Graduate Programs

Graduate Degree Options

The following graduate degree options are offered:

MA in Classics (Thesis or Non-Thesis Option)

MA in History (Thesis or Non-Thesis Option)

PhD in History 

MA in Classics (Thesis Option)

The MA in Classics (Thesis Option) aims to prepare students to enter doctoral programs in any of the related fields of classical studies. This option emphasizes the writing of a major research project. While students will have the opportunity to take graduate seminars, including courses in Greek and Latin language, this option is designed for students who are already highly proficient in ancient languages, have a strong foundation in classical studies, and can work independently. This option is designed to be completed in three terms, though many students prefer to complete it in two years.

Program Requirements

45 credits total

Thesis Courses (27 credits)

CLAS 696 M.A. Thesis Research 1 (6 credits)

CLAS 697 M.A. Thesis Research 2 (6 credits)

CLAS 698 M.A. Thesis Research 3 (15 credits)

Complementary Courses (18 credits)

18 credits of Classics or Classics-related courses at the graduate level (500 level or higher). A complete list of Classics and Classics-related courses is available on the Classical Studies website:

At least 6 credits of coursework must be language courses taught in Classical Studies (Ancient Greek, Latin, or Modern Greek) with the CLAS prefix.

Each candidate for the M.A. degree must demonstrate advanced proficiency in both Ancient Greek and Latin OR in Modern Greek by the completion of the M.A. program.


The thesis (maximum 100 pages) is to be written under the supervision of a professor in Classical Studies. It may or may not be related to the subject of the student's research seminar(s). Applicants should contact the professor in their field of interest early to be sure that he/she is willing and able to supervise their thesis work.


MA in Classics (Non-thesis Option)

The MA in Classics (Non-Thesis Option) offers advanced training in the scholarly discipline of classical studies in a variety of fields. The program aims to develop proficiency both in technical areas of the discipline, especially Greek and Latin language, and in critical reading, writing, and research skills, to prepare students to enter doctoral programs in any of the related fields of classical studies. This option is designed for students who need to strengthen their proficiency in ancient languages and other aspects of classical studies, and places greater emphasis on graduate coursework. This option is normally completed in two years.

Program Requirements

45 credits total

Research Courses (18 credits)

CLAS 681 MA Research Paper 1 (3 credits)

CLAS 682 MA Research Paper 2 (3 credits)

CLAS 683 MA Research Paper 3 (3 credits)

CLAS 685D1 Proseminar (3 credits)

CLAS 685D2 Proseminar (3 credits)

CLAS 500 Seminar (3 credits) [replaces CLAS 691]

Complementary Courses (27 credits)

27 credits of 500-level or 600-level courses in Classics, Ancient History, or another classics-related discipline. A list of course that count for the complementary course requirement may be found on the Classical Studies website at

A minimum of 12 credits of complementary courses must be ancient Greek or Latin courses (Note: CLAS 500 [previously CLAS 691] does not count as an Ancient Greek or Latin course).

A maximum of 6 credits of complementary courses may be taken outside the Department of History and Classical Studies, unless approved by the Classical Studies Committee.

Qualifying Year

Candidates lacking the regular requirements in Greek and/or Latin may be admitted to a qualifying year, if the Graduate Committee feels that it would be beneficial to the applicant in acquiring the background knowledge needed to re-apply to the MA program. Normally, candidates in a qualifying year program register for 24 upper-level (300+) credits in Classics.

Note: To continue on for the master's degree, candidates in a qualifying year must re-apply for the MA program during that year. In the qualifying year, a minimum grade of 70% in each course is required, with an overall CGPA of 3.3. Competitive admission procedures apply to all future admissions to the program.

MA in History

Students may complete a master's degree with a focus on ancient Greek or Roman history (or a related area of history) by fulfilling the requirements of the MA Program in History (either thesis or non-thesis option), ideally fulfilling course requirements with graduate courses relevant to the history of ancient Greece and Rome. The MA in History with focus on Ancient History is ideal as a "terminal" program, for students who do not plan to continue on to a PhD program in ancient history. Students who wish to prepare for a PhD program in ancient history are strongly encouraged to apply to the MA in Classics program.

For detailed information on MA History program requirements and application procedures, please visit the Department of History and Classical Studies' MA Program in History page.

PhD in History (focus on Ancient History)

Students may complete a doctoral degree in History with focus on ancient Greece and/or Rome by fulfilling the requirements of the PhD Program in History under the supervision of a professor in Classical Studies, which includes writing a dissertation on a topic in Greek and/or Roman history. 

Students must fulfill the necessary requirements for the program PhD History, as stipulated on the Department of History and Classical Studies PhD Program webpage. In addition, students completing doctoral research in Ancient History are expected to complete their program according to the following guidelines:


Doctoral students must complete twelve credits of graduate coursework. All doctoral students must take HIST 701 (3 credits). The remaining nine credits may be taken at McGill or elsewhere. Students may count up to nine credits of courses completed previously toward the program. PhD students in Ancient History are strongly encouraged to complete some graduate level courses in ancient Greek and/or Latin (e.g. CLAS 610, 612, 620, 622). These courses will help Ancient History students prepare for their comprehensive exams and satisfy their language requirements. 

Comprehensive Examinations

Students in the PhD History program must pass comprehensive examinations in one Major field and two Minor fields. Students in Ancient History will be expected to complete their major field in Ancient History (Greek and Roman History). Their minor fields will typically be chosen from the following list:  Greek Language and Literature, Latin Language and Literature, Classical Archaeology. Ancient History students must complete at least one minor field in language and literature. Ancient History students are expected to complete comprehensive exams by the end of their second year (PhD 3).

Foreign Language Requirements 

PhD students in History are required to pass one foreign language exam (completed by the end of year PhD 3), and should have reading proficiency in any additional foreign languages necessary to conduct research in their field. PhD students in Ancient History must demonstrate proficiency minimally in four languages: ancient Greek, Latin, French and German. Additional research languages (such as Italian, Greek, Spanish) may also be required depending on the student’s research area.

One language requirement, typically French, will be satisfied by the obligatory foreign language exam. The other three obligatory language requirements may be satisfied by translation examination, exemplary marks (A or A-) in advanced/graduate language courses, certificates from language instruction centers (e.g. Goethe Institute), or some other demonstration of proficiency. The supervisor will submit a letter of attestation that the student meets necessary language requirements. 

Additional Information

Students should consult the graduate section of the Department of History and Classical Studies website for additional information on the PhD program requirements and application procedures: