The Joint Program in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy


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Please note that, in addition to the Department's requirements, the Division of Humanities also has requirements for the PhD.

The requirements for the joint program given below are in many ways the same as those for students in the regular Philosophy PhD program. (Note: these requirements apply only to graduate students also enrolled in the Philosophy PhD program. For the requirements for the joint program that apply to graduate students also enrolled in the Classics PhD program, please click here.) Differences are found in the distribution of courses (some must be Classics department courses); in the required rate of progress through the program (in certain cases the required Greek or Latin literature survey may be completed during the third year in the program); and in the language requirement.  Below you will find a complete list of the requirements with those special to the Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy program highlighted in boldface.

Contact the director of the program, Gabriel Lear, with any questions or if you are considering this joint program.

Course Requirements

a. Number of Required Courses

Students must complete at least twelve courses in their first two years of study: the First-Year Seminar and eleven graduate courses. (An exception with respect to completing the Greek [or Latin] prose survey is noted below.)

First-year students must enroll in the First-Year Seminar. This is a year-long course that has generally met in past years four or five times a quarter, although its exact organization and scheduling varies from year to year according to the instructor's discretion. It is graded on a pass-fail basis.

In addition, eleven graduate courses must be completed with a grade of B or better.

  • at least nine of these courses must be in the Department of Philosophy listings;
  • at least two of these courses must be graduate-level courses originating in the Department of Classics (i.e., one quarter of the graduate literature survey plus one other);
  • reading and research courses do not count among these eleven classes;
  • at least one must be a graduate seminar in Philosophy.

b. Distribution of Required Courses

Students are required to take one course in each of the following three areas of contemporary philosophy:

  • Value theory (listed in the course descriptions as I)
  • Philosophy of science and logic (listed in the course descriptions as II)
  • Epistemology and metaphysics (listed in the course descriptions as III)

three courses on the history of philosophy as follows:

  • A figure or movement in either Ancient or Medieval Philosophy (listed in the course descriptions as IV)
  • A figure or movement in Modern Philosophy from the 17th through 19th centuries (listed in the course descriptions as V)
  • One additional course on a figure or movement in either IV or V


  •  One quarter (prose or poetry) of the graduate-level literature survey offered in the Department of Classics.  Normally, students will take the quarter devoted to Greek prose (usually winter, alternating years), but may take Greek poetry, Latin prose, or Latin poetry if that better suits the student’s philosophical interests.  Students are advised that they must have the equivalent of three years of language study before they will be allowed to take the survey.

It should be noted that not all graduate courses satisfy a field distribution requirement; those not classified in the published course descriptions as belonging to I-V cannot be used to satisfy the distribution requirement. Nor can Philosophy 30000 (Elementary Logic) be used to satisfy a field distribution requirement.

c. Logic Requirement

There is a requirement in logic that can be satisfied in several ways.

  • By passing Philosophy 30000 (Elementary Logic) with a grade of B or higher.
    Philosophy 30000 is offered every Autumn quarter. It counts toward the twelve course requirement but does not satisfy the field II distribution requirement.
  • By passing a course equivalent (or better) to Philosophy 30000 (Elementary Logic), at another institution or in another department at Chicago, with a grade of B+ or higher. The equivalence of the course in question to Philosophy 30000 will be determined by the instructor in Philosophy 30000 in the year in question, on the basis of an interview with the student, and such evidence as the syllabus for the course, the textbook for the course, and any other course materials provided by the student. Note that satisfying the logic requirement in this way will count neither toward one of the twelve required courses nor toward satisfying the field II distribution requirement.
  • By passing an advanced graduate course in logic with a grade of B or higher.
    Passing an advanced graduate course in logic would both satisfy the logic requirement and count toward the field II distribution requirement.

d. Required Progress

Courses must be completed, with a grade of B or better, according to the following timetable.

  • two courses should be completed by the beginning of the winter quarter of the first year
  • four courses (at least three in the Department of Philosophy) should be completed by the beginning of the third quarter
  • six courses should be completed by September 30 of the second year
  • ten courses should be completed by the end of the fifth quarter
  • all twelve courses (eleven plus the First-Year Seminar) must be completed by September 30 following the sixth quarter with the following exception: if the Greek (or Latin) literature survey was offered in the student’s first year and if s/he was not prepared at that time to take it, s/he may complete that requirement in the third year

e. Incompletes

At the discretion of the instructor, coursework not completed on time may be regarded as an "incomplete." This means that the instructor will permit a student to complete the work for a course after the normal deadline.

The instructor sets the time period for completion of the incomplete, subject to the following limitation: all coursework must be submitted by September 30th following the quarter in which the course was taken in order to count toward fulfillment of the requirements for the MA and PhD. This date is an absolute deadline and is not subject to further extensions by individual faculty members.

f. Grades

Satisfactory grades for work toward the PhD in philosophy are A, A-, B+, and B.

For Philosophy faculty, those grades mean the following. A: pass with distinction; A-: high pass; B+: pass; B: low pass.

Foreign Language Exam

Any student intending to write a thesis on Ancient Greek or Roman philosophy must pass the Departmental or University exam in Greek (the latter with a "High Pass"). Any student intending to write a thesis on Hellenistic or Roman philosophy must also pass the Departmental or University exam in Latin (the latter with a "High Pass").

In addition to these language requirements, all students in the program are strongly encouraged to develop competence in Latin as well as Greek, regardless of their dissertation topic. If possible, all such students should also develop reading knowledge of German or French in addition. Students should meet with the program director to develop an individual plan for this further language learning.


Revision Workshop Essay, Topical, and Dissertation

Requirements are the same as for students in the standard track with the exception that the Revision Workshop Essay and Dissertation must be on a topic in ancient Greek or Roman philosophy.

The Placement Workshop

This workshop is for Philosophy PhD students who are planning on seeking an academic job as a philosophy professor. The workshop is taught by the Placement Director, with the assistance of other members of the departmental faculty. It is designed to help students to complete and polish all the required components of a job dossier and to provide other sorts of preparation for going on the academic job market. For more information on the Placement Workshop, please click here.

Summary of Time Expectations

By the end of the sixth quarter (normally, the second year):

  • Ten courses (not including Greek prose survey) plus first year seminar completed
  • Second Year essay completed
  • Language exam(s) completed

By the end of the ninth quarter (normally, spring of the third year):

  • Greek (or Latin) prose survey completed
  • A first tentative draft of a Dissertation Sketch submitted and a preliminary meeting with the potential committee held

By the beginning of the tenth quarter (normally, fall of the fourth year):

  • A final Dissertation Sketch, including the schedule and format for the approved, following a meeting with the dissertation committee

By the beginning of the eleventh quarter (normally, winter of the fourth year):

  • Topical passed
  • At this point the student is admitted to candidacy for the PhD

By the end of the fourteenth quarter (normally, winter of the fifth year):

  • The student should have completed enough material to be competitive for dissertation completion fellowships: at least one chapter of the dissertation and enough material blocked out to give advisors reason to believe that the thesis can be completed by the beginning of the student's seventh year

The end of the fifteenth quarter (normally, spring of the fifth year):

Students who do not meet the above expectations may not be permitted to continue in the program.

  • Prior to the fall quarter in which they wish to go on the job market, graduate students must enroll in the Placement Workshop


Faculty Regularly Engaged in the Teaching of Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy

Elizabeth Asmis (Classics) - Link

Agnes Callard (Philosophy) - Link

Anton Ford (Philosophy) - Link

Matthew Landauer (Political Science) - Link

Gabriel Lear (Philosophy) - Link

Jonathan Lear (Committee on Social Thought and Philosophy) - Link

Glen Most (Committee on Social Thought) - Link

Martha Nussbaum (Law School and Philosophy) - Link

David Wray (Classics) - Link