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Classics MA/PhD and languages


seaofghosts

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Hey everyone!

 

Right now I'm an undergrad at UNLV studying history and I intend to go onto grad school in either Classics or Medieval Studies (depends on where the next couple years take me, I suppose!).

 

Here's the thing though. I'm not sure how much room I have for a minor in Classics. I really want to minor, but I've been in college for 8+ years, got my history AA last semester (worked full time through it all), and I'm finally able to go to school full time to finish up my BA. I need only upper division history to get my AA in history, which is somewhere around... 3-4 semesters, depending on how many courses I take. I'm registered for Elementary Latin I next semester, and at LEAST want to do Elem Latin II, but how much does it really matter? Could I get into a decent school with only two semesters of Latin (provided everything else in my application is solid)? If I do the minor, it would probably add an extra year (it requires four semesters of Latin and two semesters of Greek), and I don't know how much I'm willing to do that, considering it's already taken so long just to finally transfer into the university. Would two semesters of Latin and no Greek be enough, or should I expect to do a post-bacc for the missing language skills?

 

I also have two semesters of Spanish and German under my belt -- any reason to continue pursuing those? I've heard German might be helpful, but I have even LESS time for it...

 

Thanks!

Edited by seaofghosts
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In short, you will need a lot more of both Latin and Greek (2 years min. of each, I expect). Get it over with now. You will be kicking yourself for not starting the language work early. In fact, I doubt you would even get into a good classics MA with that low amount of language work, let alone a PhD program. I suspect most classics doctoral students come in with three or four years of each language?

 

cheers

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Take a look at the admissions requirements for graduate programs in classics and medieval studies.  One year of Latin and no Greek will get you nowhere, at least for classics.  Even for medieval studies, you might be okay with no Greek, but you'll certainly need more Latin.  For classics, you should be shooting for something like three years in one language and two in the other.  You could do a postbac, extend your undergraduate degree, and/or graduate and spend a year in a place where you can take Greek and Latin part-time at a local university.  

 

German is the most important modern language for classics -- you'll need to be able to read academic works in it if you do a PhD.  You'll also need to acquire either French or Italian or both down the road as well.  Prior study of Spanish will help with those.

Edited by Petros
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Just remember that in graduate school for classics, you will probably be reading 1,000+ lines/week for survey alone. On top of that, you'll have three or so other classes which will also require ~300-600 lines/week. You'll need as much experience with both languages as possible by the time you enter. To be a competitive applicant, I would say that 2-3 years of language experience is on the low side -- many people enter with 5-7 years under their belts. I can't really speak to medieval studies!

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German is the most important modern language for classics -- you'll need to be able to read academic works in it if you do a PhD.  You'll also need to acquire either French or Italian or both down the road as well.  Prior study of Spanish will help with those.

 

Would I be able to self-study German on my own for this purpose, or do PhD programs expect me to have formal experience? I do very well with German (and most languages, really) so I think it might be feasible to just make time for it during undergrad in addition to my other courses.

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Would I be able to self-study German on my own for this purpose, or do PhD programs expect me to have formal experience? I do very well with German (and most languages, really) so I think it might be feasible to just make time for it during undergrad in addition to my other courses.

I think that self study is totally fine. Programs just want you to be able to read scholarship in German. Good luck!
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