Graduate Programs in Classics
The Department of Classics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill combines strengths in traditional philology, archaeology and material culture, and more recent critical approaches in a way that allows graduate students to gain a broad, rich, and interdisciplinary understanding of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It offers graduate programs leading to the M.A. in Greek, Latin, and Classical Archaeology and to the Ph.D. in Classics, Classics with Historical Emphasis, Classical and Medieval Latin, and Classical Archaeology. Please note that there is no terminal M.A. program; the department only admits students who plan to complete the Ph.D., although all students must complete the M.A. before being advanced to the Ph.D. program.
Each of these degree programs has its own specific departmental requirements. Please note that the Graduate School has requirements for graduate students of its own, largely related to residency, registration, and application for candidacy for a degree. The department tries to bring these to our students' attention, but ultimately it is the student's responsibility to see that all such requirements are satisfied. All students should be sure to carefully read both the Record of the Graduate School and the Graduate School Handbook. Please pay special attention to the calendar of deadlines, the account of degree requirements, and the statement of general regulations.
The University is committed to equality of educational opportunity. It is the policy of the University and of the Department of Classics not to discriminate against applicants, students, or employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, or handicap. Such discrimination is in most cases also prohibited by federal law. Any complaints alleging failure of this institution to follow this policy should be brought to the attention of the University’s Affirmative Action Officer at (919) 966-3576.
Greek and Latin have been an important part of the University's curriculum since it opened as the nation's first state university in 1795. Graduate degrees in Classics were first offered toward the close of the nineteenth century. After the Second World War, the graduate program expanded, attracting students from around the country -- chiefly because of the presence of such distinguished faculty as B. L. Ullman, Robert Getty, T. R. S. Broughton, and Henry Immerwahr. In the latter decades of the twentieth century many students worked under the direction of such scholars as George Kennedy, Kenneth Reckford, Philip Stadter, and Jerzy Linderski. (A full list of theses and dissertations from 1910 onwards is available here). The program has been widened and deepened to the point that permanent faculty positions currently number 13, while colleagues in departments such as Art, English and Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies also contribute to the program. Strong institutional support for Classics has kept these numbers up in the new century with hires at both the junior and the senior level: half of the current faculty members in Classics joined the department within the last decade or so.
Extensive academic resources and opportunities on and off campus enhance the experiences and training of our graduate students. On campus, UNC provides a variety of research resources to Classics students. Davis Library, just around the corner from the department, holds one of the largest Classics collections in North America, and the B. L. Ullman Classics Collection, located in the department itself, is a reference library catering to the everyday needs of students and faculty alike. The Ancient World Mapping Center, overseen by Richard Talbert of the History department, is a unique research institution exploring the spatial dimensions of the Greek and Roman world and the home of the Barrington Atlas.
The Classics department also participates in a variety of inter-departmental and inter-institutional programs. The Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies or MEMS comprises some sixty faculty members from 10 different departments who cooperatively explore the Medieval and Early Modern world from an interdisciplinary perspective. The department also has a consortium with Duke University’s Department of Classical Studies. Students in Classics at each university may take classes from either Classics department. Faculty from Duke and UNC sometimes team-teach courses, and faculty from one institution can serve on the M.A. and Ph.D. committees of students at the other university. Duke University is a mere eight miles away, and a shuttle bus runs between the two campuses every half hour during term.
The Classics department also participates in the university-wide strategic partnership with King’s College London. The connection between the two department provides opportunities for faculty and students on both sides to visit the partner department and to develop joint research initiatives. Faculty members on both sides can serve on M.A. and Ph.D. committees of the partner department, thus enhancing the intellectual diversity and richness of each. Other opportunities for study abroad, including the American School for Classical Studies in Athens, the American Academy in Rome, and the American Research Institute in Turkey, are described under ‘Overseas Study’; the recently established Berthe Marti fellowship provides support for dissertation research at the American Academy in Rome. The strong resources, in combination with the demanding program, enable students to meet successfully the educational and research challenges of the 21st century. The department has a good record of placing its graduates; for a full list of graduate alumni, click here.
Students with good preparation can complete the M.A. in two years and the Ph.D. after an additional three or four. At present M.A. candidates take their examinations during the second year of work and finish their theses by the end of their fourth semester. Those students who continue on for their Ph.D. take their doctoral written examinations in their fourth year and are then able to begin concerted work on their dissertations. Students who have written an M.A. thesis elsewhere may petition the department for permission to bypass the writing of an M.A. thesis and proceed directly toward the Ph.D. M.A. candidates must demonstrate reading facility in one modern foreign language (German, French, or Italian), and Ph.D. candidates must do so in two (German and either French or Italian). For that reason the department prefers that incoming students already have reading knowledge of at least one relevant modern language.
The department has a special concern in the training of teachers, and it views teaching assistantships as invaluable preparation for one’s professional career. Most students gain teaching experience from the very start of their program, normally in their first year as instructional assistants or teaching associates, working in a course taught by a faculty member, but normally by their second year as teaching fellows, teaching their own courses under the supervision of a faculty member. In this way students become experienced in all the aspects of teaching courses in undergraduate Latin, classical civilization, and Greek and Latin literature in translation.
Classical Archaeology at UNC has remained a nationally recognized strength of the Department of Classics for over 50 years. The graduate and undergraduate programs emphasize the study of material culture as a vital component of research and teaching in classical studies, Mediterranean archaeology, and ancient Near Eastern studies. The Department participates in the interdepartmental Curriculum in Archaeology. The unusual richness and diversity of archaeology faculty at UNC -- across five different units in the College of Arts and Sciences –- has allowed us to shape cross-disciplinary research and teaching objectives.
Classical Archaeology at UNC is represented by six faculty members across three different departments—Classics, Art, and Religious Studies—and supported by five additional classical archaeologists at neighboring Duke University through the Duke-UNC Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology. Ten additional archaeologists in the Department of Anthropology and Research Laboratories of Archaeology offer a range of complementary courses in archaeological method and theory, landscape archaeology, complex societies, historical ecology, ceramics, palaeoethnobotany, and biological anthropology.
One goal of the program is to develop innovative field projects that engage faculty and students in collaborative research and teaching. Recent collaboration between the departments of classics and anthropology has led to the design and implementation of a multi-year archaeological field project on Crete, funded principally by two successive N.E.H. grants and a collaborative N.S.F. grant awarded to Classics. The Azoria Project has incorporated teaching and research faculty from both departments — leading to collaborative papers and publications — as well as a field school program involving undergraduate and graduate students from both departments and across the college.