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Language Requirement

CLS/Classics students fulfill the CLS Language Requirement by taking written exams in Latin and Greek as described below.

Classics Qualifying Exams

During their second and third years, students sit in three exams, each of which is administered by two members of the Classics Department (appointed by the Chair). A Classics faculty member may serve on more than one exam committee for any given student.

1. Language Proficiency Exams (Greek and Latin)
1a. Translation exam in the major language ( Greek or Latin) based on the department reading list.
1b. Translation exam in the minor language ( Greek or Latin) based on a subset from the reading list chosen by the student in agreement with the exam committee.

Each exam lasts for three hours and involves the translation of five passages, four from the reading list (half prose and half verse) and one at sight passage. Students sit in language proficiency exams as soon as they are ready but in no case later than the winter quarter of the third year.

  1. The Special Exam is an oral exam based on a Greek or Latin author, genre, or topic chosen by the student. 

The members of the examining committee should work with the student to reach an agreement about which primary texts will be the subject of the exam. The exam is scheduled for a period of at least one and a half hours and should demonstrate a superior understanding of the special author or topic, texts and their scholarship. The oral exam may be taken at any point after the language exams are passed but in no case later than the spring of the third year.

A student must pass all three exams to advance to candidacy.  A pass requires both examiners to agree.  In the case of a disagreement regarding a written exam, the chair will appoint a third examiner.  In the case of a disagreement regarding the oral, the student will receive a grade of “no pass.” If the student receives a no-pass on any exam, he or she may retake it once.  All three exams must be completed by the end of the third year.  Students must petition for permission to re-take an exam beyond the summer term of the third year. Superior work on any individual exam may be awarded a “high pass” by the consensus of the exam committee.

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