Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics

General Information

Ancient philology is the study of ancient languages, interpretation of literature, and understanding ancient culture through texts. Typical questions asked in philology classes: What did this text mean to the ancient audience? Why is this text still meaningful in the modern world? How does this text reflect the values and experiences of ancient culture? What questions did the ancients ask of literary texts? What questions to modern interpreters ask?

The Department of Classics offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Classics with a specialization in Greek and Latin Philology. The Ph.D. degree prepares students to become active, publishing scholars and instructors in colleges and universities. The M.A. degree may be used as a stepping stone to another degree program or as additional preparation for K-12 teachers.

The practice of philology requires a number of linguistics skills as well as theoretical and interpretative knowledge. Our students obtain a high degree of proficiency in Greek and Latin through course work, independent reading with the aid of a reading list, and sight examinations. They also master reading knowledge of at least two modern languages. German and French are essential tools for reading secondary scholarship, and students are encouraged to learn Italian or another modern language as well.

Course work involves reading classes, which are offered in a four-year cycle of author and genre courses, and seminars, in which students engage in research involving both ancient texts and modern interpretation.

A wide variety of author, genre, and theme-based courses are offered. A recent selection includes courses on Greek prose fiction, Roman Imperial drama, Homeric language, travel literature, ancient education, ancient literary criticism, as well as many courses on specific authors and works. Students also take courses in Greek and Latin prose composition and ancient linguistics.

The Burnam Classical Library, in which graduate student carrels are located, is arguably the best Classics library in North America. It contains over 270,000 volumes, and the collection in philology is particularly remarkable. The core collection includes many early editions, going back to the sixteenth century, and a special paleography section. Our librarians continue to acquire, to the degree possible, all publications relating to ancient Greece and Rome, and some of our serial holdings are rarely found in other major university collections. As a result, students are able to take on projects that would be impossible at many other institutions.

The UC philology program places a special emphasis on understanding ancient texts in their cultural contexts. To this end, philologists are required to do course work in ancient history and in archaeology. Our students are encouraged to participate in an interdisciplinary course Introduction to Literary Theory and may also take courses in such topics as Early Christian or Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College, which is located within easy walking distance of the UC campus. Two of our faculty participate in the Women’s Studies Department at UC, and gender studies is a recurring theme in many of our courses. Another area of specialization for the faculty is papyrology, with study of both literary and documentary texts.

There are currently 12 students in Philology at UC. We particularly encourage foreign students to apply to our program. Recent graduates of the Philology program have obtained positions at Hamilton College, Brooklyn College (CUNY), Grand Valley State University, Miami University, Kalamazoo College, Xavier University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Illinois University, Grinnell College, Ohio State University, and the University of Cincinnati.

Admission and Fellowship

Students interested in applying for admission to the graduate program should contact the Graduate Advisor for Philology and History, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applicants are strongly encouraged to arrange to visit the department.

For application guidelines click here.

Teaching and Research Personnel

We currently have seven philologists associated with the department:

Lauren Ginsberg, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Classics, Roman narratives of civil war.
Kathryn J. Gutzwiller, Ph.D., Professor of Classics, Affiliated Faculty with Women's Studies. Greek and Latin poetry, Hellenistic literature, literary theory, feminist studies.
Daniel Markovic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Classics. Latin literature, ancient rhetorical and philosophical education, didactic poetry. 
Susan H. Prince, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Classics. Ancient Greek thought and literature, Socratic traditions.
Valeria Sergueenkova, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Classics. Ancient historiography and the history of science.
Harold C. Gotoff, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Classics.
Ann Michelini, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Classics.

Support and Travel

We offer fellowships (with tiers between $20,000 to $22,000 per year) for up to seven years for Ph.D. students entering with a relevant BA degree or up to six years for students entering with a relevant M.A. degree. An additional stipend of $2,000 is routinely available for independent study during the summer for students resident in Cincinnati or traveling to study abroad.

Our students are encouraged to spend their fourth or fifth year studying abroad, and fellowship money may be used for this purpose. In recent years students have chosen to study in Italy, Greece, Germany, and the Netherlands. Our students are also often successful in winning Fulbright Fellowships or Fellowships at the American School in Athens or the American Academy in Rome.

Teaching and Professional Training

All philology students are given opportunities to teach as part of their training. The UC Classics Department does not draw a distinction between students on fellowship and students supported through teaching assistantships. Generally, students do not teach in their first year, but in later years students normally spend some, but not all, semesterss teaching one course. Philologists teach Latin and Greek courses and more advanced students may also teach undergraduate lecture courses, such as Classical Civilization. Experience in teaching and other service, often involving library research, are considered essential forms of preparation for careers in the academic world.

Faculty work closely with students to train them in professional activities, such as writing abstracts, delivering papers at conferences, and publishing articles. Some students participate in the Preparing Future Faculty Program. Service to the department includes a variety of professional activities, such as editing journals or manuscripts.


The Department receives many applications each year from students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Philology. We are highly selective in our admissions policy. To be seriously considered for admission, a student should hold a B.A. in Classics or the equivalent.

In making our decision we consider the following factors:

*extent of knowledge of Greek and Latin
*facility in modern languages, especially German and French
*letters of recommendations from teachers who know the applicant well
*undergraduate GPA
*samples of written work
*statement of purpose

All candidates for admission are required to take the Graduate Record Examination and submit their scores with their application.

We are particularly eager to receive applications from students at foreign institutions. A number of foreign students are currently in residence from such countries as Italy, Greece, Canada, and U.K.

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Philology:

  1. Sight examinations in Greek and Latin
  2. French and German sight examinations
  3. Comprehensive examinations in Greek literature, Latin Literature, Ancient History
  4. Dissertation

M.A. students may choose to specialize in Classical Philology (both Greek and Latin), or Greek or Latin Philology. All M.A. students are required to complete 30 credit hours of course work, including one seminar in the field of primary interest, one course in Archaeology, and one course in Ancient History. The M.A. degree normally requires a two-year course of study.