This is an interdisciplinary graduate program. Although our degrees are awarded within the School of Arts and Sciences, our students take courses in a range of schools and departments, drawing upon historical, linguistic, literary, philosophical, and theological disciplines and methods.
In addition, we emphasize the importance of ancient languages – Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac especially. Ideally, applicants will have studied some of those languages in their undergraduate years – in the case of one language, through intermediate level. Competence in modern languages is also desirable, in German especially. Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of their linguistic ability at the time of application: their eligibility for admission will be assessed on a case-by-case basis (language being by no means the only criterion); and those admitted will be advised about steps they might take to improve their skills in the months remaining before their arrival. Finally, when they do arrive, admitted students may be asked to take a language examination in at least Greek, with the intention of determining which courses they are ready for, or which other credited course or courses they may be required to take before proceeding.
Many students will proceed through the whole M.A./Ph.D. program, completing a Ph.D. dissertation in the early Christian field. We try, as far as possible, to make the M.A. degree an introduction to the field, while the Ph.D. courses allow for greater detail and tighter focus. It is possible, nevertheless, to leave the program with an M.A. degree (without dissertation), or to enter the program at Ph.D. level, with a suitable M.A. already achieved.