The Graduate Program

Students entering the program in or after Fall 2017, please see the Graduate Handbook 2017-2018 and the overview below. 

Classics Graduate Handbook 2023-24

Students who entered before Fall 2017, please use the resources at the bottom of this page.


In addition to the Ph.D. degree in Classics, the department offers optional Emphases in Ancient History and in Literature and Theory. These are both, of course, still Ph.Ds in Classics. The Ph.D. in Classics with emphasis in Ancient History involves significant coursework in the Department of History. The emphasis is designed for those students who wish their training to emphasize ancient history without sacrificing the study of classical languages. The Ph.D. in Classics with emphasis in literature and theory is designed for students who wish to combine solid training in the classical languages with broader study in literature and theory. Students in this program will take graduate courses in literary theory, gender studies, cultural theory, or other approved areas in cognate disciplines on campus.

Students considering these two Emphases should understand that the ‘regular’ Classics PhD does in fact leave significant room for coursework in ancient history and literary (and other) ‘theory.’ It is certainly not implied that the regular PhD is history-less and theory-averse. On the contrary, Classics PhDs on the job market are typically expected to know their way around relevant literary and other ‘theory’ and to know enough ancient history to ground their studies appropriately in the relevant culture. The Emphases therefore are intended for those who want to go beyond this: for example, students who want to focus their studies on ancient history or theoretical issues and are open respectively to possible future employment in a History or (say) Comparative Literature department as well as jobs in Classics departments.

Candidates for graduate degrees must meet university degree requirements found in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog as well as departmental requirements.

Applicants must meet the university requirements for admission described in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog in addition to fulfilling the departmental admission requirements stated below. Applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program in Classics should have an undergraduate major or equivalent in Greek, Latin, or Classics. Other students may be admitted if they demonstrate proficiency in ancient Greek and Latin, but they will be required to make up any deficiencies in their undergraduate training while completing the regular coursework.

A candidate for admission to the Ph.D. must present a B.A. in classics or related discipline. We expect the candidates to have completed at least 2 years of Greek and Latin. Students applying for admission to the Ph.D. program who hold an M.A. follow the Ph.D. admission program procedures. Admission is dependent upon proof of the applicant’s ability to do research at the Ph.D. level.

The requirements for admission to the Ph.D. in classics with an emphasis in ancient history are the same as those spelled out above. It is expected that students will enter with upper-division undergraduate classes in Greek or Roman history.

The requirements for admission to the Ph.D. in classics with an emphasis in literature and theory are the same as those listed above for the regular degrees in classics. It is generally expected that students will enter with at least one upper division undergraduate class in Greek or Roman history, and one introductory course in literary, cultural, or gender theory. Students who are admitted without the requisite undergraduate preparation are expected to take equivalent courses as soon as possible after entering the program.

Graduate study is supported by various sources including the department’s Argyropoulos Fellowship in Hellenic Studies.

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in Classics may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Translation Studies


The Department of Classics does not offer an autonomous M.A. program. Admission is to the Ph.D. program only. Master’s degrees may be awarded on an individual basis in the case of students who wish to leave the Ph.D. program prior to completion, providing they have fulfilled the necessary requirements.

Graduate Programs prior to Fall 2017

  1. The Graduate Handbook 2016-2017
  2. Program requirements, including the reading lists: