Candidates must complete 30 credits of coursework at the graduate level. 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, Italian, or German), and must complete translation exams in Greek and Latin as well as comprehensive examinations with both a written and oral component. The translation exam includes passages from the reading list, to be translated without the aid of a dictionary. The written component of the comprehensive exam consists of four essays on literature in its cultural and historical context. The oral exam builds on the written component in the form 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, and 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.