Soon after the founding of the University of Wisconsin in 1848, the department was created as one of the first academic units at the university. The Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (CANES) has enjoyed a long tradition of excellence in philological scholarship, literary criticism, archaeology, and ancient history. At the graduate level, the department offers the master of arts and doctor of philosophy in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies - Classics.
The primary goal of the program is to familiarize students with the core linguistic, historical, and philological aspects of classical and ancient near eastern studies. Students also learn to conduct original research in such varied areas as gender studies, literary theory, translation studies, ecocriticism, and classical reception under the guidance of established scholars in these areas.
In addition to specified coursework, students participate in directed readings with individual faculty members in their areas of specialization and gain valuable professional experience teaching in courses on the languages, literature, and culture of the ancient world. Additional work may be done in allied fields such as archaeology, art history, linguistics, comparative literature, history, philosophy, and political science. Affiliated faculty in many of these fields regularly offer courses, supervise theses and dissertations, and participate in department activities.
A wide range of professional networks provides graduate students with enhanced opportunities for education and career development. In addition to faculty connections to scholars and institutions in their fields of study, the department has formal affiliations with the Society for Classical Studies, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the American Schools of Oriental Research.
The Pillinger Library and Mansoor Reading Room, both located within the department, provide convenient access to a large number of texts, while the larger Greek and Latin Reading Room in the Memorial Library contains an extensive, noncirculating research collection of texts and commentaries. The Memorial Library maintains an excellent research collection of books and periodicals in classics and Hebrew bible, with many of its resources available online. It also boasts a rich collection of papyri in Greek and other ancient languages. In addition, the Chazen Museum enriches our research and teaching with its holdings of vases, mosaics, coins, and other objects from the ancient world.
Students apply to the Master of Arts in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies through the named option in Classics.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.
The Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies works to support all graduate students in good standing who continue to make satisfactory progress toward their degree. The department makes every attempt to distribute its resources as fairly as possible outside of guaranteed support offers. Thus, it is the department’s intention to give the maximum number of graduate students in the program an opportunity to hold teaching assistantships (TA) consistent with the department’s needs and criteria. It should be remembered that teaching funds are variable, depending on budget and class enrollments. All students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for support outside the department at all stages of their study. Details can be found below.
Criteria: Teaching assistant appointments will be offered to eligible graduate students on the basis of the following criteria: contractual obligations made to the student, satisfactory progress towards degree, satisfactory student evaluations and faculty teaching observations, departmental judgment of the student’s qualification to teach scheduled courses, and availability of budgeted positions.
Eligibility: To be eligible to become a teaching assistant, graduate students should ordinarily meet the following requirements: students should be enrolled in the Classics graduate program (exceptions will be made due to lack of qualified or available students), students should be making satisfactory progress towards an advanced degree, and students should not have exceeded the limited allotment of teaching within the department (five years after the BA or three years after the MA).
Students who are non-native speakers of English must complete the SPEAK test for assessing English proficiency. The SPEAK test is the institutional version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), which is administered by the Educational Testing Service. The SPEAK test measures oral proficiency and is frequently used to evaluate the spoken English of international TAs. The test is available only to students holding or under consideration for a teaching assistantship. For information and scheduled tests, please consult the English as a Second Language website. Students must achieve a score of 45 or higher before being placed in the classroom.
Class Assignments: Class assignments are made by the department chair in consultation with department faculty with consideration of the following items in order of importance: previous positive assessment of teaching ability, fair rotation of teaching among qualified graduate students, background and experience of the TA in course materials, the need for graduate students to have a variety of teaching experiences, the preference of the TA, and the preference of the instructor.
Training Program: All TAs are required to attend the department’s annual Graduate Student Orientation and Teaching Assistant Workshop. Subjects discussed in the department’s annual workshop include preparation, organization, sensitivity to ethnic and gender issues, and pedagogical methods. Experienced TAs are encouraged to share successful teaching methods and ideas with the group in an open discussion. Information is also provided on such university resources as the Writing Center.
New TAs are also required to attend the L&S Teaching Assistant Workshop and the Graduate Assistants Equity Workshop within the first two semesters of teaching appointments. In addition, for TAs with a first-time Communication B appointment, the Writing Across the Curriculum Communication B Training workshop will also be required. TAs are also encouraged to take advantage of the writing workshops offered by the Writing Center at the start of the academic year and throughout each semester.
For each course, the TA must meet with the professor to outline the goals and objectives of the course, the exam and grading procedures, the syllabus and assigned readings, and specific pedagogical methods appropriate for the course. The syllabus of each course should include the name, office number, and phone number, of the supervising professor, the TA, and the current department chair. Should there be concerns about the course that the TA feels unable to address, he or she can refer students to the professor in charge of the course for initial consultation. Regular meetings between the TA and the professor are held throughout the semester to discuss the progress and success of the course.
Review: Within the first few weeks of class, the supervising professor will observe the TA, with new TAs being a priority. After the visit, the professor will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the class and put forward a set of recommendations for further teaching development. A written evaluation, to be discussed in person, is then provided to the department chair and will be placed in the student's file. If the chair deems necessary, a second faculty member will make an additional classroom observation with a written evaluation. At the end of each semester or course, student evaluations for the TA classes are to be completed and kept on file in the department for future reference.
Workload/Percentage of Appointment: Teaching assistantship appointments are percentage based. All CANES appointments are 50% which corresponds to the total expected hours of work throughout the course of the semester. Each TA will receive a breakdown of expected workload with their official appointment letter. The TA is expected to review and discuss the workload with the supervising faculty member of the course. By signing and returning the workload to the department administrator, the TA is accepting his or her appointment for the semester.
Stipend & Benefits: Please review the Graduate School’s resource webpage, Graduate Assistantships, for details.
Departmental Travel Support
Eligibility Guidelines: The CANES department can provide some funding for Classics students who are presenting a paper addressing a topic in the classics field or interviewing for hire. Applicable conferences include the SCS, AIA, and CAMWS, but other conferences such as graduate student colloquia will also be considered. First time recipients of this award may be asked to present a departmental Pillinger Talk in preparation for their conference presentation.
All applications for department travel must be supported by satisfactory progress in the student's program. Graduate students may submit one request for travel support to the department per academic year. Every attempt will be made to fund student travel up to a maximum of $750. Students should recognize that funding is based on availability. The Fellowships Committee will assess the validity of all applications and determine the amount of each individual award if granted.
Before requesting travel funds from the department, graduate students should conduct due diligence to learn about and apply for travel awards offered by other units (Graduate School, ASM, etc.) at UW–Madison and by sponsors of the event for which travel funds are requested. Evidence of awards applied for and/or received should accompany all requests for department travel funding. Being competitive for awards outside the department is a matter of professional development.
Application: Having applied for travel awards and supplements from external sources, students should then petition the CANES department for travel support. All petitions are considered on a case by case basis and evaluated on the basis of academic merit and satisfactory progress in the graduate program.
Petitions should take form of a letter addressed to the chair of the graduate Fellowships Committee detailing the title of the talk, proof of acceptance, the date and place of the conference, and any other relevant information. All petitions should include a budget and should disclose details of awards or denial of funding from other sources.
Awards from other sources will not necessarily disqualify students from classics department funding. The applications will be read and voted on by the committee which will attempt to respond to requests in a timely fashion. The student will be notified in writing by the chair of the committee normally within a few weeks of the submission of application.
Since applications will be read on a rolling basis and funds are usually more plentiful at the beginning of the year, students are encouraged to apply early.
Scholarships & Fellowships
Adams-Lemoine Dissertation Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded in memory of C.K. Adams, Professor of Latin & History and University of Wisconsin President from 1892 to 1902, and Fannie Lemoine, Professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923. The Adams-Lemoine Fellowship is utilized for student recruitment or completion of degree. It provides tuition remission, a stipend, and benefits in accordance with published University award amounts. Award periods vary and funding may be available for one or two semesters of study.
Moses S. Slaughter Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded in memory of Moses S. Slaughter, University of Wisconsin Professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923. The Slaughter Fellowship is given to a current or incoming graduate student who maintains Wisconsin residency. It provides tuition remission, a stipend, and benefits in accordance with published university award amounts and may supply funding for one or two semesters of study.
Frank R. Kramer Summer Fellowship: A predoctoral summer research grant awarded in memory of Dr. Frank R. Kramer, who earned a B.A. in Humanities in 1929, an M.A. in Greek & Latin in 1931, and a Ph.D. in Classics in 1936. The Kramer Fellowship is meant to enable graduate students in their second year of study or above (pre-dissertation) to receive support for research connected to the advancement of their studies in Classics. Calls for applications typically come out in December and recipients are notified in late January. Award totals range between $750-$2,000.
Hieronimus Prize for Greek Composition: This monetary award is given in memory of Professor John Paul Hieronimus (Ph.D. '31). Entrants are asked to translate a selected passage into ancient Greek or compose an original piece in ancient Greek addressing a specific topic. Awards are given in late spring.
Pillinger Prize for Latin Composition: This monetary award is given in memory of Assistant Professor Hugh Edward Pillinger (1965–70). Entrants are asked to translate a selected passage into Latin or compose an original piece in Latin addressing a specific topic. Awards are given in late spring.
Other Funding Options
The Graduate School provides additional information helpful to graduate students in need of funding.
Find information about:
- Center for Jewish Studies
- Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellowship
- Robert J. Reinhold Dissertation Fellowship in Classics
- American Association of University Women
- American Council of Learned Societies
- Archaeological Institute of America
- Classical Association of the Middle West and South
- Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund (specific to Armenian studies)
- Gorgias Press
- Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program (US Dept of Ed)
- Society for Classical Studies
- Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies
Conference presentation funds (at bottom)
Research Travel Awards
Research travel awards available through the Graduate School
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||33 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||18 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||See Named Option for policy information.|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||See Named Option for policy information.|
|Other Grade Requirements||See Named Option for policy information.|
|Assessments and Examinations||See Named Option for policy information.|
|Language Requirements||See Named Option for policy information.|
Select a Named Option for courses required.
A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the Master of Arts in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies must select the following named option:
Students should refer to the named option for policy information: Classics.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
We fully support and encourage our students to attend and participate in any professional development events hosted by the Graduate School. These may include everything from writing workshops to exploring careers outside of academia. We also regularly offer opportunities for professional development specific to our field, often based on student feedback. In addition, we encourage students to seek out and participate in conferences and offer funding to support these endeavors.
- Articulates, critiques, and applies the philological and theoretical approaches established in the field of Classics or Hebrew Bible.
- Identifies appropriate sources and assembles evidence relevant to questions and challenges in Classics or Hebrew Bible.
- Demonstrates understanding of Classical or Hebrew Bible literature in a historical and social context.
- Selects and utilizes the most appropriate methodologies and practices.
- Evaluates and synthesizes information pertaining to questions and challenges.
- Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
- Recognizes and applied principles of ethical and professional conduct.
Please visit the Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies website for a complete list of faculty, instructional, and academic staff.