The PhD in classical languages and literatures is founded on mastery of Greek and Latin, develops the student's ability to pursue independent scholarly research through seminars and advanced work on special topics, and culminates with the dissertation.

Students take courses and seminars on major ancient authors and genres, Greek and/or Latin prose composition, and such special topics as literary criticism, epigraphy, paleography and numismatics.

For more information, visit the department's Doctor of Philosophy in Classics webpage.


Candidates for the PhD in classics must meet the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of 42 credit hours of coursework at the 5000 level or above (excluding thesis and accelerated courses). Coursework completed in the MA program at the University of Colorado, or up to 21 credit hours of graduate credit transferred from another institution, may be applied toward this requirement. Courses should be distributed as follows:
    1. Four 7000-level graduate seminars (at least one each in Greek and Latin).
    2. Two courses in ancient history and/or classical archaeology.
    3. One course in either Greek or Latin prose composition.
    4. Two courses in special fields such as epigraphy, law, linguistics, literary theory, medieval studies, palaeography, papyrology, philosophy or religion, as approved by the associate chair for graduate studies.
  2. A minimum of 30 credit hours of doctoral dissertation with no more than 10 of these credit hours in any one semester. No more than 10 dissertation credit hours may be taken preceding the semester of taking the oral comprehensive examination. Up to 10 credit hours may be taken during the semester in which the student passes the comprehensive examination.
  3. A reading knowledge of German and one other modern foreign language (normally Italian or French). Proficiency is tested by a one-hour written translation test using a dictionary. Students may take a foreign language exam at any time by arrangement with the associate chair for graduate studies. Students are encouraged to pass both modern language exams before the end of the second semester in the PhD program.
  4. Preliminary Examinations in Greek and Latin. Two written examinations of four hours each, each consisting of translation and analysis of texts. The translation portion of each exam will consist of two out of three prose passages and two out of three verse passages for a total of about 100 lines. All passages will be drawn from the PhD reading list. Each written examination will be followed by a one-hour oral examination that covers the range of Greek or Latin literature represented by the reading list and tests the candidate's general knowledge of the primary sources and literary history. There will be two administrations of each exam per year, in the fall and spring. Students are encouraged to pass both exams by the end of the second semester in the PhD program (or the second semester beyond the MA). 
  5. Comprehensive Examination. Two written examinations of three hours each on two topics or authors, chosen in consultation with faculty members selected by the student and approved by the graduate committee, to be chosen from the following broad areas: language and literature, ancient history, archaeology, philosophy or religion. In selecting the topics for these examinations, students are required to demonstrate balance in the fields of Greek and Roman culture, as determined by the graduate committee. The written comprehensive examinations will be administered twice per year, typically during the last two weeks of the term. Successful completion of the written examination is followed by a two-hour oral exam on Greek and Roman culture within the area of the student's chosen specialization, which should coincide with the student's intended dissertation topic. Students are encouraged to complete these exams by the end of their fourth semester in the PhD program.
  6. Dissertation Prospectus. To be approved as described in the PhD requirements, preferably by the end of the fifth semester in the PhD program.
  7. Dissertation. To be completed by the end of the tenth semester in the PhD program.
  8. Final Examination (upon submission of dissertation). Two hours of oral defense of the dissertation.

Classics Graduate Courses

The following is a comprehensive list of classics graduate courses which may be used to meet the requirements for the PhD in classics.  

Greek Language and Literature Courses
GREK 5013Topics in Greek Prose3
GREK 5023Topics in Greek Poetry3
GREK 5093Survey of Greek Literature3
GREK 6003Graduate Reading3
GREK 6843Graduate Independent Study1-3
GREK 7013Graduate Seminar in Greek Literature3
Latin Language and Literature Courses
LATN 5014Topics in Latin Prose3
LATN 5024Latin Prose Composition3
LATN 5044Topics in Latin Poetry3
LATN 5084Survey of Roman Literature Part 2: Imperial3
LATN 5094Survey of Roman Literature Part 1: Republican to Augustan3
LATN 5824Latin Teaching Methods: Open Topics3
LATN 6004Graduate Reading3
LATN 6844Graduate Independent Study1-3
LATN 7014Graduate Seminar in Latin Literature3
Literature and History Courses
CLAS 5110Greek and Roman Epic3
CLAS 5120Greek and Roman Tragedy3
CLAS 5130Greek and Roman Comedy3
CLAS 5140The Greek and Roman Novel3
CLAS 5840Graduate Independent Study1-3
CLAS 7840Graduate Independent Study1-3
CLAS 5021Athens and Greek Democracy3
CLAS 5031Alexander the Great and the Rise of Macedonia3
CLAS 5041Classical Greek Political Thought3
CLAS 5061Twilight of Antiquity3
CLAS 5071Seminar in Ancient Social History3
CLAS 5081The Roman Republic3
CLAS 5091The Roman Empire3
CLAS 5101Greek and Roman Slavery3
CLAS 5761Roman Law3
CLAS 7011Seminar in Ancient History3
CLAS 7012Graduate Seminar3
Archaeology Courses
CLAS 5099Ancient Greek Sculpture3
CLAS 5109Ancient Italian Painting3
CLAS 5119Roman Sculpture3
CLAS 5129Aegean Art and Archaeology3
CLAS 5139Greek Vase Painting3
CLAS 5149Greek Cities and Sanctuaries3
CLAS 5159Hellenistic Art and Archaeology3
CLAS 5169Topics in Ancient and Classical Art and Archaeology3
CLAS 5179City of Athens3
CLAS 5189City of Rome3
CLAS 5199Roman Architecture3
CLAS 5209Classical Archaeological Field Methods6
CLAS 5229Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology3
CLAS 5269Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East3
CLAS 6109Topics in Critical Theory and Ancient Art and Archaeology3
CLAS 6119Graduate Independent Study in Classical Art and Archaeology1-3
CLAS 7109Graduate Seminar in Ancient and Classical Art and Archaeology3