Classical Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy in Classical Philosophy

The purpose of the program in Classical Philosophy is to provide the student with the basic training in both philosophy and classical philology necessary for work in this field. Students who wish their primary grounding to be in Classics should apply to the program in Classical Philosophy in this department; students who wish their primary grounding to be in philosophy should apply to the parallel program in the Department of Philosophy.

Prerequisites. Competence in Greek and Latin sufficient to allow the student to take courses numbered above 100 ("upper-level courses") in one language and above the beginning level in the other upon entering graduate school.

Academic Residence. Minimum of two years of full-time study 16 courses, or 64 credits). Students are not normally permitted to take more than two courses numbered 301 before sitting for their General Examinations.

Program of Study (for students who entered the program in or after 2021). Such as to foster expertise in:

  1. The methodology covered in the Proseminar. 
  2.  Greek and Latin literature, and ancient philosophy. To this end, candidates must pass two courses: either Greek 112a and Greek 112b, or Latin 112a and Latin 112b. Appropriate coursework in ancient philosophy will be determined in light of the candidate’s background and interests.
  3.  Advanced research and writing. By the end of the second year, the candidate must take two courses designated “primarily for graduates” and given by the faculty of the department. In addition, the candidate must, by the end of the second year, have taken courses requiring substantial papers, or have submitted independently written papers, in each of the following areas: Plato, Aristotle, and either Presocratic or post-Aristotelian philosophy.
  4.  Syntax and stylistics. This requirement is normally met by passing Greek 175 or Latin 175 (the student may choose which course), or demonstration of equivalent work. This requirement must be met before taking the Special Examinations (see below).
  5. Modern philosophy. Before taking the Special Examinations, the candidate must complete, with a grade of B or better, the following courses in the Department of Philosophy:
    1. One course in Formal Logic
    2. One course in Ethics, Political Philosophy, or Aesthetics
    3. One course in Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, or Philosophy of Science

Program of Study (for students who entered the program before 2021). Such as to foster expertise in:

  1. The methodology covered in the Proseminar.
  2. Greek and Latin literature and philosophy; to be tested in the General Examinations (see below).
  3. Intensive exegesis. By the end of the second year, the candidate must take two courses designated "primarily for graduates" and given by the faculty of the department. In addition, the candidate must, by the end of the second year, have taken courses requiring substantial papers, or have submitted independently written papers, in each of the following areas: Plato, Aristotle, and either Pre-Socratic or Hellenistic Philosophy.
  4. Prose composition. This requirement is met by passing Greek K (or the equivalent) and Latin H before taking the Special Examinations.
  5. Modern philosophy. Before taking the Special Examinations, the candidate must complete, with a grade of B or better, the following courses in the Department of Philosophy:
    1. One course in Formal Logic
    2. One course in Ethics, Political Philosophy, or Aesthetics
    3. One course in Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, or Philosophy of Science

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 October and April.

Pedagogy. Students take a practicum course (Classic 360) in the craft of teaching, normally in their third year. Strategies will be applicable to courses taught in translation as well as language courses.

General Examinations (for students who entered the program in or after 2021). All students will, normally by the end of their second year, take General Examinations comprising:

  1. Two written examinations of three hours each in the translation of Greek and Latin authors. Each examination will consist of six passages (half prose and half verse), of which four will be from the reading list and two will be at sight. Each component may be taken separately and both must be passed by the fall of the third year. 
  2. An oral examination of one-and-one-half hours, of which half will be on the history of either Greek or Latin literature, and half on Greek and Roman philosophy. The exam on the history of either Greek or Latin literature will normally be taken at the end of the survey courses (Greek 112a/b or Latin 112a/b). The contents of the exam will be based on the material covered in those courses. The examining committee will normally consist of the instructors from the 112 courses along with an additional faculty member to moderate the proceedings and to intervene at his or her discretion. The Greek and Roman philosophy oral will be conducted by a member of the faculty specializing in ancient philosophy and will consist of questions on the major figures, issues, and developments in the history of ancient philosophy.

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

General Examinations (for students who entered the program before 2021). All students will, normally by the end of their second year, take General Examinations comprising:

  1. Two written examinations of three hours each in the translation of Greek and Latin authors; each examination will consist of six passages, including both prose and verse, of which two will be at sight.
  2. An oral examination of one-and-one-half hours, of which half will be on the history of either Greek or Latin literature, and half on Greek and Roman philosophy.

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

Special Examinations (for students who entered the program in or after 2021)

By the end of the third, or, at the latest, the fourth graduate year, the candidate must take a two-hour oral examination in three special fields, of which at least one should be a Greek-centered topic, at least one a Roman-centered topic, and at least one a topic in ancient philosophy. Students must submit a proposal for the three special areas to the graduate committee, normally by the end of second year of graduate study. These fields may be Greek or Latin authors, a period or area of ancient philosophy, or a combination of an author or genre and a research question. Alternatively, they can be based on fields such as the following: a period of Greek or Roman history, science, religion, mythology, law, archaeology, topography, epigraphy, palaeography, papyrology, grammar or linguistics, metrics, the history of classical studies, Medieval Latin literature, patristics, Byzantine studies, Modern Greek studies, the special problems of a literary genre (e.g., epic, historiography), or a topic in classical reception.

Special Examinations (for students who entered the program before 2021). 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, which will in this case be a period or area of ancient philosophy. The candidate will be expected to know the historical background and manuscript tradition of the chosen authors. The choice of authors and field should be submitted for approval at the time of the General Examinations or as soon thereafter as possible. These examinations may be repeated only once in the event of failure.

Dissertation Regulations. See the Dissertation Regulations page.