Emphasis in Ancient History, Ph.D. Requirements

This interdisciplinary degree involves significant coursework in the History Department, and is designed for those students who wish their training to emphasize ancient history, without sacrificing the classical languages. The course of study combines graduate courses in Greek and Latin with research seminars in ancient history, and allows students to choose a major and a minor language. Scholars who graduate from this program should be equally at home teaching in a Classics or History Department.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 72 units in classics, history (Greek and Roman) or related subjects on art history, religious studies or philosophy are required.

Classics 201 (Proseminar)
Classics 211, 212, 213 (History of Greek and Latin Literature)
* Note: The three categories below are not mutually exclusive. Some courses fall into two or three categories. Students should consult the Graduate Advisor for guidance.
I. 6 seminars of which 3 must be in ancient Greek and Roman history and 2 must be Classics courses
II. 12 graduate courses in Greek and Latin authors
III. 6 graduate courses in ancient Greek and Roman history of which at least 2 must be taken in History Department. At least 2 courses must be in Greek history and at least 2 in Roman history.

Paper Requirements

Students are asked to submit a copy of each graded paper to the Graduate Advisor as soon as possible after the completion of the course. A paper submitted to satisfy the paper requirement must have received a grade of at least a B+ from the instructor in the course for which it was written.

2 short papers (2000 word minimum, excluding quotations)
6 seminar papers written while in the Ph.D. program (3000 word minimum, excluding quotations)
SignificantPaper on a topic or area that will contribute to the dissertation


Greek Sight Exam (based on reading list)
Latin Sight Exam (based on reading list)
 2 Modern language translation exams a) German b) French or Italian
Greek and Roman History General Exam
Greek or Roman History “field” exam, of a more specialized nature
Greek or Latin Literature Exam, normally the final written exam before the oral.
Oral (qualifying) exam

The Greek and Latin sight exams are based on reading lists somewhat shorter than the straight Classics Ph.D. reading lists, with a greater emphasis on historical authors. The student must designate either Greek or Latin as the “major” language and the other as the “minor”. The reading list will be longer for the “major” language. The standard of translation will be the same as for the straight Classics Ph.D. sight exams.

Requirement checklist

Reading Lists

For general information about reading lists, click here.

Latin as MAJOR language

Greek as MINOR language
Greek as MAJOR language

Latin as MINOR language

Ph.D. Program Rules and Procedures

The sight translation examinations will be given in the Winter quarter only. Students must attempt in the Winter quarter any sight exam not already passed. If a student’s performance on the Winter examination, although not passing, was sufficiently strong to warrant a second attempt, the faculty may grant permission to attempt the examination again in the Spring quarter.Passages on the sight translation examinations are not necessarily drawn from the reading list. Examinations must be finished in 4 hours. Each exam consists of 6 passages, 15-25 lines long, 3 in prose and 3 in poetry. All passages on the examination must be attempted or the examination will not be graded. In order for an examination to be judged as of ‘passing’ level, 4 of the 6 passages must have been translated at the ‘passing’ level or higher.

The Oral Qualifying Examination is taken after all other written examinations have been passed. Ancient History, both Greek and Roman, will be the main component of the Oral Qualifying Exam. The Oral is expected to begin with discussion or further elaboration of the student’s answers on the written Ancient History Field Exam but will also include some follow-up  discussion of the written Greek or Latin Literature exam and other questions intended to          demonstrate adequate general knowledge of Classics and Ancient History.

The Graduate Advisor assigns members of examination committees for all new students. This committee consists of four faculty members, one of whom serves as chair. At least two members of the Ph.D student’s committee read and judge ancient and modern language exams. A third member of the committee is called upon to express an opinion when a student’s performance is problematic.

At some point before taking the area examinations, Ph.D students should confer with the Graduate Advisor to select committee members to reflect the student’s likely area of specialization. This committee also serves as the Oral Qualifying Examination committee and so should include both Hellenists and Latinists.

Three courses is the normal load for a graduate student each quarter, but the minimum number of courses each quarter is two courses plus Classics 597 units (Preparation for Comprehensive Exams) to equal 12 units per quarter.All courses must be taken for letter grade, except Classics 201, 211-212-213.

No student may take a 596 course (Directed Reading and Research) in a language, unless s/he has passed the sight examination in that language. Courses numbered 596, 597, 598, and 599 can only be taken S/U.

On advancing to candidacy, each Ph.D. student has a Dissertation Committee which may or may not be different from the Examination Committee. The Dissertation Committee consists of four members; three must be members of the UC Academic Senate and at least two (including the chair or co-chair) must be members of UCSB’s Classics Department. It has been the practice of the Classics Department to ask a professor from allied UCSB departments or from Classics departments at other universities to serve on the Dissertation Committee. The outside member of this Committee is chosen by the student after previous consultation with the Chair of the Dissertation Committee.Candidates writing their dissertations, who are in residence and receiving financial support, should submit a report on their progress each year to the Chair of their Dissertation Committee. This report should be submitted before financial award decisions are made (i.e. normally by the middle of Spring quarter).

The Oral Defense of the dissertation is administered by the student’s Dissertation Committee. It is a public event (i.e. the faculty and anyone interested may attend).

Progress toward the Degree
Students are encouraged to complete all coursework and exams within two years of entering if they enter with an M.A. degree.To facilitate course selection that will lead to timely progress toward the dissertation, post MA students should obtain approval of quarterly schedules by the graduate advisor.

The department sets 7 years as the normative time for completion of the Ph.D. from time of entry into a graduate program. Students are required to advance to doctoral candidacy within four years after entry into a graduate program.

Students’ performance in the program is reviewed toward the end of each year by the Graduate Advisor and the Chair of the student’s committee. The student may expect a frank and fair evaluation, with specific recommendations as appropriate.