Classics and Philosophy Combined Ph.D. Program

The Classics and Philosophy Program is a combined PhD program, offered by the Departments of Philosophy and of Classics at Yale, for students wishing to pursue graduate study in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Suitably qualified students may apply for entry to the program either through the Philosophy Department for the Philosophy Track, details of which are given below, or through the Classics Department for the Classics Track.

Applicants for the Philosophy track of the combined program must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the Philosophy graduate program, in addition to the requirements of the Philosophy track of the combined program.  Applicants for the Classics track of the combined program must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the Classics graduate program, in addition to the requirements of the Classics track of the combined program. Applicants to the combined program are strongly encouraged to submit a writing sample on a topic in ancient philosophy.  Applicants interested in the combined program should indicate this at the time of application; admission to the program cannot normally be considered after an offer of admission is made.

The Program is overseen by an Interdepartmental Committee consisting of: Professors David Charles, Verity Harte, and Brad Inwood, as well as the Director of Graduate Studies for Classics and the Director of Graduate Studies for Philosophy.

Requirements of the Philosophy Track of the Classics and Philosophy Program:

(I) Entry Language Requirements

It is recommended that applicants to the program possess a basic knowledge of Greek, up to the level of being able comfortably to read Plato’s Socratic dialogues and/or comparable abilities in Latin. While this level of proficiency is recommended, the minimum requirement for entry to the Philosophy Track is intermediate proficiency in at least one of Greek and Latin (where such proficiency standards could be met by attendance at an intensive summer school, such as the CUNY course, in which the course covers the ground typically covered by both a beginners and an intermediate course, in the summer prior to entry). Students who satisfy only the minimal level requirement in Greek and Latin must, in addition, have demonstrable proficiency in one of the Modern Languages: French, German or Italian. Such students should make clear in their applications their current level of language attainment and their plans to meet the minimum language requirement. On completion of the program, graduates will have proficiency in Greek and Latin and a reading knowledge of two of the following languages; French, German, or Italian. These will be established and assisted by diagnostic tests as follows:

A. Greek and Latin Proficiency Tests in Greek and/or Latin as follows:

Diagnostic sight translations in Greek and Latin (taken at the beginning of the first term, at the beginning of the second year and, where deemed appropriate, also at the beginning or end of the second semester) will be given to assess the student’s progress in the Classical languages and to assist with placement into classes.  The same pattern is repeated for the second language in the second year.  Students with sufficient language proficiency may take the tests in both languages in the first year.

B. Modern Languages:

(i) Departmental language exam in German, French, or Italian by the beginning of the second year (early September). Native speakers are excused. Students have up to two attempts to pass. 

(ii) Departmental language exam in a second language of German, French, or Italian by the beginning of the third year (early September). Native speakers are excused. Students have up to two attempts to pass.

(iii) Students with sufficient language proficiency may take the tests in two languages in the first year.

(II) First-year seminar in Philosophy

(III) 14 Courses:

(i) At least 4 should be in ancient philosophy, including at least two involving original language work.

(ii) Of 10 remaining courses 5 should be in Classics, 5 in Philosophy.

(a) Of 5 in Philosophy, one should be in history of philosophy other than ancient philosophy, at least one should be in Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind and/or Philosophy of Language, and at least one should be in ethics and value theory. Students must satisfy the Logic requirement as per the general Philosophy PhD program.

The First Year Seminar, Philosophy 710a, must be taken by all students in their first year.  This course counts towards the 5 courses to be taken in Philosophy but does not count toward any of the distribution groups.

(b) Of 5 in Classics, at least one course should involve original language work in Greek and at least one course should involve original language work in Latin. Courses beyond this should be chosen, in consultation with the program committee, so as best to prepare candidates for their qualifying examinations. It is expected that candidates will at least audit one course per year involving reading of a philosophical text in the original language, irrespective of courses taken.

(IV) Qualifying Exams

(i) 2 qualifying papers, one of which must be in ancient philosophy and one of which must be on a philosophical topic other than ancient philosophy, by the end of the 5th term in residence.

(ii) Translation examinations in Greek and Latin, based on the Philosophy Track Reading List, by the beginning of the 6th term in residence.

(iii) An oral examination in Greek and Latin based on the Philosophy Track Reading List, by the end of the 6th term in residence.

(V) Dissertation Prospectus

A Dissertation Prospectus must be complete by the end of the 7th term in residence

(VI) Philosophy Department work-in-progress seminar

The Philosophy Department has a work-in-progress seminar once or twice a year where students present their work-in-progress (qualifying papers, chapters of the thesis, or other publications) and discuss other students’ work.  We strongly encourage those who are advanced to candidacy to take this seminar.

(VII)  Dissertation