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Graduate Studies

The Department of Classics provides required training for two doctoral programs and for the interdisciplinary Graduate Classics Cluster.

PhD Programs

(1) PhD in Ancient Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy

Full details at the Department of Philosophy website.

(2) PhD in Comparative Literary Studies/Classics

We are pleased to announce the establishment of a graduate fellowship in Comparative Literary Studies with Classics as the home department and a focus on Classical Reception Studies starting with students matriculating in fall 2015. Fellows will join the existing cohort of CLS/Classics students.

Full details here.


Overview of the PhD in CLS/Classics

Students concentrate on critical theory and the methodologies of comparative literature and classical reception studies as well as classical languages and literatures; they are offered assistant-teaching opportunities in both undergraduate programs and often write dissertations co-directed by a Classics faculty member and a faculty in another relevant department. CLS/Classics students are key members of the Graduate Classics Cluster and in the course of their studies typically complete one or more of the optional Classics Graduate Certificates (Greek, Latin and Classical Reception Studies).

Coursework (15-18 quarter-courses in total)

  1. CLS Theory Sequence (410, 411, 412) in the first year. 
  2. Six courses in the Classics Department at the 300- or 400-level. At least four of these must involve work with Greek or Latin texts, and at least three must involve extensive study of literary works.
  3. Six to nine courses can be taken in any NU graduate program.

Qualifying Exams

  1. Oral CLS theory exam generally conducted at the end of the first year but in no case later than the start of the second year. Requirements are listed on the CLS website.
  2. Language Proficiency Exams (Greek and Latin) taken as ready but no later than winter quarter of the third year.
    1. Major exam in Greek or Latin based on a pre-circulated department reading list.
    2. Minor exam in the other language based on a subset of texts chosen by the student in agreement with the exam committee.
  3. Special Exam taken by the spring quarter of the third year: an oral exam based on a Greek or Latin author, genre, or topic chosen by the student. 


  1. Prospectus and dissertation requirements follow the CLS guidelines. LINK
  2. A Classics faculty member directs or co-directs the dissertation.
  3. CLS/Classics candidates for the PhD may access the resources of institutional partners of the Classics Cluster, chiefly, Contexts for Classics at the University of Michigan and the University of London (Royal Holloway College)

For full details consult the Classics Department Guide to Graduate Studies in CLS/Classics.

The Graduate Classics Cluster

The Graduate Classics Cluster sustains a robust interdisciplinary community interested in Greek and Roman antiquity. It draws students not only from CLS and philosophy but also political theory, English, art history, theater and drama, history, communication studies and more. Affiliates enjoy a program of research workshops, distinguished visiting speakers, Greek and Latin reading groups, trips to area museums and performances, special events, informal gatherings and access to small grants to support research and conference travel. Affiliates based in any PhD program may elect to complete one or more of the three Graduate Certificates administered by the Classics Cluster. Affiliated students may elect to serve as teaching assistants for undergraduate courses in the department of Classics.

Prospective students should complete a “Cluster Statement” that is part of the Northwestern graduate school application process.

Graduate Certificate in Classical Latin, recognizing advanced philological training. Requirements: Five courses in total from an approved multi-disciplinary list, no more than two of which can be in the student’s PhD department. At least two must be sections of Latin 310 and/or Latin 400.

Graduate Certificate in Ancient Greek, recognizing advanced philological training. Requirements: Five courses in total from an approved multi-disciplinary list, no more than two of which can be in the student’s PhD department. At least two must be sections of Greek 301 and/or Greek 400.

Graduate Certificate in Classical Reception Studies, recognizing advanced training on the relationship between ancient texts, artifacts, images, practices, or figures and their afterlife in later cultural contexts (literature, philosophy, pop culture, art, etc.). Requirements: Five courses in total from an approved multi-disciplinary list. One must be CLA 400, the yearlong Research Workshop in Classical Receptions at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities (CLA 400 can be repeated). No more than two can be from the student’s PhD department.

Institutional Partnerships

The Classics Cluster collaborates with Northwestern's Consortium for the International Reception of Classical Antiquity (known as CIRCA, formerly called the Classical Traditions Initiative), the international Classical Reception Studies Network (add link) and the Contexts for Classics group at the University of Michigan. We have a student exchange arrangement with University of London (Royal Holloway College).

Classics Cluster Participating Faculty

Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch (Chabraja Center for Historical Studies)

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

Ann Gunter (Art History, Classics and AKIH)

Robert Hariman (Communication Studies)

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)

Taco Terpstra (Classics)

Robert Wallace (Classics)

William West (English, Comparative Literature)

John Wynne (Classics, Philosophy)

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