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PhD in Classical & Near Eastern Studies

Apply to be a part of the PhD
program in CNES.

Students are encouraged to pursue a PhD in classical and Near Eastern studies at the University of Minnesota. Our CNES PhD program prepares you for a successful career in both post-secondary teaching and research.

Within this degree, students will select one of the two sub-plans: classics or religions in antiquity.

To be accepted into the PhD program, applicants should have experience in at least one relevant ancient language (Greek or Latin) sufficient to begin graduate-level reading courses in their first term.

Further details about requirements are found in the PDF iconGraduate Handbook.



Evenly balanced between the study of Greek and Latin language and literature, the classics sub-plan allows students to explore how our civilization operates today by reading ancient texts in their original languages and coming to understand their historical context as the ancestors of drama, rhetoric, romance, poetry, and more.

Religions of Antiquity

The PhD in religions of antiquity focuses on comparative, historical, and literary study of the religious texts and practices of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Students work across a range of cultures, time periods, and places, as shown in course work and exams. Students will build (1) theoretical sophistication in the study of ancient religion; (2) language competencies that will enable graduates to work with a wide range of primary sources; (3) deep understanding of the full range of cultural and historical dynamics inherent in ancient religions; and (4) interpretive skills that draw on a wealth of available literary, epigraphic, papyrological, visual, and material primary sources. There are two possible areas of study: 

Area A: Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible
Religions, literatures, and cultures of Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Israel from the 2nd millennium BCE to the arrival of Roman rule in the first century BCE.
Primary language: Hebrew.
Secondary languages: Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic, or Greek.

Area B: Greek and Roman Religions, Formative Judaism, Early Christianity
Religions, literatures, and cultures of Greece, Rome, and the Mediterranean world, with potential focal points in Egypt, Asia Minor, or Syria-Palestine. This Area centers on the period from Alexander the Great to Marcus Aurelius (ca. 330 BCE to 180 CE) and encompasses Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, including New Testament literature.
Primary language: Greek or Latin.
Secondary languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, or Coptic.

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