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The Department of Classics will be accepting applications for admission for the 2022-23 academic year in the fall of 2021. Please check the Graduate School website for relevant deadlines. GRE exams are not required for consideration for admission. For further information please contact Professor James Rives, Director of Graduate Studies (jbrivesATemailDOTuncDOTedu); Professor Jennifer Gates-Foster, Director of the Archaeology Program (gatesfosATemailDOTuncDOTedu); and Professor Sharon James, Director of Graduate Admissions (sljamesATemailDOTuncDOTedu).

Application Information

The department begins to make decisions on admissions and financial aid for new students in January of each year. Although applications and recommendation letters are due by the Graduate School’s deadline, it is recommended to upload applications and materials even earlier in order to avoid any problems. The Classics department does not separately consider applications for admission in the spring semester; applicants interested in beginning work in the spring semester must meet the normal deadlines for consideration and to be admitted for the academic year. The department awards both MA and PhD degrees, but it is assumed that all applicants are interested in completing the PhD. We do not offer a terminal MA, so we accept only students who want to pursue their PhD. All students must work toward their MA first. Applicants should check their online application often to see if items have been received by the department.

For detailed information on our department’s graduate programs, please see our Guide to Graduate Student Policies, Procedures, and Resources.  For further information, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies or the Chair of the Archaeology committee. To make arrangements to visit the department please contact Kim Miles, the department’s Student Services Manager.

Each year the department receives 100 to 120 applications to the PhD program, and we enroll between four and six new students. The applications are read by an admissions committee, who make recommendations to the chair. Then, the chair extends offers of admission with financial support.  The department generally does not make offers of admission without financial support.  Applicants should read carefully the requirements for each degree and note how these conditions may differ from those of other universities, including language requirements and the requirements for all students to do some coursework in history and archaeology. The most attractive applications will be those that suggest the student will be ready to complete our requirements and to do interesting and valuable work as soon as possible.

To take full advantage of the department’s program, an applicant ideally should have strong preparation in Latin and Greek, in ancient history and archaeology, and in appropriate modern languages. Although many applicants have not had the opportunity to prepare in all areas, entering students usually have an undergraduate major in Greek, Latin, or archaeology, with supporting courses in other areas such as philosophy, literature, linguistics, art, anthropology, or religion.

A Latin major, for example, might have the equivalent of ten semester-long courses in Latin, six in Greek, and four in history and archaeology; an archaeology major might have six semester-long courses of archaeology, with six of one language, two of the other, and two in ancient history. Applying archaeology PhD candidates without fieldwork experience are rarely successful in gaining admission.

For all applicants it is very good to have at least some acquaintance with German and with French or Italian. The stronger a student’s preparation, the more rapid the progress he or she can make toward the degree. This is especially true with Latin and Greek. In recent years, our most highly ranked applicants for degrees in philology studied an average of ten semester-long courses of Latin and eight semesters of Greek. Similar applicants in archaeology averaged between six and seven semester-long courses in each of the two languages.

Application Process

All prospective students wishing to undertake graduate study at UNC-Chapel Hill should use the online application system. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee for each program to which you are applying. For information, requirements, and application forms, please see the Graduate School website.

Application Deadline

The complete application and all supporting materials must be received online by the Graduate School’s deadline.

Letters of Recommendation

Three electronic letters of recommendation from persons qualified to evaluate your academic and professional qualifications are required. In order to allow for electronic submission and delivery of your recommendations, you must submit the email addresses of your three recommenders during the application process.  Applicants should check their online application often to make sure recommenders have submitted their letters before the deadline.


One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded within the application. Unofficial transcripts must be complete (not select courses), issued in the original language, and be accompanied by certified English translations when applicable. You should obtain a copy of your unofficial transcript version (obtained from a student account) since “official” transcripts do not scan well. Before scanning your unofficial transcript, please read the tips below:

  • Your scanning software should ask you what resolution to scan your document, either before or after the scan. Be sure to scan at no more than 72dpi;
  • Scan multiple page transcripts into one file; and
  • Check file size and do not exceed 1024kb.

If offered admission, one paper official transcript from each university attended will be required. Transcripts of all post- secondary education (including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs) are required to be uploaded in the application. Applicants may submit transcripts before mid-year grades are posted, but final transcripts must then follow. If the institution will not release official transcripts directly to you, they may send the transcripts directly to the Graduate School.

Graduate Record Examination Scores (discontinued)

The GRE General Test is no longer required as part of the application to the Graduate School or the Department of Classics.

Personal Statement Section (Statement of Purpose)

Unless the system allows you to individually upload the four following items, you should upload all items as a single document to the personal statement section. These include,

1. A personal statement which briefly describes your professional goals, your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate work in Classics, your particular interests in our program and faculty, and any other special circumstances relating to your application that might help us in making our decision;
2. a list of fall and spring classes that you plan to take for your senior year as an undergraduate;
3. a list of works you have read in Greek and Latin; and
4. a writing sample or sample of work on a Classical topic totaling 20-30 pages, double-spaced in a font large enough to be legible.

Supplemental Information

The online application will prompt you to upload a curriculum vitae.

Curriculum Vitae

Because transcripts do not provide extensive information on courses, please provide the following information in your CV in four separate tables:

1. All courses in archaeology and ancient art history, including relevant courses taken in other departments/ disciplines, e.g., anthropology.
2. All courses in ancient history.
3. All courses in Greek and Latin, excluding courses that study ancient sources in translation.
4. All other courses in ancient civilizations, including courses that study ancient sources in translation.

For each course, please list:

  • Course ID and number as it appears in transcript (e.g., CLAR 263, HIST 201, GREK 203)
  • If not clear from the abbreviated name, please indicate in which department the course was offered (e.g., Classics, Art History, Anthropology, etc.); if you have taken courses at different schools, please give the name of college or university, etc.
  • Full course name and topic (e.g., Roman art, Roman history, Intermediate Greek, etc.)
  • Name and title or position of main instructor
  • Type of course (lecture, small seminar, fieldwork, etc.)
  • Credit hours
  • Your grade

In addition:

  • If you have taken Latin or Greek in high school, please clearly indicate the number of years and which level you started taking Latin or Greek in college (e.g., Intermediate Greek or Advanced Greek).
  • Please list all field experiences, including excavations, museum internships, etc. For each experience indicate:
    • Site
    • Length of stay or internship, etc.
    • Your position and responsibilities
  • You may also list other professional experience such as participation in conferences, teaching experience, etc.

Writing sample

Please submit a double-spaced writing sample of approximately 20-30 pages that preferably deals with a topic of ancient archaeology or art history.

Personal statement (Statement of Purpose)

Please keep this brief — 1-2 pages, double-spaced — and focus on the following questions:

  • Why do you want to pursue a PhD in Classical Archaeology?
  • Which periods and fields or media do you think you want to focus on?
  • Which professional career do you have in mind?
  • What do you expect from UNC’s graduate program in Classical Archaeology?
There are additional requirements for international applicants.  Please see the Graduate School’s website and note carefully the special instructions for international applicants.  International applicants should also be aware that their status as US aliens may create complications for the financial support that the department is able to provide.  Please contact the department chair for further information.

UNC-CH Nondiscrimination Policy

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to equality of educational opportunity.  The University does not discriminate in offering access to its educational programs and activities on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.  The Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (214 W. Cameron Ave., CB #9160, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-9160 or (919) 966-3576) has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the University’s non-discrimination policies.