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Examinations

In order to progress to dissertation stage, students must, in addition to passing their 20 courses, fulfil the following requirements:

  • Modern Languages Examination
  • Qualifying Examination
  • Preliminary Examination

Modern Language Examinations

All candidates for the Ph.D. must pass examinations in German and either French or Italian. Each examination will involve translating one page (approximately 250 words) of scholarly prose in one and a half hours. Use of a dictionary is permitted. Students are urged to attempt these examinations as early in their careers as possible. The examinations will be given in October and March at dates set by the Graduate Group Chair; in exceptional circumstances, they may be offered at other times. The modern examination requirement should be fulfilled by the end of the student’s third year. Failure to pass these exams in a timely fashion may constitute grounds for dismissal from the program.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination is given before the beginning of the student’s fourth semester, normally immediately before classes begin in January.

 

The exam, which is set and graded by examiners appointed by the Graduate Group Chair, has both written and oral components, as follows:

 

1.      Translation Examination in one ancient language: the student translates three passages from the four offered by the examiners (time: usually 2 hours). The student will have an opportunity to draw up a list of authors and texts with which s/he feels familiar, and the examination will be prepared in conjunction with that list. NB: if a student passes the language component at the Qualifying Exam stage to a sufficiently high standard (deemed “high pass”), s/he may be exempted from the requirement to take that language at the Preliminary Exam stage.
2.      History Examination: from a list of approximately twenty questions on two historical fields the student writes answers to three, two from one subject area and one from the other field. The student also selects two other questions, one from each field, to be answered in the oral examination (time: usually 2 hours).
3.      Oral examination: the student presents answers to the two questions specified on the written exam (see above). The examiners may also ask questions pertaining to the student’s written exam, or to the research paper submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the MA degree (see below). The oral examination is normally held 7-10 days after the written examination (time: usually 90 minutes).

 Preliminary Examination

 The Preliminary Examination is taken at the end of the student’s third year, normally shortly after the end of the spring semester. Coursework and modern language requirements must have been met before the student takes this exam. Courses graded “incomplete” do not count towards the coursework requirement.

 The exam, which is set and graded by examiners appointed by the Graduate Group Chair, comprises written examinations followed by an oral defense, as follows:

1.      History examination on two historical fields, typically divided into five sections. In each of the first four sections the student will answer one of three essay questions, usually organized along the major chronological or subject divisions of the fields. The fifth section will contain questions of methodology and approach that are pertinent to the practice of ancient history. Students will answer questions in four of the five sections, choosing three out of the first four. Answering a question from the fifth (methodological) section is mandatory. Questions for each of the examinations will be prepared by those faculty members of the Graduate Group who have taught the student, in collaboration with the Graduate Group Chair. (time: usually divided into two three-hour examinations taken on a single day).
2.      Translation examination on competence in two ancient languages: passages selected from ancient languages for translation and comment, usually taken from the reading list and inscriptional corpora. The student translates four of five passages as set by the examiners on each language (time: usually two two-hour examinations, taken on the same day, and either immediately before or immediately after the History Examinations). NB: if a student passes the language component at the Qualifying Exam stage to a sufficiently high standard (deemed “high pass”), s/he may be exempted from the requirement to take that language at the Preliminary Exam stage.
3.      Oral examination on the history, sources, and methods of studying both historical fields, and on the candidate's dissertation proposal (see below) (time: usually 90 minutes). The oral examination is normally held 7-10 days following the completion of the written parts of the Preliminary Examination.

Administration of Examinations

The Graduate Group Chair will choose at least three examiners, including the Chair, for every Qualifying and Preliminary exam.