This is the first version of the 2022-23 General Catalog. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

The Ph.D. program in classics is intended for students who wish to pursue original research in the wide-ranging field of classics—Greek, Latin, Semitic languages, ancient Mediterranean religions and mythology, Mediterranean archaeology, ancient philosophy, and classical literature from Homer to Plato to the Bible to the Church fathers. Students also are trained to teach languages and literature at the university level. Many students bring their advanced education to such careers as law, counseling, publishing, library science, grant writing, nonprofit organizations, and university administration.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to demonstrate many, if not all of the following:

  • understanding of the vocabulary and grammar of the classical languages they have chosen to study (e.g., Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic) at an advanced level;
  • broad knowledge of the ancient literature corresponding to their chosen languages of study;
  • application of ancient concepts learned to modern problems;
  • ability to conduct original research in various subjects within the field of classics;
  • ability to conduct archaeological field research and teach it at the university level;
  • facility with the writing skills necessary to publish articles and critical research volumes at the peer-review level, as well as popular articles in trade books, magazines, newspapers, and online publications; and
  • facility with the public-speaking skills necessary to present research both in professional academic settings and in popular, public venues.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in classics requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit, including the courses listed below (16 s.h.). Students may count no more than 12 s.h. earned in courses numbered 3000-4999 toward the degree. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 to earn the degree.

Students also must take precomprehensive and comprehensive examinations and write a dissertation.

Courses taken to complete the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Classics do not count toward the degree.

Required Courses

All of these:
CLSG:4076Greek Composition (taken twice in consecutive semesters)2
CLSG:5001Greek Survey I: Archaic to Classical Literature3
CLSG:5002Greek Survey II: Hellenistic to Late Antique Literature3
CLSL:4076Latin Composition (taken twice in consecutive semesters)2
CLSL:5001Latin Survey I: Republican Literature3
CLSL:5002Latin Survey II: Imperial to Late Antique Literature3

The remaining coursework is made up of Department of Classics courses and other courses with approval of the graduate advisor.

Ph.D. Examinations

Ph.D. students must take the foundations exam at the end of their first year. The remaining exams may be taken in any sequence during years two to four. Students must file a request for the fourth-year comprehensive exam at least three weeks before the date of the third and final field exam to be taken. Competence in reading two scholarly languages, such as French, German, or Italian, must be demonstrated by the end of the fourth year of study.

Foundations Exam

The foundations exam is based on a set reading list of broad themes in ancient Mediterranean history, literature, and culture. It consists entirely of take-home and open-book essay questions, which students have two weeks to complete.

Translation Exams

Students take two translation exams in either Greek, Latin, Hebrew/Aramaic, Coptic, or Syriac. Translation exams are scheduled on an individual basis, either one or two per semester, and are based on a set reading list. They are four hours each and taken in the department with dictionary access.

Field Exams

Students take three field exams in either Greek literature, Latin literature, biblical studies, early Christianity, Mediterranean history, Mediterranean archaeology, or ancient world digital humanities. Field exams are scheduled on an individual basis, either one or two per semester, and are based on a set reading list. They consist entirely of take-home and open-book essay questions, which students have two weeks to complete.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

The University of Iowa's classics program is recognized for the excellent program it offers for graduate study in classics. A large proportion of its students pursue advanced degrees and most go on to teach at the college level.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Classics, Ph.D.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
72 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; graduate transfer credits from an accredited institution allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a
Competence in reading two scholarly languages, such as French, German, or Italian must be demonstrated by the end of the fourth year of study. b
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
CLSG:4076 Greek Composition c 1
CLSG:5001 Greek Survey I: Archaic to Classical Literature 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours10
Spring
CLSG:4076 Greek Composition c 1
CLSG:5002 Greek Survey II: Hellenistic to Late Antique Literature 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
Foundations Exam e
 Hours10
Second Year
Any Semester
Field Exams f
Translation Exams g
 Hours0
Fall
CLSL:4076 Latin Composition c 1
CLSL:5001 Latin Survey I: Republican Literature 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours10
Spring
CLSL:4076 Latin Composition c 1
CLSL:5002 Latin Survey II: Imperial to Late Antique Literature 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours10
Third Year
Any Semester
Field Exams f
Translation Exams g
 Hours0
Fall
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours6
Spring
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours6
Fourth Year
Any Semester
Field Exams f
Translation Exams g
 Hours0
Fall
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours6
Spring
Departmental Seminar d 3
Departmental Seminar d 3
 Hours6
Fifth Year
Fall
Prospectus Defense
CLSG:7080
Greek Thesis
or Latin Thesis
4
 Hours4
Spring
CLSG:7080
Greek Thesis
or Latin Thesis
4
Final Exam h
 Hours4
 Total Hours72
a
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
b
Other modern languages may be substituted with the approval of the student's faculty advisor and the department chair.
c
Taken twice in consecutive semesters.
d
Choose from CLSG or CLSL courses numbered 6011-6014, or CLSA:6100.
e
Taken at the end of the first year, the foundations exam is a set reading list of broad themes exams in ancient Mediterranean history, literature, and culture. It consists entirely of take-home and open-book essay questions, which students have two weeks to complete.
f
Students take three field exams in either Greek literature, Latin literature, biblical studies, early Christianity, Mediterranean history, Mediterranean archaeology, or ancient world digital humanities. Field exams are scheduled on an individual basis, either one or two per semester, and are based on a set reading list. They consist entirely of take-home and open-book essay questions, which students have two weeks to complete.
g
Students take two translation exams in either Greek, Latin, Hebrew/Aramaic, Coptic, or Syriac. Translation exams are scheduled on an individual basis, either one or two per semester, and are based on a set reading list. They are four hours each and taken in the department with dictionary access.
h
Dissertation defense.