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Graduate Studies

MA Program

Master's Program

All students are advised of the following progression requirements, and of the policy of the School of Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies (SGPS) regarding "Incompletes". These additional guidelines are intended to provide students with an understanding of what is expected of them during their graduate career, both their course loads and the rate of completion of their course work.

All students are responsible for abiding by the regulations laid down by SGPS in the graduate calendar and on the SGPS web site (see Click on Graduate Calendar, Section 6.

Program and Progression Requirements

An M.A. normally takes five terms.

Course Load

Students in the M.A. program must complete 6.5 Full Course Equivalents (FCE) during their five terms of residency, normally taking three courses (3.0 FCE) in each of the two academic years (September-May) and an independent research project (0.5 FCE) from May-August of the first year. These are normally graduate courses, but where students are lacking the prerequisite background to pursue a course of study at the graduate level, up to 2.0 FCE at the undergraduate level in Classical Studies, Greek, and/or Latin can be allowed over the two years (5 terms) of the M.A by application to and approval from the Graduate Affairs Committee.

Core Course Requirement

CS 9000 is a special survey course for all grduate students in the Department, to be taken in the student's first year of enrollment. This "Core Course" is focused on the basic research methodologies of the discipline, introducting students to the major scholarly approaches and questions of the discipline of Classics as well as to give students a broad perspective on the discipline as a whole, through the examination of selected texts and evidence from archaeological and material culture. Students are exposed to the standard scholarly literature for and critical approaches to four major genres: Philosophy and Oratory; History and Historiography; Archaeology and Material Culture; and Literature.


Every two weeks there will normally be a one-hour proseminar for all students. The proseminars are designed to help students develop skills for a career inside or outside academia. Topics will vary from year to year, but include: writing an abstract; writing a grant proposal; applications to PhD programs; working with research tools (TLL/TLG); textual criticism; introduction to resources in ancillary disciplines; developing research skills.

There will be no examination, but students are required to attend all the proseminars that are applicable to their career path. Students must notify the Graduate Chair if they are ill and have to miss a workshop.

Auditing Courses

Some students may be advised to audit undergraduate courses in which case they will be expected to attend a minimum of 80% of these classes.

Modern Language Requirement

Classics is an international discipline with important work published in most modern European languages, often unavailable in English translation. Competent researchers must be able to work with the secondary literature in their fields. Consequently, students must pass a written foreign language examination during the program to demonstrate they have a reading knowledge of a modern language other than English. German has traditionally been central to the discipline, but French and Italian may also be considered.The Modern Language exam is offered three times a year: September, January and April. First-year MA students must attempt to take the Modern Language exam no later than April of their first year, and each time subsequently until they have passed the exam. This language requirement is met by passing a translation test, to be written with the aid of a dictionary, set by the Department.

Visiting Speakers

The department sponsors a program of lectures offered by visiting scholars. Normally there will be at least two or three such events per term. These lectures are considered to be a valuable part of graduate training. Attendance at all of these events is mandatory for graduate students.

Progression Review

At the beginning of Term 2 (or the start of Term 5 for continuing students), the Graduate Chair of the department (after consultation with the mentors and instructors) will meet with each student to discuss the student's progression, along with that student’s mentor. At this meeting a progress report is signed by the student.

If a student should fail to meet the Progression Requirements set out in this document, if there is a concern, the Graduate Chair of the Department, in consultation with the Graduate Affairs Committee, will draw up a plan of work that the student will be expected to follow in order to make up the deficit within a prescribed period of time.

Funding for Term 3 and all subsequent terms is dependent upon the progression of the student.

Interdisciplinary and Cross-Disciplinary Courses
The University of Western Ontario offers Interdisciplinary and Cross-disciplinary Courses. Click here for a list of graduate-level courses open to graduate students outside of their home program. Students are required to meet any enrolment criteria and obtain permission from the instructor or program offering the course, as well as the supervisor or home program. The Request Form is to be submitted to the student’s home program in order to be enrolled.


For the second year, two options are available for M.A. students, a course-based option and a thesis option.


Summer (Term 3)
Those choosing the non-thesis option must take an independent research course (0.5 Course Equivalent), which entails the writing of a Research Paper. Guidelines for this are available from the Graduate Chair. Proposals for summer research papers should be submitted to your mentor/supervisor by March 15. It is expected that the student will consult beforehand with his/her mentor concerning a topic.

Year Two (Terms 4 and 5)
For the course-based option, students normally enroll in 3.0 FCE/term at the graduate level in Terms 4 and 5. All requirements must be completed by the end of April in Term 5 in order for the student to graduate in the Spring Convocation.

II. Thesis Option

Summer (Term 3)
Those students who wish to pursue the thesis option should consult with their mentor and they must declare their choice to the Graduate Chair by March 15 of the first year. Students will be informed about all regulations that apply to this option. The advantages and disadvantages of both the thesis and the course-work options will be discussed with the students. Consideration of the overall goals of the students will be a factor in this discussion.

After consultation with the Graduate Chair, those students who pursue the thesis option should design their summer research project to function as Chapter 1 of the thesis (0.5 Course Equivalent). The project will be reviewed at the end of the summer, and if it is judged to be both feasible as a thesis topic and to have a good chance of success, the Graduate Affairs Committee (GAC) will approve the student’s request to pursue an MA thesis. If the work submitted at the end of the summer is not judged to be a foundation for a successful thesis, the GAC will recommend that the student pursue the course-based option. The thesis is completed in various stages: by March 15, the student must submit to his/her advisor a thesis proposal that consists of a statement of the question that will be explored, its place in scholarship, the methodology to be used and a preliminary bibliography.

Year Two (Terms 4 and 5)
In Terms 4 and 5 students, who are approved for writing a Thesis are enrolled in one regular graduate course (1.0 FCE) and 2.0 FCE’s are allotted to researching and writing the thesis.

In January or February of the second year (Term 5), thesis students normally present a lecture or seminar on their research to date and all requirements must be completed by the end of April of the second year in order to graduate in Spring Convocation.

The M.A. thesis and thesis examination will follow the regulations established by SGPS ( Click on Graduate Calendar, Section 8.

No funding is available from SGPS beyond Term 5.

Department of Classical Studies - The University of Western Ontario
Lawson Hall Rm 3205
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5B8
Tel: 519.661.3045 Fax: 519-850-2388

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