M.A. in Classics

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The Department of Classics at Notre Dame offers a funded, 2-year M.A. in Classics program, covering the language, literature, history, archaeology, and culture of the Greco-Roman world, as well as its reception.  The chief purpose of the M.A. in Classics is to prepare students for doctoral study in these or other related areas.  The program also provides a depth and breadth of exposure to classical antiquity worthwhile in its own right.


Over a dozen regular and concurrent faculty of the Department of Classics offer specialties in a wide range of fields covering Greek and Latin literature, Greek and Roman culture and history, linguistics, archaeology, and material culture from Archaic Greece through Late Antiquity, as well as the reception of antiquity in various forms.


Our students benefit from the rich and round intellectual environment created by strong graduate programs at Notre Dame, such as the M.A. in Early Christian Studies (operated jointly by the Departments of Classics and Theology), the Ph.D. in the Medieval Institute, the Ph.D. in Philosophy (which offers ancient philosophy), the Ph.D. in Political Science (with expertise in ancient political theory), and the M.T.S. and Ph.D. in Theology (with strengths in late antiquity and patristics).  There is also a recently-established group for Byzantine Studies.


Full tuition scholarships, stipends, and health insurance subsidies are available. We normally admit two to three students per year.


Our application deadline is January 15. For questions about details of the application process, please visit the Graduate’s School’s website: http://graduateschool.nd.edu/admissions/



M.A. in Classics Curriculum:


  • Four Survey courses in Greek and Latin Literature, one per semester; 
  • One Greek and/or Roman History Seminar;
  • Topics and Methods in Classical Studies (a 1-credit course);
  • Four elective advanced-level courses in Latin or Greek language and literature;
  • Two additional elective courses in the following areas: Greek or Roman history; archaeology and material culture; philosophy; Latin or Greek language and literature; or other elective approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.


M.A. in Classics Requirements:


  • Students have the option of writing a Master’s thesis during their second year, or passing a written and oral examination in their fourth semester. 
  • Students must pass Greek and Latin translation examinations in their fourth semester, based on a standard reading list.
  • Students will be required to demonstrate reading proficiency in either French, German, or Italian, by passing the reading examination set by the relevant department or by an equivalent display of competence as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.



Frequently Asked Questions:


What sort of preparation do you look for from applicants?


We normally seek to admit students with a B.A. in Classics or a related field, and who have completed two to three years of each language (Classical Greek and Latin) prior to enrolling, so that they can immediately step into our sequence of graduate-level survey courses.  There are other factors that go into the decision—e.g. writing ability, areas of interest, potential based on recommendation letters, etc.  But, given that we usually bring in only two to three people each year from an applicant pool of around thirty, a relative lack of language background tends to work against an applicant. 


If I don’t have the ideal language background, what do you suggest?


If you have not yet begun one or both languages, take a look at a summer language institute (including our own).  An intensive beginning course is a great way to learn the language thoroughly and quickly.  You might also consider a Post-Bac program such as those offered at the University of Pennsylvania, Iowa, UCLA, or Loyola-Chicago (among others).  These programs concentrate, for one or two years, on reading Greek and Latin.  They are often not funded, so finances can be an issue; but if you can find a way to support yourself, they can quickly fill the language gap.


Is the GRE required?


The GRE is required for admission to the Classics MA program. 


Is there a minimum GRE score required?


No – the higher the better, obviously, but we do not require a certain score for consideration.  We do not generally pay much attention at all to the Quantitative score.


For the application, under "Program Upload," what is meant by "List of Original Text"?


This should be a list of texts the student has read in Latin and/or Greek.


How long should my writing sample be?


At least eight pages, and no more than fifteen pages.


What sort of funding package do you offer?


Normally, every student we admit receives a full tuition waiver plus an annual stipend, which ranges from $15,000 to $21,800, but in some cases could reach up to $25,600, depending on teaching duties.  Note that the cost of living in South Bend is lower than in many urban areas (and yes, there are things to do here!).  There are also subsidies available toward health care premiums.


You normally admit three or four students per year—this seems like a small program.


​Yes, at any given time we usually have six students in our program.  This means many of your classes will be small, allowing more interaction with faculty (and less competition for resources).  But we also benefit from the presence of allied graduate programs, most notably the Master’s in Early Christian Studies and the Ph.D. in Medieval Studies.  So, despite the small size of our cohort, there is a healthy community of graduate students at Notre Dame with interests and expertise in the classical world.​


Do I need to choose a specific track or emphasis?


No, not in a technical sense.  The goal, of course, is that you will discover or confirm a specific area of interest which you could pursue at the next level: literature, history, material culture, philosophy, reception; Greek/Roman; a certain period; or a particular theoretical approach.  We are normally able to offer a range of courses at an advanced level which will help you formulate your ideas. But there are no formal mechanisms or official declarations which need to be made.


Will I gain any teaching experience as part of the program?


Yes.  As part of the normal academic requirements of the program, regardless of their funding, students are expected to serve each semester either as instructors of record (normally for a section of Beginning Latin), teaching assistants (sometimes including their own Friday tutorial session), or research assistants for faculty members.  The specific assignments are determined by the Director of Graduate Studies after discussions with each individual student and with the Department.


What do graduates of the program go on to do after finishing?


We have sent our graduates on to Ph.D. programs in Classics at Yale, Columbia, Oxford, Ohio State, and Colorado.  Others have gone on to teach Latin (and in some cases Greek) at high schools throughout the country, both public and private.  So far, we have successfully placed all our ​graduates who have sought admission ​into Ph.D. programs or a high school teaching​ position.



If you have questions or need more information about the M.A. in Classics program, please email:


Hildegund Muller
Director of Graduate Studies