The M.A. program in Classical Studies pursues an integrated approach to the ancient world. It particularly aims to acquaint students with the richness of evidence characterizing the study of classical antiquity, and to stimulate them to use knowledge of the relevant materials and texts with skill and imagination.

To this effect the program draws upon the many resources of Columbia in the classical field: students are given the unique opportunity to work with leading classicists specializing in a variety of areas, take advantage of the intellectual and organizational resources of the four participating Departments, get access to the libraries of the University; they are eligible to work with the materials of Columbia’s archaeological, epigraphic, and numismatic collections, can apply to Columbia’s excavation projects, and participate in the numerous initiatives organized by the University (seminars, lectures, conferences, museum trips).

Variety and flexibility are among the defining features of the program. Incoming students are encouraged to devise their own curriculum according to their specific intellectual and professional goals, in consultation with the advisors as well as with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Classical Studies. The M.A. program especially addresses those students who wish to enrich their vision of classical antiquity by developing new skills, or who wish to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on antiquity. The program will give more solid foundations to those students who intend to pursue a doctoral career but do not yet meet the admission requirements of Ph.D. programs in ancient studies. More generally, the M.A. degree will prove useful for everybody dealing with the ancient world—from museum curators to high-school teachers—and wishing to acquire a broader perspective in order to fully exploit the numerous potentialities inherent within ancient texts, images, and artifacts.


The requirements below should be read in conjunction with the general requirements of the Graduate School.

After admittance to the program, students should consult the Chair to set up an Advisory Committee to assist in planning a course of study for each term in residence. Typically, the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the program shall act as advisors, and an individual advisor shall be assigned depending on the specific interests of the students. Each student’s program of study must be approved before registration.

Students in the M.A. program may be enrolled part-time or full-time. Should a student in the M.A. program wish to study toward the Ph.D. at Columbia, he or she must submit a separate application which will be evaluated along with the entire pool of applicants to the Ph.D. program for that year.

Languages: Competence in one ancient language, Greek or Latin, to be demonstrated by either course work or examination, and one modern language, preferably German, by examination.

Courses: 30 credits from a minimum of eight courses in classics, history (ancient history section), art history and archaeology (ancient section), and philosophy (ancient), or related fields, with at least six courses taken for a letter grade. No more than four of these courses can be taken in any one department. At least two terms of a seminar or colloquium must be included in the total of eight. One of the required courses shall be an Independent Study, leading up to the completion of the student’s M.A. thesis (see below). One of the required courses can (but may not) be the CLST Research Seminar, taken for credit. Students are expected to maintain at least a B+ average in their graded courses.

Written work: Each student is required to submit a substantial seminar or colloquium paper (“dissertation”) to be evaluated by the student’s Thesis Advisor, Chair, and Vice-Chair.

CLST M.A. Distinction may be awarded for excellence with the self-standing M.A. degree based on the following criteria:

  • assessment of M.A. thesis by faculty members, including the thesis advisor and the Program Chair
  • assessment of overall academic record
  • assessment of the student’s further activities in the program

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