PhD in Classical Languages

The PhD in Classical Languages is a broad-based program leading to a general qualification in Classics. Students are encouraged to explore all aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures in courses, preparation for qualifying exams, and the thesis.

Course requirements, language proficiency, and length of program for the PhD in Classical Languages depends to some extent on the student's previous training and the student's anticipated needs for the chosen area of specialization. Four to six years are normally required to complete the program.

The minimum period of residence is two academic years of full-time attendance at the University of Alberta. Course work can normally be completed in three semesters.

Entrance Requirements

In addition to general Departmental requirements, students must have an MA in Classics or the equivalent.

Program Requirements


★19 graduate level courses including:

Minimum of 9 from the Department of History and Classics at the 500 or 600-level including at least 6 from 500-level GREEK or LATIN (as appropriate to the field of study)

CLASS 501 (★1)

Comprehensive examinations

Students must pass three written comprehensive examinations: one in Greek language and literature; one in Latin language and literature; and one in a special field of the student's choosing that is not directly related to the general field of research. The language and literature examinations are based on the Departmental reading list: and each consists of two parts, one testing translation skills and the other testing general knowledge of the development of the corresponding literature. The third written examination is based on a reading list drawn up by the student and assessors, and consists of one to three broad questions. After the written examinations have been taken, there is an oral examination that covers all three fields.

It is expected that students will take the comprehensive examinations by the middle of their third year.

Candidacy examination

An oral examination on the student's general field of research for the thesis, including consideration of the student's thesis proposal is designed to assess whether the student has (1) an adequate knowledge of the discipline and of the subject matter relevant to the thesis, and (2) the ability to pursue and complete original research at an advanced level.

It is recommended that students take the oral candidacy examination by the end of their third year.

Thesis Registration in 900-level THES. The final oral examination will be on the student's thesis, the text of which should normally be 200-300 pages in length.

Ethics Requirement

Students fulfill three hours of the FGSR Ethics Training Requirement through HIST 602 if it is taken as part of their doctoral program. Students must complete the FGSR Graduate Ethics Training course and any additional required hours. See the Department website for further details.

Professional Development Requirement

Students fulfill four hours of the FGSR Professional Development Requirement through HIST 602 if it is taken as part of their doctoral program. See the FGSR website for more information. 

Modern Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate competence in German and in French or Italian according to the procedures specified in the Departmental Language Requirement.