Classics Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study


Program Description

The Ph.D. degree requires six semesters in residence and the successful completion of one of the programs listed below:

Ancient History
Ancient History at Cornell can be studied either in the Field of History or in the Field of Classics. The concentration aims to train students both as historians and as classicists. It is designed differently for students in the two Fields, but strongly encourages those in one Field to strengthen their preparation by relevant work in the other.

Ancient Philosophy
The study of ancient philosophy at Cornell is administered jointly by the Fields of Classics and Philosophy, and members of the two Fields cooperate in teaching and supervising graduate students. The program aims at training productive scholars and effective teachers of ancient philosophy who will also be well-rounded classicists and philosophers. The concentration is designed differently for students in the two Fields, but it strongly encourages those in one Field to strengthen their preparation by relevant work in the other.

Classical Archaeology and Art
The Concentration in Classical Archaeology and Art aims to provide the training and context to produce scholars ready to engage in cutting-edge archaeological research and teaching about the Greek and Roman worlds (including Cyprus and the wider Mediterranean area) in any period from prehistory through to Late Antiquity. Candidates are trained to be qualified for academic positions with an archaeological focus in Departments of Classics, History of Art, or Anthropology, as well as in interdisciplinary Archaeology Programs concerned with the ancient world and complex societies. The Cornell program offers a strong institutional setting, combining a long pedigree in outstanding Classical scholarship, cognate departments and courses in History of Art, Near Eastern Studies, and Anthropology, and world-leading science departments for those seeking to develop inter-disciplinary projects.

Classical Literature and Philology
This concentration, focusing on Greek and Latin languages and literature, is the most frequently chosen Ph.D. program in the Field of Classics, and provides students with the opportunity to follow a traditional training in philology and textual criticism, to explore Classical literature in the light of modern literary critical methodology, or to do both. The Graduate Faculty offers seminars and other graduate-level courses, taught from a wide range of critical perspectives, on ancient authors from Homer to Boethius and on topics such as textual criticism, epigraphy, and Greek and Roman Religion, to name but a few.

Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics
Graduate applicants to the Field of Classics whose primary interest is in the Greek and Latin languages per se may choose to pursue the Concentration in Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics. The aim of this concentration is to acquire a broad background in general linguistics; Greek, Latin, and Indo-European linguistics; and Greek and Latin philology.
Interdisciplinary Classics 
Interdisciplinary Classics is a concentration that fully promotes an interdisciplinary approach to the ancient world by training students in three different disciplines of Classics through course work and reading lists. It encourages students to make new connections between areas that have been traditionally distinct, bringing together, e.g., epigraphy, science, art history, history, philosophy, literature, and classical reception.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-7471

120 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • ancient history
  • ancient philosophy
  • classical archaeology and art
  • classical literature and philology
  • classical myth (minor)
  • classical rhetoric (minor)
  • Greek and Latin language and linguistics
  • Indo-European linguistics (minor)
  • interdisciplinary track


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

  • an academic statement of purpose
  • a personal statement
  • three letters of recommendation
  • a ten to twenty-page writing sample

GRE scores are not required or accepted.

All applicants must submit transcripts of all attended colleges or universities.

Learning Outcomes

Make an original and substantial contribution to the field:

  • think originally and independently
  • identify new research opportunities

Achieve breadth and diversity of knowledge in the field:

  • proficiency in the relevant languages, ancient and modern
  • thorough command of theoretical and empirical knowledge across the field
  • in-depth knowledge of one major area

Communicate research findings effectively:

  • produce publishable scholarship
  • achieve excellence in spoken presentations

Demonstrate effective skills in undergraduate teaching