the faculty member who will administer the exam. Examples of fields eligible for preparation: mythology, papyrology, epigraphy, religion or comparative religion, anthropology and classics. Not eligible, normally, would be particular ancient authors, narrowly historical investigations, or studies of particular archaeological sites or problems, as other exams have already covered this territory. This exam, ideally, is completed by the spring examination period of the third year, or at the latest by the fall examination period of the fourth year.
Also, students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of (1) German and (2) either French or Italian. This is done by means of exams (one one-hour exam in each of the two languages), consisting of a set passage to be translated into English without the use of a dictionary. These exams can be taken at any time during an academic term, and are not restricted to the scheduled examination periods. Any faculty member can set and evaluate these exams.
In order to encourage students to give due attention both to their seminar work and to their exam preparation, departmental policy prohibits students from taking any further exams if they are carrying more than one incomplete. Only students with no or one incomplete on record are eligible to take examinations in any given examination period.
In the course of the third year (at the latest), students should be developing a sense of the kind of dissertation research they intend to pursue, and should seek to identify the faculty member who will supervise that research. The details of the project are between the student and supervisor to decide, subject only to the University-wide dissertation guidelines spelled out in documents from the Graduate Board and Eisenhower Library.
A note on teaching. Pedagogy is an integral part of our profession, and the view of the Johns Hopkins Classics faculty is that no Classicist is a professional who does not engage in both research and teaching. Indeed, it is impossible to obtain a position in the field, at least in North America, without being able to demonstrate a breadth of teaching experience, and a degree of success, as a teacher in the classroom. The teaching that we require of graduate students is necessary not only to sustain the department's undergraduate program, but also to prepare the student to assume the duties of a faculty member. We seek to give every student a range of teaching experience, from language teaching (introductory and/or intermediate) to serving as a Teaching Assistant in larger courses that have a lecture-and-section format.
Graduate admissions information can be found on our Admissions page.
For a listing of graduate courses offered by the Department of Classics, see the JHU Online Academic Catalog. For current course offerings and archived listings from recent semesters, see the current course schedule for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and click on Classics.
For further information on graduate study, contact
Department of Classics
Johns Hopkins University
113 Gilman Hall
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
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