Satisfactory Progress

Ph.D. students in Classics need to fulfill the satisfactory progress requirement of the Graduate School in order to be eligible for financial aid and teaching. To do so, they need to be checked in, registered, and enrolled through the Registrar at the beginning of each semester by published deadlines, achieve a minimum grade point average of B (3.0), and work towards the completion of their requirements. The department uses the following provisions as definitions of satisfactory progress towards the completion of departmental requirements:

  1. During the first two years of graduate study, any student who is registered, working towards fulfilling their program requirements and has achieved a minimum grade-point average of B (3.0) (see GSAS Policies: Grade and Examination Requirements) is considered to be making satisfactory progress.
  2. If a student receives an INC, the student must complete the work of the course before the end of the next regular term. For example, if a student receives an INC during the fall term, the student must complete the coursework during the subsequent spring term by submitting work before the final day of the spring term (see GSAS Policies: Grade and Examination Requirements). Students who do not resolve an INC grade within the expected timeframe are not considered to be making satisfactory progress. In exceptional circumstances, an INC is acceptable for a course that doesn't meet a program requirement. Please contact the DGS for clarification (classicsDGS@fas.harvard.edu).
  3. By the end of the fifth semester, a student must have passed general examinations.
  4. Special examinations should be completed by the start of the seventh semester.
  5. Before the end of the semester following the special examinations or at the latest by the end of the fourth year, a student must have passed the dissertation prospectus.
  6. By the end of the fifth year, and each subsequent year during which a student is allowed to register, they must have produced at least one acceptable chapter of the dissertation or equivalent thereof as detailed in the yearly written summary of the dissertation committee annual meeting prepared by the dissertation director and shared with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. (See dissertation regulations.)
  7. Not later than the end of the sixth graduate year (except by permission of the graduate committee, on which see below), the candidate must present a dissertation as evidence of independent research.

Students are guaranteed financial support in the form of tuition and health fees for five years. Funding for an additional sixth year is available through GSAS’ Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Students who cannot apply for the Dissertation Completion Fellowship in their G6 year and who require departmental support to cover tuition and health fees beyond the fifth year must petition the graduate committee for an extension (see below).

Further details on the GSAS Satisfactory Progress Requirement can be found in GSAS Policies. For further details about program milestones please see below.

Petitions for Extension

If a student anticipates being unable to fulfill any of these steps within the specified or expected time period, they must submit a written petition for an extension accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s advisor (dissertation director or the Director of Graduate Studies for pre-dissertation students). The petition should lay out the reasons for the delay, recent progress, and a plan for completion with detailed timeline and departmental support structures.

In making decisions about extensions, the graduate committee, in consultation with the student and their dissertation director, will consider the student’s progress, extenuating circumstances, and in the case of extension of funding beyond the G6 year, any efforts to secure external or internal fellowships.

In case of unsatisfactory progress (that is, if one of the conditions above is not met), students, with the endorsement of the department, may enter a status of “grace” for one year, in which they work to attain satisfactory progress. Students’ funding and teaching may be affected by grace status.

Program Milestones

Years 1 & 2: coursework, languages, & general examinations

Financial Support Details
Tuition & Health Fees paid in full
Academic Year Stipend (Sept–June) monthly stipend payments
  • Full time study on campus is required during years one and two, which means 4 courses each term (16 credits) with a minimum of a "B" grade average.
  • All students take the proseminar (Classic 350).
  • Students generally pass exams in two modern languages according to their programmatic requirements.
  • General Examinations occur at the end of the second year or at the end of the summer before the third year.

Summers after G1 and G2 year: preparation towards general examinations, modern languages work, fieldwork, and specialized summer schools

Financial Support Details
Summer Research Award (July & Aug) two stipend payments

Year 3: special examinations & student teaching

Financial Support Details
Tuition & Health Fees paid in full
Teaching Fellowship (Sept–June) pay for teaching, plus top-up stipend
  • Student teaching is guaranteed for 2/5 per term (four terms of guaranteed teaching in total).
  • Special examinations are to be completed by the start of the seventh term.
  • All students take the Teaching Colloquium (Classic 360) in their fifth and sixth term (2 credits each).

Summer after G3 year: preparation towards the dissertation prospectus

Financial Support Details
Summer Research Award (July & Aug) two stipend payments

Year 4: dissertation prospectus and student teaching

Financial Support Details
Tuition & Health Fees paid in full
Teaching Fellowship (Sept–June) pay for teaching, plus top-up stipend
  • Student teaching is guaranteed for 2/5 per term (four terms of guaranteed teaching in total).
  • The prospectus is to be completed in the fourth year, ideally by the end of the seventh term and at the latest by the end of the eighth term.

Summer after G4 year: dissertation work (chapter 1 or 2), including fieldwork

Financial Support Details
Summer Research Award (July & Aug) two stipend payments

Year 5: dissertation, and fellowship or student teaching

Financial Support Details
Tuition & Health Fees paid in full (but no more top-up stipend or summer funding after year 4)
  • After the approval of the prospectus, at least one chapter per year must be submitted to the dissertation committee. Ideally, students submit one chapter per semester.
  • It is recommended that students apply for fellowships or study abroad opportunities for their fifth year (see Funding for Graduate Students). Those who remain on campus can likely find teaching in Classics or other departments.
  • Student meets with their doctoral committee at least once in the year.
  • Professional development in consultation with the placement committee.

Summer after G5 year: dissertation work (chapter 3 or 4), professional development continues

Year 6 or dissertation completion fellowship year

Financial Support Details
Tuition & Health Fees paid in full
Academic Year Stipend (August–May) paid in full
  • Dissertation completion year. Ideally, the fall is reserved for revisions or at most the writing of the last chapter and job market applications.
  • Dissertation defense.