This program emphasizes a wide range of knowledge and skills within its seven doctoral tracks: ancient history, Byzantine Greek, classical archaeology, classical philology, classical philosophy, Medieval Latin, and modern Greek. Under the guidance of our renowned faculty, you will take an innovative approach to the study of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds from a variety of fields and methodological perspectives. In addition to benefiting from Harvard’s world-class libraries and collections, you will be able to take advantage of the programming and fellowship opportunities at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Villa I Tatti.

Examples of student dissertation titles include “Imagined Histories: Hellenistic Libraries and the Idea of Greece,” “Between Federation and Empire: The Koina of the Imperial Greek Mainland, 1st to 3rd Century CE,” and “Postliminium: Enslavement and Return in the Ancient Novel.”

The department emphasizes the acquisition of not only knowledge but also of skills—in teaching, analysis, and research—which prepare you for careers in academia and beyond. Graduates of the program have secured faculty positions at Dartmouth College, Villanova University, Colby College, and UMass Boston. Others have begun careers at both private and non-profit companies and organizations like the Factum Foundation, Paideia Institute, Gemic, and Deloitte.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of the Classics and requirements for the degree are detailed in GSAS Policies.

Admissions Requirements

Please review GSAS admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of the Classics.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be a term paper, senior thesis, or master’s essay and no longer than 15 pages.

PhD in Ancient History

Applicants should have some preparation in German and either French or Italian. In addition, applicants should also have taken the equivalent of two one-term introductory surveys in Greek history and in Roman history.

Those wishing to study ancient history at Harvard with less emphasis on languages and texts, and more on other fields of history such as medieval or Byzantine, should note that the Department of History also offers ancient history as a field in its PhD program.

PhD in Byzantine Greek

Applicants must have competence in both Greek and Latin sufficient to allow them to take upper-level courses on entering graduate school.

PhD in Classical Archaeology

Applicants are expected to have competence in both Greek and Latin sufficient to take upper-level courses in one of these languages (the “major language”), and above the beginning level of the other (the “minor language”). In exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the director of graduate studies, substitution of another ancient language in the place of the minor language may be arranged. Some preparation in German and either French or Italian should be undertaken before applying to the program.

PhD in Classical Philology

Applicants must have competence in both Greek and Latin sufficient to allow them to take upper-level courses on entering graduate school.

PhD in Classical Philosophy

Applicants are expected to have competence in Greek and Latin sufficient to take upper-level courses in Greek and above the beginning level in Latin on entering graduate school.

Students who wish their primary grounding to be in the classics should apply to the program in classical philosophy; those who wish their primary grounding to be in philosophy should apply to the parallel program in the Department of Philosophy.

PhD in Medieval Latin

Applicants must have competence in both Greek and Latin sufficient to allow them to take upper-level courses on entering graduate school.

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for The Classics

The Classics Faculty