University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Classics

Master of Arts in Greek and Latin

Thesis Option

24 hours of graded course work plus at least six hours of thesis research (GKLT 391), and successful completion and defense of a Master's Thesis. The 24 hours of course work consist of: GKLT 300; 6 hours of GKLT 381; 9 additional hours of advanced courses in Greek and Latin; 6 additional hours in Greek, Latin, Classics, or approved hours in related fields.

NOTE: The thesis option is reserved for students who have completed a first probationary year in the program, have passed the Greek and Latin sight translation exams by the beginning of the third semester, and is by special application, subject to Departmental permission.

Non-thesis Option

30 hours of graded course work. The 30 hours of course work consist of: GKLT 300; 6 hours of GKLT 381; 15 additional hours of advanced courses in Greek, Latin, and Classics; 6 additional hours in Greek, Latin, Classics, or approved hours in related fields.

NOTE: This is the default option for the majority of students, who, in lieu of a thesis, present to the faculty a dossier of two polished term papers from their course work.

Both Options

Comprehensive examinations in Greek, Latin, at least one modern foreign language, ancient history, and literature and philology are required. In addition to course work, students will have a list of ancient authors to be read in the original languages.

Note 1: Three hours of a course numbered at the 100 level may with permission of the Department be applied to the M.A., in which case the Department must notify the Graduate College Office. When you are in courses at the 200-level with undergraduates, your instructor will either give you more work to do or grade your work according to higher expectations than for the undergraduates. According to Graduate College rules, candidates for a graduate degree must complete the program requirements with a minimum average of 3.00 (= B). More than two grades below B, or U on the thesis, may result in dismissal from the Graduate College.

Note 2: GKLT 381A and 381B are not separate courses from the 200-level courses. Rather, they are the same course taken for different credit, and hence with different expectations for performance. For 381 credit, in addition to the regular course work: those in the thesis-option will read 60 OCT pages extra or the equivalent; non-thesis students will write an additional 20 + page research paper and also read 30 OCT pages extra or the equivalent. Students will attend the same class as they would if they had registered for LAT 2XX or GRK 2XX. Students decide which 2XX-level courses to take as 381 and are responsible for having taken at least two before graduating.

Note 3: When taking courses with undergraduates, graduate students will always be held to a higher standard: if you are not performing at a level deserving at least a B in every class, you are failing to do your job and fulfill agreed upon expectations, whereas undergraduates may on occasion or overall be below the B level and still be successful. Thus, for example, it should never be the case that you are unprepared. In 200-level classes, professors are encouraged to assign extra reading from the graduate reading list to graduate students and hold them responsible for it.

Reading List for the Comprehensive Examination:

Greek Authors
Author and Text Translation
Homer Iliad 1, 9, 22 All
Homer Odyssey any three books
Hesiod Erga 1-250 All
Lyric Poets any 4 complete in Campbell Bowra's Greek Lyric Poetry
Drama 2 plays each for 3 of the 4 dramatists and those read in class 25 plays
Herodotus 1 book All
Thucydides 1 book All
Plato Apologyor other short dialogue; Republicbook 1 Republic, Phaedo, Meno, Gorgias,one other dialogue
Orators: Lysias in Adams or Jebb's book Selections from the Attic Orators
Aristotle Poetics, Athenaion Politeia
Other suggestions: Theocritus, Plutarch, Lucian, OT-LXX, NT, Xenophon
Latin Authors
Author and Text Translation
Plautus 4 plays 8 plays
Terence 1 play 3 plays
Catullus All
Sallust 1 treatise
Lucretius 3 books All
Cicero 2 orations, 5 other works, Abbot letters, de Senectute, de Finibus
Caesar Bello Gallico4 books, Bello Civili1 book
Tibullus 1 book
Propertius 1 book
Horace Odes3 books, Epistles1 book
Vergil Aeneid8 books, Eclogues All
Ovid Metamorphoses1 book All
Juvenal 6 Satires
Pliny the Younger Selected Letters
Petronius Cena Trimalchionis

Note:This reading should occupy all of your spare time from the moment you know that you are entering the MA program until you take your exams: summers,vacations, etc. Your classes will only cover some of this reading, and so you are responsible for a good deal of independent reading. You should set yourself a schedule and work on it. Reading groups amongst graduate students are a good idea. You can negotiate changes to the reading list that preserve the same basic mix or poetry/prose, genres, etc. with the Graduate Coordinator.

Modern Foreign Languages:

One modern language (French, German, Italian, or Spanish) is required. For continued work towards the Ph.D. a reading knowledge of two of these languages is highly recommended. The exam is administered in the following way: You will be asked to translate into English a text on a classical subject of about one paragraph, chosen by the examiner. The test lasts about 10 minutes. To take the exam register for GRAD 385 (Master's Language Examination) for the semester of the exam(s). Graduate students should notify the graduate advisor of when they wish to take the exam(s) well beforehand. Note: You may audit modern foreign language classes at UVM, but you must make the arrangements with the instructor.

The Comprehensive Exam

has three parts, each taken on separate days. Each part can be attempted twice only. The three parts are as follows: The Department tries to accommodate itself to your request of date and time for the exams. Each part can be attempted twice only. The three parts are as follows:

  1. Greek and Latin Sight Exam (4 hours): one text of poetry and one of prose in each language. Some Notes may be supplied. Texts will be chosen from authors on the Reading List or from those read in courses you have taken, or the equivalent in style and difficulty. This exam must be passed before you may attempt the philology exam. This exam may be divided in two with Greek taken on a different day from Latin.
  2. Greek and Latin Philology (4 hours): Some objective questions consisting of identifications of ancient authors, scholars, and reference materials; essay questions on genres and themes in Greek and Latin literature; comparative questions, particularly on the application of Greek sources in Latin literature.
  3. Greek and Roman History (3 hours): You may request a stress upon either Greek or Roman, or split the test equally between the two; there will be identifications, chronological questions, and essays, particularly on historiography.

Comprehensive exams are regularly offered at the following times:

  • First 2 weeks of Fall semesters: Greek and Latin translation exams and the History comprehensive exam.
  • First 2 weeks of Spring semesters: all comprehensive exams.

When to take exams:

  • Greek and Latin translation exams are to be taken at the beginning of the Fall semester of the second year.
  • The Philology exam is to be taken at the beginning of the Spring semester of the second year.
  • The History exam may be taken at the start of any semester./li>
  • If it is necessary to attempt an exam for a second time, the graduate advisor will arrange for that at the graduate student's request.

To take an exam:

  • Register for GRAD 397 (Master's Comprehensive Exam: this is for the Greek and Latin, History, and Philology exams).
  • Notify the graduate advisor of which exams will be taken when well before the beginning of each semester in which the exams are to be taken.

Substitutions are possible (e.g. in the past, the GKLT 300 final or a fortified version of it has been allowed to count for a philology exam on occasion, or a history course final exam may take care of (part of) the history exam), but that is not solely at your discretion and is not the normal procedure. The faculty have to agree that it makes sense for a student to make a substitution for that particular exam in that particular course.

For good reasons, one or more of the exams may be taken at another time, but they should by and large be done at the scheduled times by all grad students.

Note: These exams must be taken before the middle of the fourth semester, because you cannot schedule your thesis defense until they are successfully completed, and your thesis defense must be scheduled well before graduation (end of March) to get your degree at graduation.

Thesis and Oral Defense:

The thesis cannot be formally submitted until all parts of the Comprehensive Examination have been passed. When the thesis has been submitted, the Chair of the thesis committee schedules an Oral Examination. All members of the department are expected to attend, and other students are invited. This examination is primarily upon the thesis.

The thesis is directed usually by one member of the Department. Choice of thesis director is mainly determined by the subject matter of the thesis. When you enroll for Greek or Latin 391, you can expect to meet weekly through one or two semesters with your director and submit work in progress for advice. The final format of the thesis must adhere to the requirements established by the Graduate College. The Graduate College has a set of procedures for preparation of the thesis and the oral examination. Read them carefully. One requirement is that the Chair of the Oral Exam be from outside the Department. Your thesis director and you should arrange a choice of outside Chair very near the outset of your work on the thesis topic. You will also submit your thesis to at least one "Second reader" from within the Department. Usually it is a good procedure to do so well before the Oral Examination or even in the early stages of work.

Do not forget that during the period of thesis preparation you must also take the Comprehensive Examinations, which must be passed before your thesis can be read or approved.

Practicalities of writing a thesis:

A thesis is something that the student does on his or her own, from finding a topic to formulating an approach to getting it done. Advisors do not set deadlines or give assignments: they give advice, discuss ideas, point out resources, and lend a critical eye. Some advisors are more active than others, but the student should know that a thesis is very different from almost all of that student's previous academic experiences. The difference is independence. Thus the student is wholly responsible for deciding what to work on and when to work on it. If a student has not written a good portion of the thesis by the end of the third semester, it is not likely that the student will graduate in four semesters. Students should have a topic area by the end of the second semester and should actively work on it over the summer between second and third semesters. One good practical way to think about a thesis is as 3 to 5 large research papers. Another good thing to think about is that it is more important that the whole thesis be done than that any given part be great: it is often a good idea to write the whole thing, then revise, rather than try to revise the first part while writing the other parts. Set a schedule so that it is done as early as possible, but certainly done by mid-March at the very latest: in time for your committee to read it before the defense.

Important Note about forms, deadlines, etc.:

Deadlines for exams, guidelines for scheduling thesis defense, forms for thesis defense, etc. are determined by and publicly available from the Graduate College. Although faculty in Classics often know about or can find out such things, the student can too and should consult the Graduate College directly rather than rely on Classics faculty, because the Graduate College is the authoritative body in these matters.

GTAs and other teaching:

Teaching while being a graduate student is the norm at most institutions. It is valuable experience and usually students learn a good deal through teaching. It can, however, make completion of the degree within two years difficult. What is more, students often need to earn additional money in the summer or during the semester. Students whose finances require such teaching and extra work may find that they cannot finish the degree within two years. That is often not ideal, but it is best to be aware of it and plan accordingly.

Suggested Schedule (to get through in two years working at a steady pace):

This is an ideal that the exigencies of life often distort.

Summer before enrollment:
  • Work on modern language(s)
  • Read material on the reading lists
First Semester:
  • Take 9 credits: a 2XX (or 381) course in Greek, a 2XX (or 381) course in Latin, and history, prose style, or ancient art history: you need to take Proseminar (GKLT 300) if offered this semester
  • Continue independent work on reading list
  • Maintain, build, or start modern language(s) as needed: take exams if possible
  • Join VCLA (Vermont Classical Language Association) and CANE (Classical Association of New England): attend VCLA Fall meeting
Second Semester:
  • Take 9 credits: a 2XX (or 381) Greek and a 2XX (or 381) Latin, and history, prose style, or ancient art history
  • Continue independent work on reading list
  • Maintain, build, or start modern language(s) as needed: take exams if possible
  • Find a thesis topic and advisor
  • Join Eta Sigma Phi: attend CANE Spring meeting: consider joining other Classical associations (e.g., CAMWS, APA)
  • Consider submitting an abstract to present a paper at a meeting of one of those classical associations' meetings.
ummer between first and second year
  • Begin thesis work: aim to have one research-paper-sized chunk done by summer's end
  • Travel to Greece or Rome if possible: apply for grants/fellowships/ scholarships
  • Continue independent work on reading list
  • Maintain, build, or start modern language(s) as needed
  • Submit a paper or other work for a professional meeting (CAMWS, CANE, etc.)
Third Semester:
  • Take 3 credits of 2XX (or 381) course(s) or other advance coursework: you need to take Proseminar (GKLT 300) if offered this semester
  • Take 391 (thesis): if not doing a thesis, take more courses
  • Continue independent work on reading list
  • Take modern language exams by now
  • Take 2 or 3 comprehensive exams
  • Write bulk of thesis
  • Form Thesis Committee: helpful suggestions available at the Graduate College website
  • One Advisor
  • One or more members with relevant expertise
  • A Chair: must be a member of the Graduate College Faculty and must be from outside the Classics Dept.; need not have relevant expertise, but it's not a bad idea; comes in at the end, reads the thesis, and keeps us honest
  • Apply for next stage if continuing in academia: grad. school, Fulbright, etc.
Fourth Semester:
  • Take 3 or 6 credits of 2XX (or 381) course(s)
  • Take 391 (thesis): if not doing a thesis, take more courses
  • Finish thesis writing by mid-semester
  • Finish comprehensive exams by midsemester
  • Enroll in GRAD 397 (Comprehensive Exams) the semester you intend to complete your comprehensive exams: if add/drop has ended, go to Grad College and they will help you
  • Verify that faculty have submitted Proof of Successful Completion of Comprehensive Exam forms after exams
  • Thesis Option
  • At the beginning of the semester in which you plan to submit your thesis, you should examine all of the following process with care to make sure you understand it all and know what to do and when to do it: any questions should be referred to the Graduate College
  • Register for GRAD 399 (thesis defense) at the beginning of the semester you plan to defend your thesis
  • Review the Graduate College's Timetable for various graduation dates (avail. from Grad College)
  • Fill out Defense Notice Form (avail. at Grad. College) and post in department
  • One month prior to defense (at least):
  • Have the Graduate College check the format of your thesis (guidelines avail. from Grad. College)
  • Fill out Defense Notice Form (avail. at Grad. College) and post in department
  • Submit Exam Defense Record Form and Change of Grade Form (avail. at Graduate College) to the Graduate College within 3 business days after defense
  • Electronic submission is possible: ask at Grad. College for details
  • You may have personal copies of your thesis bound: ask at Grad. College for details

Please link here for application in the Graduate College.

For further information contact Prof. Jacques Bailly, Co-ordinator of Graduate Studies

Last modified November 28 2012 03:56 PM