Classical Philology

Doctor of Philosophy in Classical Philology

Prerequisites. Competence in both Greek and Latin sufficient to allow the student to take courses numbered above 100 upon entering Graduate School.

Academic Residence. Minimum of two years of full-time study (a combination of 16 courses, 301s or units of 303). Students are not normally permitted to take more than two courses numbered 301 before sitting for their General Examinations, and only after taking Greek 201 (for a 301 in Greek) and Latin 201 (for a 301 in Latin), or equivalent.

Program of Study. Such as to foster expertise in:

  1. The methodology covered in the Proseminar (required).
  2. Greek and Latin languages and literatures, to be tested in the General Examinations.
  3. Intensive exegesis (textual, critical). To this end, before the PhD is conferred, candidates must pass four seminars having the designation "Classical Philology" (two in Greek topics, two in Latin).
  4. Prose composition, both Greek and Latin. This requirement is normally met by passing Greek K and Latin K, or the equivalent of the final examination in these courses, which may be set, if requested, as exemption examinations in late September or in January. This requirement must be met before the Special Examinations are taken (see below).
  5. Historical linguistics. To this end, candidates must pass Greek 134 and Latin 134 or the equivalent work before taking the Special Examinations (see below).
  6. Ancient history and classical archaeology. In these areas candidates must pass three courses, subject to the following provisions:
    • If two courses are taken in ancient history, the third must be in classical archaeology, and vice versa.
    • At least one of the three courses must be on a Greek topic, and one other on a Roman topic.
    • At least one of the three courses must be a graduate seminar.
    • Two of the three courses must be passed before the Special Examinations.
    • A course on an ancient author in which work of an historical nature is submitted to fulfill the course-requirements will be permitted to count towards the ancient history requirement.

7.  Other fields (Medieval Latin, Byzantine Greek, Modern Greek, Classical Philosophy, epigraphy, numismatics, palaeography, papyrology; other relevant fields with permission of the graduate committee). Candidates must pass one course in any one of these areas, or a second course either in Greek or Roman history or in classical archaeology. This requirement must be met before the PhD is conferred.

Modern Languages. The demonstration of a reading knowledge of French or Italian and of German, to be tested by the Department (with the aid of dictionaries). This requirement must be fulfilled before the Special Examinations are taken. Tests are normally administered in September, February, and April.

General Examinations. All students will, normally by the end of April of the second year, take General Examinations comprising four parts, namely:

  1. Two written examinations of three hours each in the translation of Greek and Latin authors; each examination will of six passages (half prose and half verse) of which two will be at sight (i.e., not from the list given below).
  2. An oral examination of one-and-one-half hours, divided into two parts, on the history of Greek and Latin literature respectively. This examination will include, but will not be confined to, the material contained in the reading list. The examining committee will consist of one faculty member chiefly responsible for Greek literature; one chiefly responsible for Latin literature; and an additional one to moderate the proceedings and to intervene at his or her discretion.

Note: These examinations may only be repeated once in the event of failure. If a student fails only one part of the examination, then he or she need only repeat that part.

Special Examinations. By the end of the third, or, at the latest, the fourth graduate year, the candidate must take a two-hour oral examination in two special authors, one Greek and one Latin, and one special field. The candidate will be expected to know the historical background and manuscript tradition of these authors. The special field should be selected from fields such as the following: a period of Greek or Roman history, philosophy, religion, mythology, archaeology, topography, epigraphy, palaeography, papyrology, grammar or linguistics, metrics, history of classical studies, Medieval Latin literature, patristics, Byzantine studies, or the special problems of a literary genre (e.g., epic, historiography). The choice of authors and field should be submitted for approval by the graduate committee at the time of the General Examinations or within a month following them. Preparation for this examination will be by independent study, with regular supervision by a faculty member for each part of the examination (Class. Phil. 302). These examinations may be repeated only once in the event of failure.

Dissertation Regulations

  1. At the end of the Special Examinations, or at the latest within one month thereafter, the candidate should specify the area in which the dissertation is to be written and the name of the dissertation director. This person shall be a member of the Harvard faculty.
  2. The candidate, after consultation with the director, and within two months of the Special Examinations, will then invite two other faculty members to serve as readers. In exceptional cases, and with the prior approval of the graduate committee, one of these two members may be drawn from another department, another university, or an equivalent institution.
  3. Before the end of the semester following the Special Examinations, the candidate shall meet with the director and the two readers for approval of the prospectus of the dissertation. The prospectus can take many forms, and its scope is various. The purpose is to ensure that the candidate has done enough work to determine that (a) the project is manageable, is of suitable scope, and has not been done before in the same way, and (b) the candidate has the knowledge and skills to make an original contribution on the topic. The prospectus should include an account of the issue to be investigated, an outline of the approach to be taken, an annotated bibliography, and a timetable for completion. The recommended length is 20–25 pages. The director shall promptly, by means of the appropriate form (available in the department office), notify the graduate committee of the approved title and the name of the members of the dissertation committee.
  4. The director and other members of the dissertation committee shall, by May 15th of each year, or within 12 months of the prospectus meeting, and on annual occasions thereafter, meet with the candidate to reflect on the progress towards the dissertation, and on other aspects of the candidate's professional profile (teaching, attending conferences, giving papers, publishing articles, etc.). External members of the committee shall normally be physically present at these annual meetings, but may be present via conference call, Skype or video-conferencing. The candidate shall submit to the committee a self-report in advance of this meeting, detailing progress towards the dissertation, any problems or setbacks, reflections on teaching, and on professional development in general. After the meeting, the director shall prepare a written summary of the discussion, and this report will be made available to the student and the DGS.
  5. Not later than the end of the sixth graduate year (except by permission of the graduate committee), the candidate must present a dissertation, written in an acceptable English style, as evidence of independent research. The final copy should conform to the requirements described in the GSAS publication, The Form of the PhD Dissertation. The completed work must also be accompanied by two copies of a summary of not over 1,200 words, which the director will promptly forward to the Editor of Harvard Studies in Classical Philology for publication.

All students are strongly encouraged to undergo a dissertation defense, as detailed in "New Dissertation Regulations for Students entering the Program from September 2010," but only those entering the program from September 2010 are required to do so. Students should refer to the appropriate section below for the remaining steps in the dissertation process.

If opting out of a dissertation defense:

  1. The completed work, in three copies, clearly printed but not yet bound, must be ready for three readers not later than April 1 for the degree in May, December 1 for the degree in March, or August 1 for the degree in November. (See appendix below for actual due dates for dissertation and acceptance certificate.)
  2. When the dissertation is completed and submitted, the director and the two readers will read and vote on it. A majority of votes shall decide whether or not it is accepted. Approval of the dissertation constitutes the final requirement for the degree.

If completing a dissertation defense:

  1. When the candidate and the committee deem that the dissertation is ready to be examined, the candidate shall present three unbound copies of the dissertation not later than March 15 for the degree in May, November 15 for the degree in March, or August 1 for the degree in November. (See appendix below for actual due dates for dissertation and acceptance certificate, and a timetable for the procedures.) The members of the committee shall have not less than two weeks in which to read the dissertation, after which they shall confer, either in person or by other means, and shall decide, by majority vote, whether the dissertation defense should proceed. If the decision is positive, the committee members shall also agree on the changes and revisions needed for the dissertation to be approved. If, in the view of the committee members, substantial work remains to be done on the dissertation, the defense will be postponed to a later date. The director shall communicate the results of the committee discussion to the candidate.
  2. If the committee decides that the defense can proceed, the candidate shall normally have up to four weeks in which to make such changes and revisions as may have been specified by the committee and to submit a revised draft of the dissertation. The committee members shall have at least one week to review this revised draft before the defense takes place.
  3. The defense shall consist of a full and frank discussion of the dissertation, including plans for eventual publication of the results in article or monograph form. External members of the committee shall normally be physically present at the defense, but may be present via conference call, Skype, or video-conferencing. Following the discussion, the members of the committee shall decide, by majority vote, whether to approve the dissertation, and, if the result is positive, shall sign the dissertation approval form.