MA in Classics: Classical Archaeology

The M.A. in Classical Archaeology offers students the opportunity to focus their coursework in the archaeology and art history of the ancient Mediterranean world. This degree is recommended for students who intend to pursue further graduate work in classical archaeology or heritage management.

Students intending to pursue study at the Ph.D. level, however, are advised to familiarize themselves with the admissions requirements of doctoral programs, especially for Greek and Latin, to ensure that they meet the minimum expectations of these programs: completing the minimum requirements of the M.A. degree will not satisfy the admissions requirements of all Ph.D. programs.

The M.A. program in Classical Archaeology is pursued through coursework which culminates in the writing of a MA Paper. 

Degree Requirements

This MA degree track requires 32 credit hours of coursework.

Credit Hours Requirement
1 Proseminar (CLA 5936)
9 3 survey courses in Classical art & archaeology (chosen from ARH 5111, 5119, 5125, 5140, 5160, 5161, 5174r)
6 2 seminars in Classical art & archaeology (CLA 5799r)
3 Fieldwork (CLA 5789) to be fulfilled
Additional elective coursework in the department, one of which must be a fourth-semester level language course
0 Comprehensive Exams (CLA 8961r)
3 M.A. Paper (CLA 5919)

Ancient Language Requirements

M.A. students in Classical Archaeology must pass a fourth-semester level course in either Greek or Latin (usually LNW 5932 or GRW 5909), or show comparable proficiency through transcripts and diagnostic exams, and demonstrate the equivalent of one year’s study in the other ancient language. These language requirements should be regarded as minimum expectations: students are urged to continue study in both languages throughout their graduate career.

LNW 5932 and GRW 5909, while they count toward fulfilling the language requirement for the Archaeology M.A., do not normally count as hours toward the fulfillment of the degree.

Fieldwork Requirements

The MA in Classical Archaeology requires four (4) credit hours of fieldschool. A fieldschool is defined as formal instruction in archaeological methods and techniques, both in the field and in the laboratory, including analysis of materials. Normally one credit hour is given for each week of fulltime activity. The usual manner in which this requirement is fulfilled is through participation in the FSU Classics Department's Archaeology Programs in Italy, registering for the appropriate course, etc. Dr. Nancy de Grummond can answer any questions about these excavations.

If, however, a student already has at least four (4) credit hours of a formal fieldschool on his or her transcript at the undergraduate or graduate level, then that student must still have at least four (4) credit hours of fieldwork for the MA degree. This requirement may be fulfilled by participation in the Archaeology Programs in Italy or by participation in another approved project. This project need not be a formal fieldschool, but should be an active project in the field, whether excavation or survey. Again, one credit hour is given for each week of fulltime activity. Students have participated in excavations and surveys in Greece (Athenian Agora, Halai, Pylos), Cyprus (Athienou, Idalion), Israel (Sepphoris), Italy (Murlo), Malta, Britain, and elsewhere.

In order to receive credit for projects not conducted by FSU, students may do one of two things:

  1. Register for credit through the sponsoring institution and have four (4) credit hours transferred to FSU, or (the easier approach):
  2. Register for four (4) hours credit through FSU as an independent fieldwork course. These hours may be taken during the summer at the time of the fieldwork or during the following academic year (when a student's tuition waiver might cover some of the fees). Students choosing this last option will need to supply a 10 to 12 page paper discussing the student's part in the project as well as a letter from the project director attesting to the student's work.

In rare instances where a student has sufficient fieldwork, the fieldwork requirement may be waived and four (4) credit hours of coursework may be substituted. In no instance can the total number of credit hours for the degree be reduced.

Any student who wishes to receive credit other than through the Archaeology Programs in Italy must petition the Archaeology Committee by email in advance of participating in another project. Petitions may be brief but must consist of the project name, project web site (if available), director, dates, role the student will have on the project, discussion of how, when, and with whom credit will be obtained, and any other relevant information. The Committee will gladly advise students on appropriate projects; please visit the Archaeological Institute of America's website to view the Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin and to learn what archaeological excavations are available.

Comprehensive Exams

The comprehensive examinations in Classical Archaeology comprise three parts:

  1. Slide identifications (25 slides in 50 minutes). Students are asked to identify and explain the significance of major monuments of the kind typically found in introductory textbooks on the archaeology of ancient Greece and Italy. The following books are useful for preparation, but the student should not expect the slide exam to be limited to images in these volumes: N. Ramage and A. Ramage, Roman Art, 6th ed. J.G. Pedley, Greek Art and Archaeology, 5th ed., S. Haynes, Etruscan Civilization, A Cultural History.
  2. One one-hour essay on a topic (chosen from three options) relating to either the Bronze Age or Hellenic period.
  3. One one-hour essay on a topic (chosen from three options) relating to either the Etruscan or Roman period.

The Archaeology Committee sets and evaluates these exams. They are normally administered in the last week of September and the week after Spring Break.

Master's Paper

Successful completion of the M.A. paper is required for the major in Classical Archaeology at Florida State University. The subject of the paper must be within the major field and must reveal independent investigation and knowledge of the methods of scholarship. The goal of this independent research project is for a student to show his or her ability to do research and to write up the results. It should also show an ability to organize and synthesize that material. All requirements are in keeping with the stipulations of the Graduate School at Florida State University, whose requirements for the M.A. degree are available on its website and in its Graduate Student Handbook.

Guidelines for the M.A. Paper

Normally the paper should have between 25 and 40 pages of text, plus the appropriate back matter (bibliography, appendices, illustrations, etc.) which are in addition to the text pages. It will normally focus on a research topic the student has addressed in a term paper in a previous course, but will go into greater depth and more detail, and will attempt to sustain an original argument. It should be modeled on published articles in the field, and should have a fully professional apparatus of citations and illustrations. The paper will be submitted to a directing professor and to a second reader. The format and deadlines will be determined by the director. No defense is required, and the grade will be assigned by the directing professor, on the basis of S/U for 3 hours of credit (CLA 5919). The student must fulfill the same number of hours as in the program with the MA thesis. The additional 3 hours should be obtained through an elective. It is strongly recommended that the elective be taken in a course in Latin or Greek.

Prospectus for M.A. Paper

The prospectus is a proposal of the paper which is to be submitted at the time of the M.A. Comprehensive Examinations; it presupposes that the student has done sufficient research to determine the current state of research, the appropriate bibliography, and the proposed conclusions. The prospectus is a formal part of the process of obtaining the M.A. in Classical Archaeology at Florida State. It should be approximately 2 pages long, not including bibliography. The prospectus should include:

  1. A clear statement of the problem that the student wishes to address.
  2. A clear statement of the current state of research on the problem, naming the scholars who have worked on it and giving a critical evaluation of their results.
  3. A clear statement of what the student proposes to contribute to scholarship. For a Master's paper, the student must produce a sustained original argument on the chosen topic.
  4. A full bibliography on the topic.
Communication with the Committee

The Archaeology Committee stresses the importance of regular meetings of the student and the chair of the committee, at least once a month, to discuss progress. Students should be in contact with the other members of the committee to find out how often they wish to meet. Some members of the committee wish to see work one chapter at a time, and by the final copy will have read it a total of four times. Other members of the committee may not want to see each chapter, but will wait to see the final draft. It is the student's responsibility to check with all members of the committee.

The first draft should be as polished as possible, with no typographical errors. It should be perfectly legible, printed in near letter quality type. All footnotes, bibliographical references, and illustrations should be complete. Professors do not wish to be distracted by misspellings, inconsistent and irregular references, incomplete documentation, etc.; rather they wish to concentrate on the content and ideas. Students should submit an outline and a cover sheet with each submitted chapter. Students should always submit a printed rather than electronic copy of the work.

The second draft should be submitted with the revisions completed. This is the stage at which professors hope to approve the particular chapter.

The final draft will be read as a whole. This draft should be given to all members of the committee at least two weeks before the defense in the case of the thesis and by the last day of classes in the semester in which students receive a grade in the case of the paper. At this stage the work is for all intents and purposes finished, but students must expect that there may be recommendations for revisions.

When all revisions are completed (and in the case of the thesis when it is ready to be sent to the Graduate School) the major professor will check it over one last time. It is at this time that the major professor will sign the appropriate forms; other members of the committee may wish to sign at the defense.


The timing of thesis or paper preparation and completion is important -- students do not wish to be in the situation where their major professor is out of the country for an extended period of time when they want to submit their work. Professors generally recommend six months from prospectus to defense for the M.A. thesis; rarely should it take a year and in no cases more than two years. It can take several weeks for a professor to return the draft of a chapter; the defense process from submitting the final draft to the committee to turning in the completed thesis to the Graduate School can take up to one month. And the Graduate School's deadline for submission is often two or three weeks before the end of the term ( This is why students should be in constant contact with the major professor and committee.

The ideal schedule for the thesis is submission and acceptance of the prospectus in the Fall semester, upon completion of the Comprehensive Exams and all coursework. The final complete draft should be submitted to the committee by the middle of March in order to allow adequate time for the committee to read the thesis, hold the defense, and for the student to prepare the final revised copy for submission to the Graduate School by its deadline two to three weeks before the end of the Spring semester. Similar deadlines apply to students seeking degrees in the Fall semester. For those students, the final complete draft should be submitted to the committee by the beginning of November.

The ideal schedule for the paper is submission and acceptance of the prospectus in the Fall semester, upon completion of the Comprehensive Exams and all coursework. The M.A. paper should be completed in the semester in which the student registers for credit, ideally in the immediately following Spring semester. The M.A. paper should be turned in near the end of the semester, and in no case will it be accepted after the last day of classes, to allow faculty sufficient time to read it.

Completion in the summer can be especially difficult to arrange, for faculty often are out of the country. This is not encouraged. Likewise, some of the archaeology faculty, for example, will not accept any work one month prior to departure for the field. Faculty do go on leave or may be assigned to teach in Florence or London during the academic year.

If students do not adhere to these guidelines, if students fail to make adequate progress, or if the work is of poor quality and does not meet the high standards that professors demand, then they reserve the right to resign from the committee and recommend that the student choose an alternate plan to seeking the M.A. in Classical Archaeology.


Grades for the thesis and paper are assigned on the basis of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). The major professor will assign an S grade once the supervising committee has approved the thesis or paper. If a student registers in one semester and does not complete his or her thesis or paper in the same semester, the major professor may assign an Incomplete grade (I) or an Unsatisfactory (U) grade. Professors are not obligated to assign an I grade. Generally, if a student has turned in a draft or demonstrated substantial progress toward completion of the thesis or paper, the grade of Incomplete (I) should be assigned. If a student has not turned in any work or has not made substantial progress toward completion of the thesis or paper, the grade of Unsatisfactory (U) should be assigned. Likewise, if students have not made substantial progress toward completion of their projects, professors may decline to write letters of recommendation for them.

Bibliographic References and Notes

There are many styles to bibliographic citations; some prefer the footnote or endnote system, others prefer the in-text ("Harvard") system. The most important aspect of whichever system a student uses is consistency. For the footnote or endnote system, students should utilize the system in the American Journal of Archaeology (most recent version online). For the in-text system the style guide in American Antiquity 57 (1992) 753-770 can be used. A full and complete bibliography will appear as part of the end matter in all theses (please note that AJA reference style is incomplete in that the publisher is not included; this information must appear in the bibliography).


All material submitted to the committee, whether it is the prospectus or chapters of the thesis, must include appropriate illustrations. These must be clearly legible, and as near as possible to the final form the student will use in the document. They must be fully labeled, with identification of the object, building, site, etc. illustrated, and a citation of the source for the illustration (even if it is the student's own photograph). The illustrations should be put in sequence at the end of the text and numbered continuously.


If the work is to include a catalog of objects, buildings, sites, etc., to be analyzed or discussed, the student should devise a well-organized catalog format. A brief sample of the catalog or list of all objects, buildings, sites, etc., to be included in the work should be part of the prospectus, along with sample illustrations of all objects in the catalog. The catalog can form portions of chapters, a separate chapter, or an appendix.