Degree Programs


The Department of Classical and Near Eastern Religions and Cultures offers three graduate programs: an MA in Classics, an MA in Religions in Antiquity, and a PhD in Religions in Antiquity.

RelA PhD Degree

The PhD in Religions in 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. 

By the preliminary examinations stage, students will one focus on one of two areas: Area A (Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible) or Area B (Greek and Roman Religions, Formative Judaism, and/or Early Christianity).

Classics MA Degree

The Classics MA program is aimed at preparing students for admission to top national programs or for employment at selective secondary educational institutions (such as high schools or prep schools). Within two years, students will cover a variety of authors and genres to give students a strong foundation in classical literature.

RelA MA degree

The RelA M.A. program is designed for students interested in comparative analysis of religious activity in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Students take course work in three of four fields: Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East; Greek and Roman religions; Second Temple Judaism; or New Testament and early Christianity. The program also provides advanced preparation in languages, preparing students for graduate work beyond the degree.

Although the MA in Religions in Antiquity is technically a terminal degree, normally students will be encouraged to continue on to the PhD in Religions in Antiquity, assuming satisfactory academic progress throughout their MA program.

CNRC welcomes diversity in all its forms (gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, economic background, geographic origin, and religion) and works to reflect it in our faculty, staff, and student body. We think this diversity is a strength and crucial to the study of the ancient world. In our study of the ancient world, we do not privilege one religion over another but work to understand the full scope of religious and cultural activity across the centuries of the Ancient Mediterranean world.