M.A. in Classics

Available here, in addition to a statement of degree requirements, is the reading list for the degree and a supplementary reading list for historical background.


The M.A. in Classics requires ten courses (30 credits) in Greek and Latin at the graduate level, completion of an independent reading list, demonstration of proficiency in a modern foreign language, usually French or German, and comprehensive written and oral examinations.

Get Started

Course Work

Six - advanced language courses a year are normally available to graduate students. Additional courses may be available through the Boston-area consortium and (with departmental permission) classical civilization courses may be taken at BC. Students are encouraged to develop a seminar paper into a conference paper for presentation.

Modern Language

Proficiency is demonstrated by a one-hour translation test in which the use of a dictionary is allowed. This test does not form part of the comprehensive exams. It should be taken at a student's earliest convenience, the sooner the better.


These include written translation exams in Greek and Latin, a two-hour written essay exam in Greek literature, a two-hour written essay exam in Latin literature, and a one-hour oral exam.

Each written translation exam, one for Greek and one for Latin, requires the translation of three (out of four) passages. The translation exams are based on the reading list; use of a dictionary is not allowed. 

The comprehensive exams, one on the Greek side and one on the Roman side, offer four essay topics of which the student will choose three. These essays are an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of the ancient world by drawing on different authors, genres, and other kinds of evidence to comment on larger thematic issues in the ancient world.   

The oral exam is open-ended, testing whether a student can engage in an hour long conversation about classical literature, its historical contexts, and its place in the modern world. A supplementary reading list suggests books on political, social, and literary history to help prepare.

Summary of Requirements

  • 30 credits of coursework
  • Proficiency test (with a dictionary) in a modern foreign language
  • Written translation exams in the ancient languages
  • Two-hour written essay examination on Greek literature
  • Two-hour written essay examination on Latin literature
  • One-hour oral examination

Reading List

The reading list lays out the works we expect students to gain familiarity with in the course of their studies. Some of these works will be the focus of our courses while others should be the object of individual and group study. For print purposes see Reading List in pdf format.