Doctoral Program

Stanford Classics offers an intellectually vibrant and broadly transdisciplinary exploration of the ancient Mediterranean world. Ph.D. students specialize in literature, history, archaeology, or philosophy and the history of science; their training combines core skills and methods with innovative and theoretically informed approaches. 

If you are considering studying Classics at Stanford, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with our approaches to the fields of study here.  Review the requirements of the program below and be in contact with our Director of Graduate Studies if you have any questions.

Financial Aid

We offer an identical funding package of five academic years and three summers (one of which must be spent in the Mediterranean region) to all admitted students.  Funding covers applicable tuition costs, health insurance, and living expenses in the form of direct stipend, teaching assistantships or pre-doctoral research assistantships.  Generous funding is also available for travel and research, especially in the Mediterranean area.  The department strongly encourages students to finish in the allotted time (usually five years) and does not guarantee funding past the fifth year. The onus is on any student requiring additional time to make his or her own applications for university and outside fellowships.

Teaching Requirements

Four quarters of pedagogical experience are required for graduation. Typically, students teach two quarters in their second year and two quarters in their third year of the program.  Teaching may involve running discussion sections for our larger lecture courses, co-teaching a smaller course, being the primary instructor of a course (usually language), or providing essential additional instruction and advising for students of a course.  Care is taken to choose courses which align with the student's field of study, experience and confidence from the faculty to perform well.  Additional teaching is only awarded based on the needs of the department.

Language Requirements

The department requires students to demonstrate facility in both modern (German and French/Italian) and ancient languages (Latin and/or Ancient Greek).

Modern: A student must pass one modern language exam by the end of the second year, and a second exam by the end of the third year.  Because graduate coursework limits the amount of time to learn these languages, it is strongly recommended that applicants be well advanced in at least one of these languages before matriculating to Stanford and be ready to take the first exam as early as possible, perhaps in the first year.

Ancient: Language and Literature track, as well as Ancient Philosophy track students take the graduate-level series in both Latin and Ancient Greek and must pass a translation exam at the end of each series.  Classical Archaeology track students may either take the graduate-level series of an ancient language of their choice, or test out of that language requirement by passing the annual translation exam.  Ancient History track students may choose to either specialize in an ancient language of their choice by taking the graduate-level series plus some additional coursework, or take a broader approach by taking the graduate-level series for both languages.

Other Requirements

Stanford University requires that Ph.D. students complete 135 units of coursework, with a maximum of 45 units which may be transferred from another institution.  Each track within the Ph.D. program requires different sets of coursework to complete within the 135 units of residency.  These requirements are listed in detail in the Stanford Bulletin. After coursework is completed (typically by the end of the third year), the final two years are then devoted to proposing, writing and defending the dissertation.

Have Questions Along the Way?

Contact the team at classics [at] (classics[at]stanford[dot]edu)