History and Classics

PhD in Classical Languages

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.

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.

Entrance Requirements

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

Program Requirements


Students must take and pass nine (★27) graduate-level courses, including at least three (★9) in Greek and three (★9) in Latin and two (★6) in History and/or Art and Archaeology [one (★3) may be a directed study in the proposed area of research and one (★3) may be taken outside Classics]; and CLASS 501 (★1).

Modern language requirement:

Students must fulfill modern language requirements in German and in French or Italian. (Completion of a language requirement for a recent MA degree will satisfy the requirement for the PhD.)

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 consist of two parts, one testing translation skills and the other testing general knowledge of the development of the relevant 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 qualifying 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 and final oral examination:

The final oral examination will be on the student’s thesis, the text of which should normally be 200-300 pages in length.