Prospective Students

From the Director of Graduate Studies

If you would like to pursue a Ph.D. in Classical Studies within a close-knit and vibrant community in one of the country’s top-ranked institutions, the Classical Studies program at Duke University looks forward to your application.

The Ph.D. program in Classical Studies at Duke comes with amazing resources: a world-class library, including the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library; the Duke Classical Collection of Antiquities at the Nasher Museum of Art, collegial and curiosity-driven graduate students, and a faculty devoted to excellence in teaching, research, service, and mentorship. This warm community of scholars is excited to welcome new colleagues like you. Duke Classical Studies offers the best of both worlds: we are a small, tight-knit group such as you might find at a liberal arts college, but we are also part of a high-powered research institution where the humanities – and interest in the ancient world – are thriving.

The interests of our core faculty range widely, from Aegean prehistory to the medieval period, and our students explore a diverse range of topics:

  • History from Bronze Age to Early Medieval
  • Archaeology, material culture (including Iron Age Anatolia, pre-Roman Italy)
  • Roman provinces, ethnicity and identity (especially Africa and Iberian Peninsula)
  • Gender and sexuality (including in history, literature, law)
  • Religion (including Greek and Roman, late antiquity, early medieval)
  • Theater and performance studies (including trauma, spectacle, modern reception)
  • Economics, law, philosophy, political theory, ancient medicine, science/technology
  • Papyrology, paleography, epigraphy, Digital Classics 
  • Literary theory, textual criticism, and the history of the book

Many of our faculty and students enjoy strong intellectual ties with other departments such as Art, Art History and Visual Studies; History; Literature; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Theater Studies; Political Science; and Religious Studies, as well as with colleagues just down the road at UNC-Chapel Hill. Here, then, is a department where you can discover not only the things that excite you, but also their many points of contact with other subjects, disciplines, and scholars.

Students work closely with faculty from the start, navigating one of two flexible tracks within the Ph.D. program. One emphasizes robust, broad training in Classical literature and history, and the other offers specialized training in Mediterranean Archaeology, broadly defined. All admitted students are awarded nationally competitive financial support for a guaranteed five years; this includes full tuition, fees, health coverage, and an annual stipend that continues to be one of the highest in the country for humanities graduate students. Our students also have the chance to apply for additional scholarships and fellowships, university and departmental travel awards, support for modern foreign-language study, and funding beyond the fifth year. They have the opportunity to TA in the second and third year and then, in the fourth and fifth, to take the reins and teach one course per semester (Latin, Greek, or courses in translation) to some of the most accomplished undergraduates in the world.

As a department we value the diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences as an essential component of academic excellence. We recruit students and faculty with these rich and varied strengths in mind. We work to make our academic environment safe and welcoming for everyone. We act with our principles in view. Every student enjoys the robust support of a network of departmental mentors. Next year graduate students will teach a graduate seminar, of their own design, on the history of racism in the field. As part of our wide commitment to inclusive pedagogy and research, the Department hosts a regular anti-racism reading group, which is jointly led by faculty and grad students. And this year we welcomed the first student to our fully funded Bridge-to-the-PhD Program, which is designed to lower barriers to graduate study for talented students from underrepresented communities (including first generation students and students from low-income backgrounds) who would benefit from an additional year of language training before they matriculate into our PhD program. Fellows are supported by a 12-month package that includes full tuition coverage, a PhD level stipend with benefits, and full summer funding; after a year of satisfactory progress Bridge fellows are admitted to our PhD program. “Collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging” are not only the watchwords of Duke University’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, but crucial animating principles of our intellectual community.

Durham, which surrounds our beautiful campus, is a small city where people can feel at home. It is also filled with great restaurants, parks, nature trails, and a lively music and arts scene. Durham overflows with life, ideas, and opportunities, just the way we aim to be in Classical Studies.

To learn more about our program and decide whether Duke Classical Studies is a place where you can see yourself growing and thriving, visit our website or email me, or any of our faculty. Please note that for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle, our deadline is Thursday December 19, 2024. Our department has continued to waive the GRE requirement as part of our application; we are also able to arrange for fee waivers where necessary (contact the DGS for details). We look forward to hearing from you.

With every good wish for your future career,

Josh Sosin
Associate Professor, Classical Studies
Director of Graduate Studies


Financial Support

The Department of Classical Studies supports for five years all students to whom we have offered admission and who are making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. Read more

How to Apply

Students seeking to do graduate work at Duke University for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the dean. Read more

Bridge Program

We are proud to offer a Bridge-to-the-PhD Fellowship program, which is designed to lower barriers of access to graduate study for talented students from underrepresented communities (including first generation students and students from low-income backgrounds) who would benefit from an additional year of language training before matriculating into our PhD program.  Read more

Living in Durham

Durham is a great place for graduate study: affordable, green, rich in art & culture, vibrant, welcoming, family-friendly and smart--with the highest concentration of Ph.D’s in the nation. Read more