Candidates must complete 30 credits of coursework at the graduate level, of which six may, with departmental permission, consist of a thesis tutorial. In addition, candidates must complete a departmental reading list of Latin and/or Greek authors, must demonstrate the ability to read a modern foreign language (usually French or German), and must pass comprehensive examinations. The examinations will be written and oral. The written portion includes translation from the authors on the reading list and an essay on one of the passages translated. The oral consists of discussion with the faculty about topics in the history and interpretation of Latin and/or Greek literature.
Incoming students can expect to find major Greek and Latin authors and genres taught on a regular basis. In Greek these include Homer, lyric poets, fifth-century dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes), the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, Plato, and fourth-century orators. In Latin they include Plautus and Terence, the late republican poets Catullus and Lucretius, Cicero, Augustan poetry (Virgil, Horace, Elegy, and Ovid), the historians Livy and Tacitus, and the novel.