The Post-baccalaureate Certificate Program in Classics at Columbia University provides college graduates with the opportunity to improve their facility with ancient Greek and Latin, and to expand their knowledge concerning the ancient world.  Designed primarily for students interested in preparing for graduate-level study of Classics or related disciplines such as Ancient History, Art and Archaeology, Philosophy, Religion, or Medieval Studies, the program also accommodates qualified individuals with different educational goals and professional objectives, such as careers in secondary education.

The program, which is a non-degree program, combines rigor with flexibility.  Eight courses are required for the certificate, and of these at least six will be in Greek, Latin, or Classical Philology.  All courses offered by the department, graduate as well as undergraduate, are open to “post-bacs,” depending on their backgrounds and levels of preparation. One course, the Post-baccalaureate Seminar (Greek/Latin UN3980), which is offered every fall semester, is required for all students in the program.  The remaining seven courses in each student’s curriculum are determined on an individual basis in consultation with the program’s faculty adviser. 

Students who study in the program full-time, taking four courses per semester, can complete the required coursework in two semesters. Part-time students can complete the Program in three or more semesters. Students who maintain a grade of B (3.0) or better in all of their courses are eligible to receive a Certificate in Classics through Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, which administers all of the university’s post-baccalaureate programs.

We are proud of the fact that students in our post-baccalaureate program are fully integrated into the life of our department, and that they interact every day with our talented graduate and undergraduate students both inside and outside the classroom. Click here for more information about the events and activities that constitute the core of the department’s life.

We are also proud that many students who have excelled in the program have been accepted into M.A. and Ph.D. programs at several leading universities.  A list of some of the universities to which our “post-bacs” have been accepted is available on the program’s page on the website of the School of Professional Studies.


What are the prerequisites for applying to the program?

All applicants to the program are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and they are asked to submit three letters of reference, transcripts of their undergraduate work, and a personal statement, which are carefully evaluated by the department's admissions committee. Because the admissions committee wants to be as certain as possible that students admitted to the program have good prospects of thriving in it and achieving their goals, a record of success in one or more college-level courses in either Greek or Latin or both is also generally considered prerequisite. On rare occasions, the committee accepts applications from individuals with no prior formal training in the ancient classical languages, if their background suggests that they are ready for our intensive program.  These individuals typically have extensive prior coursework in other ancient languages, such as Sanskrit, Biblical Hebrew, and Classical Arabic.  Prospective applicants who have questions about their readiness for the program are encouraged to contact the faculty adviser.

How do I apply to the program?

Please visit the program’s page on the website of the School of Professional Studies and scroll down to the bottom of the page for a link to application instructions.  For fall semester admissions, we encourage applicants to submit their materials by March 15; as soon as possible after this date, the admissions committee begins its review of applications. Please be advised that we gladly accept and review applications after March 15 and well into the summer months. For spring semester admissions, the deadline set by the School of Professional Studies is January 5.

Is it possible to start the program in the spring semester?


How do I determine the courses I should enroll in?

The Department of Classics organizes a two-day orientation event for new graduate and post-baccalaureate students in the week before classes begin in the fall semester, and a one-day orientation event for new “post-bacs” in the week before classes begin in the spring semester. During orientation, students take a diagnostic language examination to determine their placement in Greek and Latin courses and then meet for advising appointments with the faculty adviser to determine their curriculum. Before orientation, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the listings of courses offered by the Department of Classics and other departments on Columbia University’s Directory of Classes, but they are advised not to register for courses before taking the diagnostic test unless they have consulted the faculty adviser.

            In the final weeks of their first semester in the program, students again meet with the faculty adviser to discuss their progress and determine their curricula for the next semester.

What are the costs for the program’s tuition and fees?

The tuition for the program is a flat per-semester fee, for which students are permitted to take two to four courses in each semester. Up-to-date information about the program’s tuition and fees, which are set by the School of Professional Studies and the University, is available at http://sps.columbia.edu/certificates/classics-certificate/tuition-and-financing.

What kinds of financial aid are available to students in the program?

The university does not offer scholarships to students in non-degree programs, and it does not directly provide loans to students.  Students in program are eligible to apply for federal loans. More information about financing is available at: http://sps.columbia.edu/certificates/classics-certificate/tuition-and-financing/financial-resources.

Is university housing available to students in the program?

The School of Professional Studies has a limited amount of housing.  Please contact the Office of Student Affairs at the School of Professional Studies at 212-854-0419 or
sps-studentaffairs@columbia.edu, for information about the availability of this housing to students in certificate programs.  The university also maintains a registry of off-campus housing at http://facilities.columbia.edu/housing/intro-ocha-3.

Does the program accept international students?

Yes! For more information about the prerequisites for study in the United States, please visit http://sps.columbia.edu/international.

Does the program provide any guidance concerning applications to graduate programs?

The faculty adviser is available on an informal basis to give advice about strategies for applying to graduate programs, and to provide pointers about the development of personal statements and the selection of writing samples.