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Top Post Bacc programs in Classics?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 fortunata

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 09:47 AM

Hello!

I'm looking into post bacc programs in Classics to improve my Greek and Latin for future PhD work. I'm considering UPenn and UCLA--would anyone recommend one over the other? Are there any other programs I should have my eye on? It seems that UPenn has a good placement record for graduates into top PhD programs, but does anyone know anything about UCLA's stats?

Many thanks!
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#2 spozik

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:01 AM

In all honesty, it's whichever one is going to be easiest for you to attend financially and geographically. You want to spend as little money as possible doing it and network a bit so that you can get a recommendation from someone who works in your subfield. Keep in mind that you can pretty much do a "post-bac" anywhere: you just register as a non-degree-seeking student and take a few classes. Talk to the professors early on and map out a plan. You benefit them by filling a spot in their upper-level language courses, so it's win-win.

Edited by spozik, 23 October 2010 - 01:02 AM.

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#3 fortunata

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:52 PM

Thanks for the advice, spozik. I hadn't considered the possibility of getting an LoR, so it would make sense to choose a program based in part on my subfield, which is (for now) early Christianity. Part of the reason I'm interested in a post-bacc is to figure out if I want to make the switch from a Religious Studies to a Classical Studies focus. (I have a BA in both fields, and an MPhil in NT)

Since I have no problems relocating, I could choose a school based on the people as opposed to the school's/program's prestige. Does the fact that I would or would not earn a certificate at the completion of my studies mean anything to grad school admission committees? In other words, if I were to study as a non-degree student at a school that doesn't offer a certificate, would that affect the strength of my PhD application?
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#4 spozik

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 02:40 PM

Personally, I think Georgetown's post-bac program is the best. They are a smaller department and can actually focus resources on their post-bac students. I know that UNC, Iowa, and Columbia have post-bac programs as well. This page may be useful for you: http://classicaljour...cc-programs.php and this page http://classicaljour...hd-programs.php certainly will be when you apply for MA/PhD programs.

I've always thought "prestige" was a sham, but if you want that to shape your search, then by all means feel free. The people that make a program "good" are always moving around to different schools, though.

I really doubt that earning a certificate means anything at all. As far as I know, virtually all of the post-bac programs are just a semi-structured way to register you as a non-degree-seeking student--essentially, exactly what I described above. You'll probably be admitted as a "special student" or under some continuing education clause. The school at large probably doesn't even know what the program is called. The admissions committees are going to want to see that you have the advanced languages skills in Greek & Latin and (preferably) at least one modern foreign language. The more classes you take at that level, the better.
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#5 fortunata

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 04:08 PM

Many thanks, spozik! The links you provided are very helpful, as is your advice to seek out a program primarily in terms of departmental resources.
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#6 fortunata

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:07 AM

You may want to consider the cost of living. Those programs may be all well and good, but who can afford to pay for living in LA, NYC, or DC on top of what you're paying for school?


Well, I already live in NYC, so LA and DC aren't much of a stretch. Though lower living costs would be nice :)

UNC has an absolutely wonderful department, and the faculty members there are extremely nice and helpful. (Translation: I think it's hands down the best, but I'm probably biased.) Living in Chapel Hill or Carrboro can be a little expensive (though still much cheaper than most places outside the South), but Durham is dirt cheap and only a 15 minute drive away.


I've heard great things about UNC. I'll have a look at their Post Bacc and faculty pages.

If you have a BA in Classics, though, why not shoot for a MA program? There are a few funded terminal programs (Arizona, Tulane, Vandy, Tufts, etc.) that have good track records. The Religions of Western Antiquity program at FSU may be of interest to you as well.


My main reason for wanting to undertake a Post Bacc is... languages, languages, languages. I'm not certain I want to undertake another thesis (I completed an MPhil in 2009) or any major writing projects, though if I decide to make the switch from Religious Studies to Classical Studies, my PhD app might benefit from additional written work in this subject. I know a prof in RoWA at FSU--small program, definitely lots of individual attention, and she happens to work on my specific area of interest: disability and the ancient world.

Thanks for the suggestions, kemet!
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#7 LateAntique

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:45 AM

Also, Notre Dame is starting a fully-funded MA in Classics next fall (thus accepting applications this fall). You don't have to write a thesis (though you have the option).
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Applying: Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity), Duke (Ph.D Religion, Early Christianity), Marquette (Ph.D Historical Theology)
Interview: Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity): Feb. 24th
Accepted: Marquette (Ph.D Historical Theology), Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity)
Rejected: Duke (Ph.D Religion, Early Christianity)

Currently Attending: Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity)

#8 fortunata

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 02:45 AM

Also, Notre Dame is starting a fully-funded MA in Classics next fall (thus accepting applications this fall). You don't have to write a thesis (though you have the option).


Interesting, LateAntique. Thanks for the heads up. I'll have a better look at their department website to check out faculty profiles.

I gather that you're presently at Notre Dame? How do you like it? I have a MPhil in New Testament Studies, which makes the Classics MA at ND very attractive, as I see that there is some overlap with the faculty associated with Early Christianity. I'm still toeing the line between Early Christian studies (via an historical or sociological approach) and Classics, so I wouldn't mind the opportunity to pursue a (fully funded! yay!) MA at a school with strong interdepartmental relations.

May I also ask how many years of language coursework you had when you applied to ND? The department's website suggests a minimum of an intermediate level, which I have. I took 2 years of both Greek and Latin as an undergrad, and I focused on Koine Greek in grad school. I would be helpful to know if this would be enough on an application :)

Edited by fortunata, 26 October 2010 - 02:55 AM.

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#9 LateAntique

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 03:08 AM

Interesting, LateAntique. Thanks for the heads up. I'll have a better look at their department website to check out faculty profiles.

I gather that you're presently at Notre Dame? How do you like it? I have a MPhil in New Testament Studies, which makes the Classics MA at ND very attractive, as I see that there is some overlap with the faculty associated with Early Christianity. I'm still toeing the line between Early Christian studies (via an historical or sociological approach) and Classics, so I wouldn't mind the opportunity to pursue a (fully funded! yay!) MA at a school with strong interdepartmental relations.

May I also ask how many years of language coursework you had when you applied to ND? The department's website suggests a minimum of an intermediate level, which I have. I took 2 years of both Greek and Latin as an undergrad, and I focused on Koine Greek in grad school. I would be helpful to know if this would be enough on an application :)


I am at ND and I like it quite a lot. It's a great environment. I wish they were offering a Ph.D in Classics as I would jump on that immediately. The ECS Program is a testament to the benefits of doing Early Christianity while taking seriously its socio-historical environment.

I had done 3 years of Latin and Greek. In my last semester of undergrad, I was taking two Greeks and two Latins. I can't say what your competition will look like, so I don't know if your language prep will be enough. I do know that we had people come in on my year who had no Greek (they had to make it up the summer before they got here). My suspicion is that you will be fine, but I don't know for sure.
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Applying: Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity), Duke (Ph.D Religion, Early Christianity), Marquette (Ph.D Historical Theology)
Interview: Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity): Feb. 24th
Accepted: Marquette (Ph.D Historical Theology), Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity)
Rejected: Duke (Ph.D Religion, Early Christianity)

Currently Attending: Notre Dame (Ph.D Theology, History of Christianity)

#10 fortunata

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:20 PM

Thanks for the feedback, LateAntique! ND is on my radar, and what do I have to lose by applying? (Except for a hundred dollars here and there :blink: )
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#11 Myshkin

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:42 AM

Just out of curiosity, see what requirements the MA only programs have for languages. Do you already have some? Why pay a fortune for a Post-Bac (some are really expensive, right?) if you don't need one to get into a funded Masters program. You can improve your second language there and get a degree out of the process!
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#12 aletheuein

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:28 AM

At Penn, the post-bac program is not just "doing undergrad courses for non-degree credit". They have dedicated Post-Bac reading courses taught by real faculty; these course are the equivalent (in terms of reading experience) of 2 advanced level undergrad courses. Additionally, they will let you audit non-language courses for free (through permission of the instructor). If you audit and do some work for the course anyway, you can potentially rack up some rec cred. I would highly recommend Penn if you opt for the post-bac route--I looked at the other programs and I don't think they can compete.

However, it does cost about 10,000 for the year. If you can get into a funded MA program that would be better.
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#13 Sappho

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:17 PM

At Penn, the post-bac program is not just "doing undergrad courses for non-degree credit". They have dedicated Post-Bac reading courses taught by real faculty; these course are the equivalent (in terms of reading experience) of 2 advanced level undergrad courses. Additionally, they will let you audit non-language courses for free (through permission of the instructor). If you audit and do some work for the course anyway, you can potentially rack up some rec cred. I would highly recommend Penn if you opt for the post-bac route--I looked at the other programs and I don't think they can compete.

However, it does cost about 10,000 for the year. If you can get into a funded MA program that would be better.


I second the Penn recommendation. This is the oldest, most established, and best post-bac program in classics. People try to talk up other programs (UCLA, UNC, Columbia) but there is no comparison. Penn really is the best one.
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Applied To: Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, Michigan, Toronto, Texas, Penn, Brown, Columbia, Yale, Wisconsin
Rejected By: Brown (WTF?!)
Accepted By: Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, Michigan, Toronto, Texas, Penn, Columbia, Yale, Wisconsin


#14 cranberry

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:06 PM

I have no personal experience but have friends who have done post-baccs at UNC, Georgetown, and Penn. My friend who did his post-bacc at UNC loved it (but also did his master's there, so perhaps he's a little biased or whatnot). My friend who went to Georgetown raved about it, and the one who went to Penn was unimpressed with her experience there and actually thinks Georgetown would have been better. Not trying to bash Penn at all, just relaying what I've heard through the grapevine.

Edited by cranberry, 09 March 2011 - 07:39 PM.

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