Artemision bronze (Zeus or Poseidon)

PhD Program

The program of studies which leads to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Classics at Berkeley is designed to give a thorough preparation in the fundamentals of classical scholarship while encouraging the pursuit of intellectual enquiry and the development of original research according to the capacity and interests of the individual student. The examination and course requirements which every student must satisfy before being advanced to candidacy to write a dissertation are intended to ensure attainment, up to at least the minimum level essential for a Classical scholar, of specific skills and all-round competence in the languages (ancient and modern), in the history, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome, in the fundamental techniques of scholarship, and in the ability to sustain informed and penetrating discussion; the dissertation is intended to demonstrate the student’s ability to make a successfully independent and original contribution to research.

In addition the program has a practical professional aim. The holder of a Berkeley Ph.D. in Classics should be able to teach any lower division course in Greek or Latin, any upper division course in the language of special emphasis, and graduate courses in at least one area in the language of special emphasis and/or in an area common to both languages. This is the minimal aim, but all will be encouraged to go beyond it.

Students are expected to complete their oral qualifying examination and advance to candidacy by the 10th semester and complete their degree within 14 semesters or seven years.

6. Entry into the Program

6.1 Students new to UC Berkeley who have an M.A. in Greek, Latin or Classics or equivalent preparation may be admitted to the Ph.D. program by the departmental admissions committee.

6.2. Enrolled Berkeley graduate students wishing to transfer to Classics from another major are required to present their request to the same committee, which will consider the candidate in the context of the pool of new applicants evaluated each January.

6.3. Students in the UC Berkeley M.A. program will be reviewed, upon completion of their M.A. examinations and course requirements, to determine whether or not they may proceed to the Ph.D. For details, see 17.3 below under “Advising and Reviews.”

7. Unit and Course Requirements

7.1. Unit Requirement

The doctoral degree program will ordinarily involve completion, with a satisfactory grade (“B” or higher), of at least 64 units of course work between the beginning of the M.A. program and advancement to candidacy (for new students entering the program directly the GA may grant credit for equivalent courses completed satisfactorily elsewhere). The following paragraphs specify requirements that ensure a requisite degree of breadth and range in the student’s preparation.

7.2. Graduate seminars

7.2.1. DEFINITION: Most Classics seminars (and some seminars in related departments) may be taken in one of two different ways:

1) as “P” seminars, with the requirement of a final paper (or an equivalent workload, such as a final examination, as designated by the instructor) to be presented to the instructor and assessed as part of the final grade. P-seminars carry 4 units, with a regular letter grade.

2) as “X” seminars, requiring full participation in the course but no paper (or equivalent as described under 1) above). X-seminars carry 2 units, and are normally taken for an S/U grade only, except that arrangement may be made with the instructor beforehand, at the instructor’s discretion, for a letter grade to be given. Where the regulations below refer to “P-seminars, or the equivalent number of X-seminars,” one P-seminar = two X-seminars.

7.2.2. Proseminars. Every student must complete satisfactorily Classics 200, the Proseminar, and Classics 203, Approaches to Literature. Exemption from either of these may be authorized by the GA only when a student has taken an equivalent course elsewhere; instead of Classics 203, a student may take an equivalent course in another department, but such equivalent shall not count toward the seminar requirement under 7.2.3 below. Classics 200 and Classics 203 will be offered in alternate years and students are encouraged to take each course the first time they have the opportunity (during the M.A. years, if applicable).

7.2.3. Total seminar units. Every student must complete satisfactorily at least 40 units (10 graduate level P-seminars, or an equivalent mixture of P- and X-seminars), in Classics (or, occasionally, in an approved related field) in the 200 series. Courses numbered 200, 250, 260, 298, 299 do not count for this purpose; the survey courses (Classics 201 and 202) and Classics 203 [but not a non-Classics equivalent of 203] do count toward this total but not toward any of the following requirements.

7.2.4. at least 5 P-seminars must be completed with a grade of A- or higher.

7.2.5. Language distribution. At least 16 units shall be completed satisfactorily in Greek subjects, and at least 16 units shall be completed satisfactorily in Latin subjects: of these one P-seminar in a Greek subject (4 units) and one P-seminar in a Latin subject (4 units) must be taken in the Classics Dept.; for the remaining 12 units in each area any combination of P- and X- seminars is permitted, and any one course (4 units) chosen from among 201A, 201B or 250 may be counted toward the Greek total, and any one course (4 units) chosen from among 202A, 202B or 260 may be counted toward the Latin total.

7.2.6. Breadth. At least five P-seminars shall be completed satisfactorily in at least three of the following six fields, with at least two in a single field: (1) archaeology/art history, (2) history, (3) linguistics, (4) literature, (5) papyrology/epigraphy/palaeography, and (6) philosophy.

7.2.7. NOTE: Units in 300-level courses and in 601 and 602 do not count toward residency or degree requirements; there is no limit on the total number of the 600 level units, but no more than 8 such units are allowed in any one semester.

8. Demonstration of Competence in Specific Disciplines

8.1. Greek translation exam: a 3-hour exam of prescribed texts. The passages are taken from a selection of texts comprising the Common List (as drawn up and published by the Department from time to time: see List).

8.2. Latin translation exam: a 3-hour exam of prescribed texts. The passages are taken from a selection of texts comprising the Common List (see List).

8.3. German and either French or Italian reading ability. For details, see 2.3 above. NOTE:  Continuing Berkeley students will already have satisfied this requirement in at least one language in earning the M.A.

8.4. Time-table for completing exams

8.4.1. It is strongly recommended that students attempt the language exam in one ancient language during the first year after advancement or admission to the Ph.D. program, and the exam in the other language the following year.

8.4.2. New students entering the Ph.D. program directly must attempt the examination in their first modern language no later than the second enrolled semester in the Ph.D. program. For all students, the examination in the second modern foreign language must be attempted for the first time no later than the third enrolled semester in the Ph.D. program.

8.4.3 Failure to pass any one or more of the required exams by the end of the sixth enrolled semester following advancement from the M.A. to the Ph.D. program, or by the end of the eighth semester for those who enter with an M.A., will normally be interpreted as inadequate progress and may result in a warning, with the possibility that the student may later be placed on academic probation.

9. Individual Reading List and Statement of Intended Research

9.1. By the beginning of the third semester after completion of the M.A. (or after admission for those admitted with an M.A.), students must have constructed an Individual Reading List in consultation either with their Personal Advisor or with another suitable faculty member. The List must total not less than 300 pages of Oxford Text (or equivalent). (1000 lines of verse is to be taken as the equivalent of 33 pages of prose.) For the sake of individual flexibility, however, no restriction is imposed on the number of authors covered, nor on the proportion of Greek to Latin. After approval by the GA, the List will form part of the student’s file, and progress on completing it will be monitored by the GA and by the faculty member originally consulted. The List will be presented to the student’s Oral Examination Committee when the committee is constituted. Changes to the list may be made up until that time. The list will be taken into account by the Committee in their conduct of the examination.

9.2. Every student will submit, not later than the beginning of the third semester after completing the M.A. (or after admission for those admitted with an M.A.), a short “Statement of Intended Research” [SIR] of no more than 5 pages (including bibliography), outlining the general topic, approach and main primary and secondary readings that the student has in mind for the dissertation. This SIR will normally be submitted in conjunction with the student’s Individual Reading List. The student shall choose a committee of three faculty (at least two of them members of the Classics Department) to review and approve the SIR: this process of review shall include a meeting (no longer than one hour) to discuss the SIR and the student’s plans. This meeting should normally take place before the sixth week of the semester in which the SIR was submitted. The SIR may be subsequently modified—even quite radically—in the following months and years, with the approval of the faculty committee. (In the event that the topic or approach evolves into something significantly different from the original SIR, the student may wish to reconstitute the faculty membership of their committee.) The SIR will eventually be used as the basis for discussion of the student’s Special Field in the PhD oral qualifying exam.

10. Submission of Papers

10.1. Every student is required to submit to the orals committee (see 11.2) at least three papers in various fields of classical study demonstrating competence in methods of research, in the preparation of bibliographies, and in expository writing. One paper must include a close reading of a selected piece or pieces of Greek or Latin prose or poetry. One paper must be in the area of the proposed dissertation; or as an alternative to such a paper, the student may submit in its place a brief statement of interest concerning the probable area of dissertation research (3-10 pages in length, with an added bibliography of 2 or more pages)

Papers are to be written in an acceptable scholarly form, with documentation provided in footnotes or endnotes; a consistent scholarly style, such as would be acceptable in a scholarly periodical or other publication, should be maintained (the standard of style of Classical Antiquity is recommended but not required). Seminar papers may be submitted in unchanged form if the name of the professor as well as his/her comments on the paper (in their entirety) are included.

10.2. Papers (including the alternative statement of interest) may be submitted to the GA at any time, but all three items must be in the student’s file no later than two weeks after notification that the final written examination has been passed and the requisite courses and units completed.

10.3. The orals committee will review the items submitted and approve them before the oral examination takes place, and will notify the GA before the oral examination of any deficiencies found in them. If an item is judged not to be in suitable form, or not to be of sufficient quality, the committee may require it to be rewritten and resubmitted before proceeding with the oral examination.

11. Oral Qualifying Examination

11.1. The oral examination and advancement to candidacy should take place no later than the tenth semester. It should be scheduled as soon as possible after completion of all the written examinations and unit and course requirements: a student completing the requirements in the Fall Semester must take the oral no later than the 12th week of the following Spring Semester; a student completing the requirements in the Spring Semester must take the oral no later than the 5th week of the following Fall Semester.

11.2. The orals committee. After consultation with the student, and taking cognizance of the distribution of the student’s work among the six fields listed in 7.2.6 above and the relative degree of concentration on Greek and Latin, the GA will recommend to the Graduate Division a committee of at least 4 members, of whom at least three must be on the faculty of the Department of Classics, to conduct the oral exam. The chair of the oral examination cannot serve as the chair of the student’s dissertation committee. The committee will normally be selected within two weeks after notification that the final written examination has been passed and course and unit requirements met, and will be advised at once to review the items submitted by the student and to notify the GA as promptly as possible of any deficiencies found in them.

11.3. Emphasis and scope of examination. In accordance with Graduate Council policy, at least three distinct areas are to be covered in this examination. For the purposes of the oral examination, each of the six fields listed in 7.2.6 is divided into two parts, Greek and Roman (or Latin). Students choose to be examined either in two parts of one field and one of a different field, or in three parts of three different fields (e.g. Greek literature or Roman history or Greek archaeology or Latin linguistics), with the proviso that no candidate may focus for the entire exam on areas that involve only Greek texts or only Latin texts. Papyrology/ epigraphy/ paleography is divided for this purpose into four sub-sections, any two of which are held to constitute one part of the field: papyrology, Greek epigraphy, Roman epigraphy, paleography. Philosophy is divided for this purpose into four sub-sections, any two of which are held to constitute one part of the field: Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, post-Aristotelian philosophy. The student will also be examined in a special field connected to the probable area of his or her dissertation, as delineated in the Statement of Intended Research (9.2 above). This special field will usually be part of one of the broader fields just specified, and the designation of the special field is to be developed in consultation with the GA. The inclusion of the special field in the oral examination is intended to allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory plans and preparation in the proposed area of the dissertation topic. In their conduct of the examination, the examiners will also take into account the contents of the student’s Individual Reading List (9.1 above).

11.4. Judging of the oral examination shall conform to the rules set forth by the Graduate Council.

11.5. Upon successful completion of this examination the student shall be eligible for award of the degree of Candidate in Philosophy (see 12.2.).

12. The Dissertation

12.1. Nature and scope. A dissertation is expected to be a full and original exposition of some aspect of classical study that has not previously been treated with the same fullness or from the same standpoint, and to demonstrate the ability to use the full range of methods and materials of classical scholarship in an enterprise of considerable scope, largely on the student’s own initiative.

12.2. Selection of topic and supervising committee. As soon as possible after passing the oral qualifying examination, the student must file with the Graduate Division an Application for Advancement to Candidacy for Doctor of Philosophy. The application must contain a statement of the title of the proposed dissertation and nominate for approval a supervising committee consisting of three Academic Senate members, one of whom is from a department other than Classics. The function of the committee is to guide the candidate in research and judge the merits of the dissertation. It is the policy of the Graduate Division that the chair of this supervising committee not be the same as the chair of the oral qualifying examination committee (11.2 above). Selection of the chair and the other two members of the dissertation committee is made by the student in consultation with the GA, but is subject to the approval of the Graduate Division, which is formally responsible for the appointment of the dissertation committee on behalf of the Graduate Council. Following appointment of the supervising committee the student is required to confer with all three members before undertaking the work of a dissertation. The frequency with which the student confers with the three members of the committee is at the discretion of the student and the committee chair; however, members of the committee must be kept informed of the student’s progress and must be consulted before any major changes of scope, direction or approach are made in the dissertation. Advanced candidates are reviewed annually (see “Advising and Reviews,” 18.2 below). Should it become necessary, in the opinion of the GA and the student, to replace a member of the supervising committee (e.g. because the member has left the University, or because of irreconcilable disagreement among the committee members and the student about the direction which the dissertation should take), the GA, after consultation with all three members of the committee, will apply to the Graduate Division for reconstitution of the committee, suggesting a replacement member. If at any stage in the writing of the dissertation the student and the GA are unable to agree on the constitution of the committee, the student has the right to appeal to the Department chair, or finally to the Dean of the Graduate Division.

12.3. Disssertation Colloquium. Each year the Graduate Advisor or a designated faculty member will supervise a year-long colloquium for those beginning to work on their dissertations. This colloquium will provide presentations intended to help the students proceed quickly and effectively to writing, covering such issues as how to define a topic (narrowing or expanding), how to structure a dissertation, effective research practices, effective writing practices and strategies. In addition, the students will present their work in progress. Every student will be required to participate in this colloquium in the year after advancement to candidacy. (Exceptions or postponements for those not in Berkeley or for those wishing to avail themselves of alternative dissertation-writing workshops are to be approved in advance by the GA and the dissertation supervisor.)

12.4. Satisfactory progress. Provisions for review of students advanced to candidacy and details about probation and lapsing of candidacy in cases of unsatisfactory progress are contained in the separate section “Advising and Reviews” (see 18.2 below).

12.5. Final approval. When the student, after consultation with the chair of the dissertation committee, considers that the dissertation has been completed satisfactorily, a final version shall be submitted to the committee for approval. Responsibility for placing the completed dissertation in the hands of the committee members rests with the student. If all three members of the committee approve the dissertation, they sign the official title page. The student is responsible for submitting an official version of the dissertation and any required ancillary documents in accordance with Graduate Division rules and requirements. (Consult the Policies and Procedures area of the Graduate Division web site for Dissertation Filing Guidelines.) For the procedure to be followed in the rare event that the committee members find, upon submission of a near final draft of the dissertation, that the work is not likely to be accepted without major alterations in either the research or the written presentation (i.e. more than minor revisions or editorial changes), consult the Policies and Procedures section of the Graduate Division web site (Guide to Graduate Policy, Appendix A, §8).

Normative Time and Funding Limits

13.1. For Classics graduate students, Normative Time is as follows:

  • Time to Qualifying Exam/Advancement to Candidacy: 10 semesters
  • Time to complete dissertation: 4 semesters
  • Total: 14 semesters

13.2. The DCF program contains the provision that students who receive DCF may not receive further support from Graduate Division after NT + 1 (8 years or 16 semesters for Classics).  In certain specified circumstances (see next paragraph), students can continue to receive departmental funding.

13.3 The departmental funding policy is to support all students who are making normal progress for up to 6 semesters after advancement to candidacy, or through year 8 in the program (whichever comes first). Extensions will be granted by the GA in consultation with the Chair only in exceptional circumstances and only on the basis of a petition signed by the student’s dissertation director.

Teaching Experience

14. Every student is required to teach at least two semesters before receiving the Ph.D. A student who completes the M.A. requirements at U.C. Berkeley and is allowed to proceed into the Ph.D. program will normally teach for two semesters in the academic year following the post-M.A. review, subject to approval by the Committee on GSIships. (If such approval is denied the student may normally expect to teach for two semesters in the following academic year.) A student who enters the Ph.D. program with an M.A. or equivalent from another university will normally teach for two semesters either in the third year (if the student has a fellowship package covering both the first two years) or in the second year (if the student does not have two years of fellowship awarded on admission), subject to approval by the Committee on GSIships.