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Requirements for the Master's Degree Program


Brandeis' Master of Arts program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies through our Department of Classical Studies is unique in our offering of two tracks, designed to allow students to choose a program best suited to their future goals. Courses offered in the master's degree program investigate the ancient classical world both locally in the domain of one country (such as Greece and Italy) and more regionally (such as the Mediterranean as a whole). Students are closely mentored throughout their program by our esteemed faculty

Students in both Track 1 (Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations) and Track 2 (Ancient Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures) are required to complete CLAS 250b, the graduate capstone course, which is taught by all members of the Department of Classical Studies. This foundational course delves into the methodologies, perspectives, and theories implicit in the field of Classical Studies. A full listing of courses and descriptions can be found on the University Registrar's website.

Track 1: Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations

Track 1 focuses more on classical art and archaeology, Greek and Roman history, courses in classical literature in translation, and classical mythology, and less on the languages and literatures of ancient Greek and Latin in the original. It is designed for students wishing to further their grounding in classical studies in a non-foreign language based program. We welcome students who want to achieve the master's degree either for professional development or in preparation for Ph.D. programs in Classical Art and Archaeology or Ancient History that encourage a master's degree for admission.

A full listing of courses and descriptions can be found on the University Registrar's website. Requirements for admission to Track 1 can be found under Admissions and Aid.

Other features of Track 1 include:

  • No language requirement (in ancient Greek or Latin or in a modern language) for admission or for completion of the program. If a student decides to study Greek or Latin, courses at level 30 or higher count towards completion of the degree.
  • Courses for Track 1 can be in ancient languages (Greek and Latin above level 30), literature (in original languages or in translation), history, mythology, religion, art and/or archaeology. Faculty in the Department of Classical Studies must teach at least five of the required eight courses.
  • Three courses covering other ancient civilizations can be chosen (in consultation with the faculty advisor) as electives counting toward the eight required courses. 
  • Track 1 students must take CLAS 250B (Capstone Course), and are required to write a 20-30 page master's paper of professional quality to be read by two members of the classical studies faculty. The paper should demonstrate competency in one of the subfields of classical studies, for example:
    • Greek and/or Roman Art/Archaeology
    • Greek and/or Roman History
    • Latin Language and Literature in translation
    • Greek Language and Literature in translation
    • A specialized area of the student's choice, made in consultation with a faculty mentor on one of several topics in which the department has strength, for example, Classical Mythology, Homeric studies, Vergilian studies, etc.

The master's paper is generally submitted toward the end of a student's completion of the M.A. program and at least four weeks prior to a student's receipt of his or her degree.

  • No comprehensive exam is required in Track 1, unless specially requested. 
  • A one year residency for full-time students is required. The program may take an additional one or two semesters to complete as an Extended Master's student.

Track 2: Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures

Track 2 focuses on Greek and Latin philology, languages and literatures. This track is designed specifically for students with a Bachelor's degree that already comprises serious undergraduate training in the classical languages (ancient Greek and Latin). M.A. students in Track 2 receive a high level of sophisticated philological training from a faculty distinguished in teaching both Greek and Latin language and literature.

After completing the M.A. in Track 2, students are in fine standing for admission to rigorous Ph.D. programs in classics across the U.S. and abroad. Track 2 provides students the chance to test the waters of an academic career in classical studies in a relatively short period of time.
A full listing of courses and descriptions can be found on the University Registrar's website

Requirements for admission to Track 2 can be found under Admissions and Aid. Additionally, entrants must have studied at least two years of Greek and/or Latin at the high school level or two semesters of Greek and/or Latin at the college level. Students may also enter in Track 1 (the non-language based MA), complete the necessary catch-up work in elementary study of the languages, and switch to Track 2, if they so desire.

Other features of Track 2 include:

  • Courses for Track 2 can be in ancient languages (Greek and Latin above level 30), literature (in original languages), with electives in history, mythology, religion, art and/or archaeology. Faculty in the Department of Classical Studies must teach at least five of the required eight courses.
  • Three courses covering other ancient civilizations can be chosen (in consultation with the faculty advisor) as electives counting toward the eight courses required for the M.A. in Track 2. A full listing of courses and descriptions can be found on the University Registrar's website.
  • Students in Track 2 must take CLAS 250B (Capstone Course), and are also required to submit a 25-50 page master's paper -- research of professional quality to be read by two members of the classical studies faculty or, in lieu of a master's paper, to pass a comprehensive exam in two of the following areas:
    • Greek and/or Roman Art/Archaeology
    • Greek and/or Roman History
    • Latin Language and Literature
    • Greek Language and Literature
    • A specialized area of the student's choice, made in consultation with a faculty mentor on one of several topics in which the Department has strength, for example, Latin Epigraphy, Classical Mythology, Homeric studies, Vergilian studies, etc.

The master's paper for Track 2 is generally submitted (and the Track 2 comprehensive exam is taken) toward the end of a student's completion of the M.A. program and at least four weeks prior to a student's receipt of the degree.

  • A one year residency for full-time students is required. The program may take an additional one or two semesters to complete as an Extended Master's student.