Department of Classics

Ephesus Boulevard
Curetes Way, Ephesus

Graduate Studies

Graduate Study Through the Classics Cluster At Northwestern


The Department of Classics participates in graduate education through the Classics Cluster, a pathway in the interdisciplinary cluster initiative of the Graduate School . Our faculty collaborate with other units to offer interdisciplinary graduate training in classical studies leading to the doctorate in a variety of fields (e.g., philosophy, political science, comparative literary studies, religion, theatre and drama, English, Art History).

To matriculate in classics at Northwestern, students must undertake the PhD in another field and affiliate with the Classics Cluster. Classics is not an option at the application point for admission to a doctoral program, though students are encouraged to identify an interest in the Classics Cluster in their application for admission to a doctoral program. 

The faculty in Classics at Northwestern has particular strength in Greek and Latin poetry and drama, Greek history and politics, ancient philosophy, visual culture, mythology, and reception studies.


Examples of interdisciplinary study through the Classics Cluster leading toward the doctorate in various fields

Ancient Philosophy: Students may pursue ancient philosophy as an area of specialization in the department of philosophy. The department of philosophy is affiliated with the Chicago-Area Consortium in Greek and Roman Philosophy. Doctoral candidates in philosophy may elect to improve their interdisciplinary training by serving as teaching assistants for undergraduate courses in classics as well as in philosophy. Core faculty: Richard Kraut, John Wynne, David Ebrey, John Schafer

Comparative Literary Studies: Students pursuing the doctorate in CLS may identify classics as their home department. Core faculty with research interests in classical studies include Marianne Hopman (Classics), Barbara Newman (Classics & English), Sam Weber (German), William West (English). Faculty contact: Marianne Hopman

Political Theory: The subfield of political theory in the department of political science has strength in ancient political thought and politics. Students interested in this pathway are encouraged to undertake interdisciplinary work with the affiliated faculty in various fields. Core faculty: Sara Monoson (Political Science & Classics), Richard Kraut (Philosophy & Classics), Robert Hariman (Communication Studies), Sam Weber (German and Comparative Literary Studies), Michael Loriaux (Political Science), Robert Wallace (Classics). Faculty contact: Sara Monoson

Theatre and Drama: Students interested in antiquity may seek to pursue the doctorate through the interdisciplinary program in theatre and drama. Core faculty who work on antiquity: Susan Manning (English & Theatre). Additional faculty in other fields who work on ancient drama: Marianne Hopman (Classics and Comparative Literary Studies), Reg Gibbons (Classics and English), William West (English). See Theatre & Drama site for full list of Theatre & Drama faculty. Faculty contact: TBD

Medieval Christianity: An area of specialization in the department of religion that is flexible and takes advantage of faculty strength within the department as well as ancillary fields of the humanities and social sciences. Faculty contact: Barbara Newman (English, Classics, & Religion)

English: Students interested in Medieval Latin literature can pursue the doctorate in English. Core faculty include Barbara Newman, Suzie Phillips, Katy Breen and Kasey Evans. Students interested in the classical themes in later literature, including reception studies, may also wish to consider doctoral study in English. Core faculty in this area include Reginald Gibbons, Susan Manning, William West, and Regina Schwartz.

Reception Studies: An area of specialization focusing on the relationship between an ancient text, artifact, image, practice, or figure and its reception in later cultural contexts (literature, philosophy, pop culture, art, etc.) Faculty contacts: Sara Monoson (Political Science and Classics), Marianne Hopman (Classics and Comparative Literary Studies).



Participation in the Classics Cluster signifies that a student’s program of study includes examination of select sources in Greek and Roman antiquity and their reception in later periods. This training is offered as a means to deepen dissertation projects and to prepare students to teach broad-based humanities courses and to develop interdisciplinary intellectual sensitivities essential for successful participation in collaborative projects.  Participants can choose simple affiliation or the completion of a certificate.

Simple affiliation requires the completion of three courses according to a specific scheme (see below). The optional (recommended) completion of the Certificate recognized on the transcript requires the completion of five courses according to a specific scheme (see below, some courses may ‘double count’ with a home department’s requirements).  

The Classics Cluster supports three Graduate Certificates, which are recognized on the transcript. These are,

1) Graduate Certificate in Ancient Greek, recognizing that a Classics Cluster affiliated student has completed advanced philological training in classical Greek (according to a plan as outlined below)

2) Graduate Certificate in Classical Latin, recognizing that a Classics Cluster affiliated student has completed advanced philological training in classical Latin (according to a plan as outlined below)

3) Graduate Certificate in Classical Reception Studies, recognizing that a Classics Cluster affiliated student has completed advanced training in this emerging interdisciplinary field 


How to affiliate

Affiliation with the Classics Cluster is by student initiative.  A candidate for admission to Northwestern may indicate in his or her application materials an interest in affiliating with the cluster upon enrollment and be a candidate for Mellon funding though the Cluster Initiative (though admission remains through the portal of a specific doctoral program). But we stress that any student holding a Northwestern graduate fellowship or any other source of funding may elect to affiliate with the cluster.  Students in both these categories form a single cohort of multidisciplinary graduate students interested in classical studies broadly either as a strong secondary area of expertise or as the area in which they expect to complete their dissertation research.


Course Requirements for Affiliation with the Classics Cluster


A student affiliates with the Classics Cluster by taking three courses by the end of their second year according to the following scheme (courses may ‘double count’ toward their home discipline’s course requirements when appropriate).


At least one core course in Classical Receptions Research--This course examines classical sources (works of literature, philosophy, a historical event, art objects, architecture, an institution, etc.) and set of exemplary moments of later engagement with it.  The class draws out ways in which the classical sources and the context under discussion stand in a relationship of reciprocal provocation, with a view toward appreciating how understanding of the classical sources can illuminate the later context and how the that context can illuminate the classical sources.

Two additional courses from an approved list so that the three courses in total represent at least 2 of 3 designated areas (Philosophy, Literature, Culture) are taken. The area distribution is to ensure a measure of breadth of exposure. A second “core course” may count in the appropriate area.


Archived List of Approved Courses


Course Requirements for Completion of the Certificate in Greek, Latin or Classical Receptions

1. Classics Cluster affiliates can earn a Certificate in Ancient Greek or Classical Latin by successfully completing advanced philological training by the end of the third year according to the following plan,

The certificate requires completion of both (a) and (b),

(a) the requirements of the classics cluster affiliation as outlined above (3 courses)

(b) two additional courses for credit from our approved list such that   (1) the total classes taken numbers five and (2) at least two of these are 300-level or above Classical Greek/Classical Latin courses

Courses may ‘double count’ towards the course requirements of the student’s home department if the home department permits. Students may petition to count courses taken at a partner institution during an approved exchange.  

*It is possible to earn a certificate in both Greek and Latin if the five Classics Cluster courses include two Greek courses at the 301 level or above and two Latin courses at the 310 level or above.


2. Classics Cluster affiliates can elect to earn a Certificate in Classical Receptions by successfully completing training in classical receptions studies by the end of the third year according to the following plan,

The certificate requires completion of both (a) and (b),

(a) the requirements of the classics cluster affiliation as outlined above

(b) two additional courses for credit from an approved list


Language requirements for Affiliates (not certificate seekers)


There are no language requirements for affiliation with the Classics Cluster. Students complete language training according to the requirements of their main disciplinary home department. 

Classics Graduate Cluster Participating Faculty


David Ebrey (Philosophy, Classics)

Reginald Gibbons (English, Classics, Spanish & Portuguese, Center for the Writing Arts)

Ann Gunter (Art History, Classics, and Kaplan Humanities Institute)

Robert Hariman (Communication Studies)

Bonnie Honig (Political Science)

Marianne Hopman (Classics, Comparative Literary Studies)

Richard Kraut (Philosophy, Classics)

S. Sara Monoson (Political Science, Classics), Cluster Director

Barbara Newman (English, Classics, Religion)

John Schafer (Classics)

Francesca Tataranni (Classics)

Robert Wallace (Classics)

William West (English, Comparative Literature)

John Wynne (Classics, Philosophy)

Claudia Zatta (Classics)