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PhD in Classical Studies: Doctoral Degree Program Information

Classical studies, commonly referred to as classics, are a branch of the humanities concerned with the literature, language and history of ancient Greece and Rome. A Ph.D. in classical studies will involve intensive research and coursework.

Essential Information

Programs in classical studies will focus on specific areas pertaining to the culture and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome. Doctoral program in the classics usually allow students to specialize in Greek or Roman studies, although some require students to learn about each area. Aspiring professors, writers and historians typically learn to read, speak and write Greek, Latin or both. Students read and analyze ancient texts from their chosen specialization, and they often compose original material in its language. A large portion of the program consists of a dissertation project. Students are often required to pass qualifying examinations during their first or second year to ensure that they possess the knowledge required to continue their studies.

Many programs combine the coursework required to earn a master's degree and a Ph.D., allowing students to apply after earning a bachelor's degree. Applicants need to show academic aptitude in their previous humanities coursework. Programs often require applicants to submit an original writing sample and letters of recommendation.


Ph.D. in Classical Studies

Available courses and specializations in classical studies Ph.D. programs include archeology, history and philosophy, in addition to classical literature and language (Greek or Latin). Classes often include:

  • Roman law
  • Latin or Greek composition
  • History of ancient Greece or Rome
  • Epigraphy
  • Translation theory and history
  • Ancient Greek philosophy

Popular Careers

Doctoral programs in classical studies often prepare graduates for careers in research or academia, and many programs require students to work as teaching assistants or student teachers. Graduates who don't pursue teaching or research positions often work as museum curators, authors, consultants or archeologists. Popular career options include:

  • Classics professor
  • Nonfiction writer
  • Historian
  • Ancient literature translator
  • Historical accuracy advisor

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Students who pursue work as archeologists may have good job prospects. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of working archeologists and anthropologists is predicted to increase 4% from 2014-2024, which is slower than average. Archeologists and anthropologists earned an average salary of $64,290 as of May 2015.

Students interested in the culture and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome can earn a Ph.D. in classical studies to prepare for a job as an archeologist, professor, or historian.


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