About the Program
The Graduate Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World is designed to allow students to custom build an interdisciplinary course of study that satisfies their own intellectual interests while remaining true to the rigorous and thorough training that is expected of University of Chicago graduates.
The first two years of study towards the Ph.D. are spent engaged in coursework. In consultation with the PAMW Graduate Advisor, students will devise a program of courses that range across, but are not limited to, the language, history, and culture of the Graeco-Roman worlds, Egypt, and the Near East. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with various aspects of the ancient world (literature, philosophy, history, art and archaeology, and religion) and are encouraged to explore various methodological and theoretical approaches derived from other disciplines, especially the social sciences.
The centerpiece of the program in these first two years is the two-quarter Ancient Mediterranean Seminar, co-taught by two PAMW Faculty members, which is designed to introduce students to issues of historical method while studying a topic that changes annually. A series of Methods Workshops familiarizes students with important ancillary skills such as literary criticism, papyrology, palaeography, epigraphy, and writing academic reviews.
At the end of the second year of study, students assemble a committee of three Faculty members who will advise them as they prepare for the Field Examination, which is sat before the end of the third year. The Field Examination is intended to test broad competency and knowledge in one ancient culture area (the major) as well as requisite research skills in connection with two more specialized topics (the minors).
Students are also expected to demonstrate competence in two modern languages (normally French and German) and two ancient languages, the first of which must be examined before the end of the second year and the second before the end of the fourth year.
Once the Field Examination is completed, the student assembles a Dissertation Committee of three faculty members (who may, or may not, be the same as the members of the Field Examination committee). The Committee will assist the student in preparing a Dissertation Proposal, which must be presented within a year of the Field Examination. The final Dissertation is defended before members of the Department and interested members of other Departments. The curriculum is designed so that all requirements can be fulfilled within six years.