Graduate Studies in Classics

Why McGill?

We welcome applications from students interested in graduate studies in any area of classics, including philology, literature, history, philosophy, drama and performance, archaeology and religion. The MA Program in Classics is designed to prepare students for PhD programs in any field related to Classical Studies. Our program is flexible and inclusive, and it is set up to accommodate students from various academic backgrounds and levels of preparation. There is even an accelerated option for applicants with limited exposure to classical languages. We have a successful track record placing students in the most competitive doctoral programs in North America, including Princeton, University of Chicago, University of Southern California, New York University, and Harvard.

Thesis option or Non-Thesis Option?

Master's students in the Classics program have the option of writing a master's thesis under the direct supervision of a member of the Graduate Faculty (Thesis option), or completing a learned master's degree that stresses graduate coursework (Non-Thesis option). Both options emphasize rigorous training in Greek and Latin language and the development of research methods and skills. The thesis option is designed for students with very strong background preparation in ancient languages, who wish to refine their research and other technical skills. Incoming students in the non-thesis option usually have advanced standing in both ancient Greek and Latin. The non-thesis option is a course-intensive program designed for students who need to improve their ancient languages and other research and technical skills. The non-thesis option is recommended for most incoming MA students. Incoming students in the non-thesis option usually have advanced proficiency in at least one of the ancient languages and can enrol immediately in graduate Greek or Latin courses. 

What is the Accelerated track?

The accelerated track is designed specifically for students who have no background in ancient Greek or ancient Latin, and even for those who have limited or no background in both ancient languages. Many graduate programs in classical studies, especially PhD programs but also many MA program, require incoming students to have two, three, or even four years of both Greek and Latin in order to be accepted. However, it is not unusual for students to become interested in ancient Greek or Roman history, philosophy, literature, art or archaeology who were unable to obtain proficiency in Greek or Latin during their undergraduate program, or who did know until the end of their BA that ancient language training is necessary for graduate studies in any field related to classics. The accelerated track is designed to prepare students with limited language training to be competitive for top PhD programs within seven terms (including summer).

How does it work? A student in the accelerated track enrols in the Summer Intensive Language Program, registering in Intensive Introductory Ancient Greek or Intensive Introductory Latin--or both--depending on the student's needs. The student then enrols in the MA Classics (non-thesis option) in the fall term, taking a combination of graduate seminars and ancient language courses. By the end of the second year, the student will have advanced standing in both Greek and Latin as well as completing the degree requirements for their MA program.

What are the program requirements?

Refer to the Graduate Programs page for details on the program requirements.

What subjects can I research?

Main areas of graduate supervision include:

  • Archaic Greek History and Poetry
  • Classical Greek History and Literature
  • Hellenistic History and Literature
  • Roman Republican History
  • Early Imperial Roman Literature
  • Greek and Roman Religion
  • Greek and Roman Historiography
  • Comparative ancient history (Greece, Rome and China)
  • Classical archaeology