How to Apply

Graduate Programs in Classics

Every applicant should first review the description of the target program for advice on preparing the application. For additional questions about the logistics of the application process, please contact Stephen Scordias at For questions about qualifications or the program itself, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies. General information about Washington University for prospective students, including international applicants, can be found on the Graduate School site. 

The deadline for applications for the MA and PhD in Classics is January 1. 

The Department of Classics at Washington University in St. Louis is accepting applications for its MA and PhD for Fall 2021 and plans to admit students to both programs at that time.

Application Requirements:

  • Application: The completed application form.
    • Language Background: Please be sure to include your years of Greek and Latin study in the section on language preparation. 
  • Unofficial Transcripts: For the purposes of initial review of applications, the Department of Classics requires that a copy of all Unofficial Transcripts (inclusive of all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework) be uploaded to the CollegeNet Application System.  If transcripts do not reflect your work during the year of application, please be sure to indicate elsewhere on the application what your current coursework entails.
    • Official Transcripts: Official transcripts will only be required if you are admitted to our program, at which point you can have official electronic transcripts sent from your registrar’s office to If there is a need to send official physical paper copies of transcripts, please let us know and we will provide the appropriate address.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from current or past instructors acquainted with your accomplishments to date. Aim to assemble a combination of recommenders who can, between them, describe your work in both ancient languages and in research in Classics or a related field. Letters must be uploaded to the application website; recommenders who have problems with the site may contact us at for help.
  • Personal Statement: A personal statement expressing your goals in seeking a graduate degree in Classics, describing the background that qualifies you to do so and the particular advantages you see in the program at Washington University. Reference to specific faculty members can help, but is not essential. The Admissions Committee is interested in applicants who (besides looking like a good fit for our program) show an understanding of what is entailed in graduate work and an ability to articulate their goals. We therefore recommend that you seek advice from instructors on crafting the personal statement. 
  • Writing Sample: A scholarly writing sample of ca. 15 pages, representing your work on a topic in Classics or a related field. The ideal submission makes use of both secondary sources and ancient text(s) in the original. If you do not have a single piece of writing that meets all these criteria, you may submit two shorter papers that meet individual criteria. Longer writing samples are acceptable and applicants, but applicants are also welcome to supply excerpts from longer works such as theses.
  • TOEFL: For applicants whose native language is not English, official TOEFL scores; these must be no older than two years, and must arrive by the application deadline. Waivers for applicants who have earned degrees at English-speaking institutions may be requested through the Director of Graduate Studies in advance of the deadline.
  • GRE: Please note that the application no longer requires Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores for the Department of Classics.

Ready to apply?

The deadline for applications for the MA and PhD in Classics is January 1. Please check the application website regularly until all materials are reported received.

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What comes next?

The review of applications involves both the Departmental Admissions Committee and the Graduate School office. When the review is done, you will hear news via email from the Director of Graduate Studies in Classics, typically in early February. You will also receive an official letter from the Graduate School via the application website. In the meantime, you can stay in touch directly with the Classics DGS and/or faculty, and are encouraged to send questions. The department will be able to invite some accepted students to visit campus, typically for a couple of days in March. Funding for this is limited, but if you express your interest as soon as possible, the chances of such a visit are good.
Competition for both programs is significant, and one result is that a number of applicants to each program will be placed on a ranked alternates list. We are authorized to notify these individuals of their alternate status very shortly after we make admissions offers. The specific ranking does not and cannot change after the initial list is made. However, if you are placed on this list, you should take heart; you have been placed there due to space and funding limitations, not because you’ve been judged unqualified to enter the program, and you have a good chance of getting a place. The wait time for updates can be long, often lasting into April; we understand that this wait is very difficult on your end, and so we aim to communicate as swiftly as possible when there is any change. By the same token, accepted applicants need adequate time to make their decision. Those offered admission at any point before April 1st are asked to accept or decline the offer by April 15th; those receiving later offers have two weeks to decide. 
We urge MA applicants to determine whether their finances allow them to complete the program without taking on significant debt or burdensome outside employment to supplement the financial aid from the Graduate School. 
Applicants who are rejected from either program are welcome to ask follow-up questions about their applications and our selection process. If you are rejected, do not assume that it had entirely to do with the quality of your application. Sometimes we can predict that an applicant will not be able to pursue his/her specific interests in our program. Often, again, it is simply a matter of space and funding. In some past cases, an applicant has reapplied with success.
*Items sent via Fed Ex, UPS, or DHL must be sent to this address:
Classics Department
Washington University
Umrath Hall, Room 244
St. Louis, MO  63130
phone: (314) 935-5123
(there should be no mailbox or street address on the label)