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Course of Study

In their first year, students characteristically participate in the Proseminar in Classical Studies, which introduces scholars of the ancient world to the range of critical approaches, disciplinary expectations, materials and methods employed by practitioners in the field. Opportunities also exist to participate in the Proseminar in the Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World (AAMW), the Proseminar in Anthropology and the Proseminar in History. Generally, it is expected that students will take at least one language-intensive class per semester, for these courses serve the double function of preparing students for the language exams that form part of their Preliminary and Qualifying Exams, and providing them with tools of textual criticism that will be essential in their future scholarship and pedagogy. The bulk of courses take the form of Seminars, including the Problems in Ancient History Seminars and the Methods in Ancient History Seminars, taught by members of the faculty of the Graduate Group in Ancient History either individually or collaboratively. In addition to courses in fields connected to the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (e.g., in CLST, NELC, and AAMW), we also strongly encourage students to explore courses taught in related graduate programs, such as Anthropology, Art History, Environmental Studies, Religious Studies, or Political Science.

As part of their coursework, students may petition to take an Independent Study, with the approval of the relevant faculty member(s) and the Graduate Group Chair. Independent Studies are a kind of tutorial, involving one or (perhaps) more students and a faculty member, who teaches the course as an overload. Typically, students will take an Independent Study under the supervision of their proposed dissertation supervisor in the Fall and/or Spring of their third year of coursework. This allows them to delve in detail into texts, materials, methods and/or approaches that will be particularly important for their dissertation. Outside these circumstances, Independent Studies generally occur only when both faculty and student agree that the student’s interests will not be addressed by any regularly taught course. Students petitioning to take an Independent Study are expected to have a very clear idea of the proposed topic, including a preliminary bibliography and account of the motivation for the study prior to making the petition. For example, an Independent Study might allow a student to gain a thorough acquaintance with a previously unfamiliar and difficult field of study in which a great deal of guidance is needed.

The Graduate Group in Ancient History encourages students to pursue opportunities for study abroad, including those at the American School for Classical Studies in Athens and the American Academy in Rome. Characteristically, these opportunities are taken up following completion of all coursework and exams.