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Please  note:  The department is presently not accepting applications to its M.A. program.

Graduates of the MA program in recent years have been granted fellowships in premier doctoral programs in Classical Studies, including those at Berkeley, Cornell, and Stanford; won admission to top law schools, including the University of Pennsylvania; and pursued teaching careers at private high schools across the region.

The general requirements for graduate degrees at Vanderbilt University appear in the Bulletin and the Regulations of the Graduate School. This page contains information particular to the Department of Classical Studies.

M.A. Program  |  Ph.D. Opportunities  |  Admission and Financial Aid

M.A. Program

The Department of Classical Studies offers a selective M.A. program that provides a solid basis for either of two important goals in the field of Classics. First, we train promising M.A. candidates who aspire to apply to and enter a nationally ranked Ph.D. program in Classical Languages or in other recognized fields of Classics, such as Ancient History and Classical Art and Archaeology. We also train M.A. candidates who aspire to become effective teachers of Latin and/or Greek. The program, as broadly defined, involves a minimum of 36 hours and a maximum of 48 hours of coursework over a two-year period. During the two years, the Classics M.A. student is also required to pass proficiency examinations in Greek and Latin and either proficiency examinations or course requirements in history and art. The student must also demonstrate reasonable proficiency in reading Classical scholarship in German or French, or in another Romance language (e.g., Italian or Spanish). Applicants should be able to read both Latin and Greek, though not necessarily both at the same level of proficiency, and they also should have completed an elementary course in German, French, or another Romance language.

On entering, every student takes diagnostic examinations in Greek and Latin prose and poetry. The examinations are not graded and are intended only for the determination of a student's proficiency in the languages at the time of matriculation and for placement in courses. The examinations test familiarity with language and with scansion.

Each semester each student takes at least three and no more than four courses for credit. It is expected that all classics M.A. students will take both graduate seminars regularly offered in Greek and Latin each semester and that they will strive to produce first-rate Master's seminar papers in these graduate courses. When their papers attain an A+ level of excellence, they are encouraged to present their papers to the Classics faculty and to submit their papers to professional academic conferences, such as the American Philological Association (APA), the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), and the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS). The proficiency examinations in Greek and Latin are made up of passages taken from the M.A. reading list. The two examinations test familiarity with language and scansion. The proficiency examinations are offered regularly over the course of the M.A. program.

Click here for the M.A. Reading List.

Classics M.A. students may fulfill their Greek and Roman art history requirement in several possible ways, including: 1) undergraduate courses in Greek or Roman art history, 2) graduate seminars in Greek or Roman art and archaeology, or 3) summer participation in the ASCSA or AAR for Greece or Rome, respectively. To fulfill the requirements for history, M.A. students should either 1) take two courses, one in each area (Greek history: CLAS 208 or 209; and Roman history: CLAS 212 or CLAS 213 or 2) take an examination. In order to fulfill the requirement with course work, a student must earn a B+ or better in each of the two courses in the given areas. If the student chooses to fulfill the requirement with an examination, the examination of two hours' length is taken at the very beginning of the fourth semester. One re-take of each examination is allowed.

Study in the Mediterranean

A distinguished feature of Vanderbilt's M.A. program in Classics is the anticipation that in the summer following the first year in residence, M.A. candidates will study in the Mediterranean. Students in good standing are urged to apply for the summer programs offered by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (ASCSA) and the American Academy in Rome (AAR) in the hope of being accepted into one of these two summer programs. They also generally receive Rankin Fellowship funding from the Department to support this study abroad in either the AAR or ASCSA summer program.

Teaching Experience

Because students pursuing a graduate degree in Classics normally do so with aims that include teaching Latin, Greek, or Classics, our Department makes every effort to provide each student with some teaching experience. In the second year of residence, an M.A. candidate may expect to gain experience as a teaching assistant, primarily as an instructor in an elementary Latin section or, secondarily, as an assistant in a Greek, Latin, or Classics course.

Ph.D. Opportunities

Successful students in our Classics M.A. program are encouraged to pursue Classics Ph.D. studies in a nationally ranked doctoral program that is well positioned to help its Classics doctoral recipients to find a rewarding professional appointment. Faculty in our Department are eager to support this aspiration, such as by advising the student about which Classics Ph.D. programs are best suited to his or her interests, and by doing their best to facilitate the student's successful entry into such a doctoral program.

Ph.D. Opportunities at Vanderbilt

If they so choose, Classics M.A. students with interdisciplinary interests are also welcome to apply for, and may be accepted into, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt that promotes further graduate study in Classics, such as History, Religious Studies, Greek Philosophy, and English.

Admission and Financial Aid

Financial Aid

All students accepted into the two-year Classics M.A. program are guaranteed generous funding for two years, which includes fellowship stipends, in addition to tuition and health insurance. The fellowships range from $16,000 to $20,500 and higher, depending on the merits of the applicant. Second-year teaching assistantships are also available.


All requests for admission and financial aid are evaluated by the department. Applicants should present an undergraduate record demonstrating competence in the Classical languages, and some study of German, French or another Romance language. Applicants must present scores on the Graduate Record Examination, along with letters of recommendation from the teachers best able to evaluate the student's work in Classical Studies. Although applications for admission will be accepted at any time, all applications for financial aid, together with supporting documents, must be received by 15 January.

For application forms and additional information, click here for the Vanderbilt University Graduate School site.

University Fellowships

University fellowships and teaching assistantships are available for all of the above programs, providing stipends in addition to tuition and health insurance. Also available for applicants of exceptional achievement and high promise are Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Graduate Scholarships, Arts and Science Dean's Scholarships, and University Graduate Fellowships. The Graduate School also awards Provost's Graduate Fellowships to outstanding Ph.D. students from under-represented groups showing academic promise who intend to teach at the college or university level.

Departmental Fellowships

Thanks to a bequest from the estate of Edwin Moore Rankin, the department offers flexible Rankin Fellowships to highly qualified and promising candidates. In addition, Rankin and Piant Scholarships are available for students in the program to study in Athens or Rome. Funded trips for summer study abroad are a regular part of our M.A. program.

» Graduate Application

For more information:
Barbara Tsakirgis
Department of Classical Studies
Vanderbilt University
PMB 0092
230 Appleton Place
Nashville TN 37203-5721