PhD Admissions

The Ph.D. in Classics provides a forum for advanced research in classics, including language, literature, history, as well as archaeology and material culture. The Department recognizes the importance of situating specialist research within a broader context that presupposes a comprehensive view of classical antiquity. Applications to our graduate programs are being accepted on an ongoing basis. If you are considering an MA or PhD in Classics, please contact the Graduate Chair Dr. Kyle Gervais, or the Graduate Assistant Kathleen Beharrell. 

Admissions Policies and Standards

Students applying to the Ph.D. program are normally required to possess an M.A. in classics, having achieved an average of at least 80%. Applicants are required to submit a completed application form, transcripts, a statement of their research interests and a sample of academic written work, normally a sample term paper or thesis chapter. All applicants must also arrange for the submission of three letters of recommendation.

Unusually well prepared students may be admitted to the Ph.D. program directly without an M.A., provided that they have completed an undergraduate Honours B.A. in classics with the equivalent of at least four years of training in each of Latin and Greek and a broad preparation in the reading of ancient texts in the original languages. Decisions for direct entry admission are made at the discretion of the Graduate Committee of the Department.

Every student from overseas whose first language is not English must take ONE of: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination and obtain a score of at least 550; IELTS (International English Language Testing Service of the British Council) and receive a score of at least 6 OR MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) of the University of Michigan and receive a score of 85 overall with a minimum of 80 on each of parts 1, 2 and 3.

The application dossiers are reviewed by the Graduate Committee in the Department and each reviewer presents a short list of preferred candidates. Applicants recommended for admission are then contacted by telephone by the Graduate Chair or a designated faculty member. At the end of this process, the desired number of new candidates is accepted into the program. At present our ideal annual intake is six M.A. candidates. Initially, we expect to admit two to four Ph.D. candidates annually.

Residency Requirements

The School of Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies does not have residency requirements but students in the Ph.D. program are normally expected to remain on campus for a minimum of four years. The Department recognizes that students conducting field research in Archaeology or related subjects are required to spend a period of time away from campus. In the event that a student obtains approval to study or conduct research elsewhere during this period, the residency requirement may be adjusted.

The graduate application will provide Western with the following:

  • Biographical information
  • Contact information
  • Statement of academic intent (if applicable)
  • Academic background
  • Professional background (if applicable)
  • Referee information (references collected electronically upon receipt of application)
  • Proficiency in English Scores (if applicable) (applicant must have testing service send score electronically to Western
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Western's TOEFL ID is 0984.
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) of the British Council.
  • Test Scores (GRE) (if applicable, input your program's minimum score requirement). Western's GRE ID is 0984.
  • An electronic copy of transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended.

A Complete Application Consists of the Following:

  1. A completed Application through School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  2. An electronic copy of transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies
  3. Three letters of recommendation from referees familiar with the applicant's recent academic work
  4. Official proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL), for all students whose first language is not English
  5. A sample of written work in English, such as a recent graduate term paper or thesis chapter
  6. A list of academic awards, achievements, honours or other distinctions you have received
  7. A list of Greek and Latin authors read, and specify whether they are in the original language or in translation
  8. This completed form listing of Greek and Latin courses taken. (Minimum of four years of Greek and Latin).
  9. A statement of "Proposed Plan of Study" of approximately 500 words
  10. Discuss any other information you feel would be important to the Graduate Admission Committee in evaluating your application.
  11. Describe any professional employment experience you have that you feel is relevant to the field of studies you plan to pursue.

If you have any questions about the graduate application process please contact the Graduate Assistant Kathleen Beharrell at

Application Deadline: January 15th (date of first consideration)

(Any application received after January 15th is contingent on space availability and funding).