All about an advanced degree in Classics


  • All about an advanced degree in Classics

    A Classics degree can help students gain the historical context, conceptual thought and experience in the humanities they need to pursue a dynamic career in law, education, journalism and civil science. Although one can begin a fulfilling career with a bachelor’s degree in Classics alone, a master’s or doctorate program are beneficial and often necessary depending on one’s intended career path.

    Many schools offer master’s degrees in this dynamic field, and plenty also have doctoral programs in which students can become subject matter experts. If you are enticed by the history of ancient civilizations and the products they have produced – art, literature, architecture, philosophy and such – find out more about what you will learn in a Classics graduate program and what types of programs are out there.

    Topics covered in a Classics master’s degree

    Classics programs require students to complete courses that cover a number of historical periods, such as:

    • Classical civilization in Greece and Rome
    • Ancient Greek language and literature
    • The fall of the Roman Empire
    • Medieval Latin
    • Modern Greek language and history

    Though many graduate-level courses cover these historical periods at broad levels, they just as often hone in on specific topics. For instance, a university may offer a Greek literature course that covers the works of Homer alone. There may also be a class on popular art and design forms during the Roman Empire.

    Some courses dive into the social issues concerned with the classical periods. An example of this is one of the courses in Brown University‘s Classics program, “Decolonizing Classical Antiquity: White Nationalism, Colonialism and Ancient Material Heritage,” which deconstructs our conceptions of the classical eras in terms of colonial, national and racial influences. Additionally, Duke University‘s Classics program offers a course called “Women in Antiquity.” This class, and other similar ones offered by different universities, delves into gender politics and women’s experiences across classical eras.

    Different advanced degrees in Classics

    Once you’ve decided to get a master’s or doctoral degree in Classics, you might be wondering what type of program best fits your academic goals. While there are plenty of general Classics degrees that allow individuals to study the various nuances of ancient civilizations, other programs hone in on concentrations within this field.

    The University of California, Berkeley has both a master’s and doctorate program in Classical Archaeology, in which students can study the material remains of the ancient worlds. By examining these objects, archaeology students can learn more about the individual and collective experiences of different cultures. This program may appeal to prospective Classics students who want to go on to become archaeologists, museum curators or post-secondary professors.

    The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a master’s of arts in teaching Latin and Classical Humanities. This advanced degree is the right choice for classical enthusiasts and historians who want to use their passion to teach in a K-12 setting. This two-year program offers graduates Initial Licensure in the state of Massachusetts, giving them the credentials to teach the humanities immediately after graduation.

    Some universities even offer dual master’s or doctoral programs in Classics. For instance, Yale University‘s Classics department offers the following combined programs for students who would like to be well-versed in academic fields aside from Classics alone:

    • Classics and Comparative Literature
    • Classics and History
    • Classics and Philosophy
    • Classics and Renaissance Studies

    Typical requirements for a graduate degree in Classics

    Each university has its own specific requirements for admitting students into their master’s and doctoral programs. Generally, a graduate Classics program will require candidates to have and complete each of the following:

    • Bachelor’s degree in Classics or a related field
    • Proficiency in Latin and/or Greek language
    • GRE
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement

    If you’d like to pursue an advanced degree in Classics, browse through our comprehensive list of graduate schools to find the right program to meet your academic and personal expectations.

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