Offered by Columbia University’s Department of Classics and the School of Professional Studies, the Classics Certificate Program provides college graduates with the opportunity to improve their facility with ancient Greek and Latin. The Program is designed primarily for students who would like to prepare for graduate-level study of classics or related disciplines such as ancient history, art and archaeology, philosophy, religion, or medieval studies, and is also useful for those interested in a career change.

Applicants admitted to the Program have generally completed prior coursework in ancient Greek or Latin. On occasion, the Program has admitted students with different academic backgrounds; such individuals should contact the Faculty Adviser to discuss whether the Program will meet their needs.

Motivated students can complete the required coursework in two or three semesters of full-time study. Part-time students can complete the Program in four or more semesters. Students who complete the curriculum with a grade of B (3.0) or better in all courses are eligible to receive a Certificate in Classics.

Students who have excelled in the Program have been accepted into M.A. and Ph.D. programs at institutions including:

• Brown

• Princeton

• Boston University

• Rutgers

• Cambridge

• University of California at Berkeley

• Columbia

• University of Chicago

• N.Y.U.

• University of Michigan

• Ohio State

• University of Texas at Austin

• Oxford

• Yale


During a departmental orientation held in the week before the beginning of their first semester in the Program, students take a diagnostic language examination to determine their placement in ancient Greek and Latin courses. After taking the placement exam, they meet with their Faculty Adviser to establish their curriculum. The orientation also provides opportunities to get acquainted with fellow students and departmental faculty and staff, and to learn about academic careers in classics and related fields.

The curriculum consists of eight courses:

  • The Postbaccalaureate Seminar (Greek/Latin W3980), offered every fall semester, provides students opportunities to (re‑)familiarize themselves with a selection of major texts from classical antiquity, which will be read in English. Students will become better acquainted with scholarship on these texts and with scholarly writing in general as they write analytically about these texts and the interpretations of them found in contemporary scholarship. In addition, students will participate in small tutorials that focus on reading selected texts in either Greek or Latin. Led by members of the faculty, these tutorials will meet every week for an additional hour.
  • Five additional language courses in ancient Greek and/or Latin. Approaches to Antiquity (Classical Philology G4300), a methodology pro-seminar offered for graduate students every spring semester, may be counted as a Greek/Latin language course.
  • Two other language courses or, with the approval of the Faculty Adviser, courses offered by the Department of Classics under the listings for Classical Civilization or Classical Literature, or courses in related departments, such as ancient history, philosophy, art and archaeology, religion, and political science.

The Postbaccalaureate Seminar is open only to students in the Classics Certificate program. In all other courses, Classics Certificate students benefit from interaction with students pursuing graduate or undergraduate degrees at Columbia.

Department Life

Students join a close-knit community of the Department’s undergraduate majors, graduate students, and distinguished faculty for ongoing colloquia, special lectures from visiting scholars, and museum excursions that are sponsored by the Department of Classics, the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, and the University. They are also encouraged to participate in the rich cultural life of New York City, in which performances of ancient dramas at professional theaters and on local college campuses are regularly featured events. Research resources in the Department and the University are also at their full disposal.


For additional information about the Program and admission requirements, please contact the Faculty Adviser.

For general information on the Department of Classics and faculty biographies, please visit the Department of Classics website.

Application Deadline
Fall Mar. 15*
Spring Jan. 5
* Applications for Fall semester admission that are received by March 15 will receive priority consideration. Applications received after March 15 will be considered on a rolling basis.

To apply to the Classics Certificate, follow the application instructions. (Please note: Applicants to the Classics Certificate must submit three letters of recommendation that attest to their readiness for an intensive postbaccalaureate program.)