M.A. in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity

**The Department has recently made some changes to the requirements in this program. These changes are currently being ratified by the UBC Senate and will be posted here as soon as they have been approved.  In the mean time, please do not assume that the details posted here about requirements are accurate, but instead address all queries about program requirements directly to the Director of Graduate Studies.


Completion of the program will normally require the equivalent of two winter sessions in full-time graduate study.

Students will be expected to commence the program at the start of the academic year in September.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants for admission must meet the minimum requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. To be admitted with full standing they must hold a bachelor’s degree. This will normally be in Classics (Latin and Greek), Classical Studies (non-language program), or Near Eastern/Religious Studies, but could be in a related discipline (e.g. Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Political Science, etc).

Well qualified and highly recommended applicants with the equivalent of a Minor (30 credits) in one of the above areas will be required to complete a further 12 credits during the first year of graduate study. Undergraduate courses taken to complete the Major do not count for credit towards the Master’s degree.

Students who do not meet admission requirements may, in exceptional circumstances, and within the limits set down by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, be admitted as unclassified students until they obtain the necessary prerequisites for full admission.

Applicants must have completed at least 6 credits (or equivalent) in one of the classical languages prior to admission (minimum grade: B-/68%): GREK 100 (Introductory classical Greek) or GREK 325 (Hellenistic/New Testament Greek) or LATN 100 (Introductory Latin) or HEBR 305 (Introductory Biblical Hebrew) or ARBC 300 (Introductory Classical Arabic). It is strongly recommended that applicants have completed two years of language study before entrance.

Course Requirements

The M.A. program requires 30 credits of coursework and two comprehensive examinations. Of the 30 credits, 24 must be numbered 500 or higher and must include CNRS 500 (3) and one of GREK 549 (6), LATN 549 (6), CNRS 549 (6), RELG 549 (6). The remaining 6 credits may, at the discretion of the program, be at the 300- or 400-level.

Students in the ACRE program may take courses from all subject areas offered by the department, including courses listed as CLST, CNRS, NEST, and RELG, as well as language courses listed as ARBC, GREK, HEBR, or LATN.

Students are encouraged to craft a program in consultation with the ACRE advisor that best suits their academic goals. The following rubrics offer suggestions for ways students might best prepare themselves for future work in specific fields. They are offered as guidelines only; every ACRE student’s program is unique.

  1. Egypt and the Near East. Students wishing to pursue doctoral work in Egyptology and/or Near Eastern Studies are strongly encouraged to take at least 12 cr of 500-level NEST or HEBR courses and to write a thesis (CNRS 549) on a relevant topic. Students are also strongly encouraged to take up to six credits from the following relevant undergraduate language courses: NEST 313, 315, 317, and HEBR 479, as available.
  2. Ancient History. Students wishing to pursue doctoral work in Ancient History are strongly encouraged to take at least 12 credits of 500-level GREK and LATN (with at least 3 credits in each language), and to write a thesis (CNRS 549, LATN, 549, or GREK 549) on a relevant topic. Students are also strongly encouraged to acquire specific training in historical method at the graduate level (through History or Classics). The remaining courses may come from CLST, CNRS, GREK, or LATN.
  3. Women in Antiquity. Students wishing to study the lives of women across the ancient Mediterranean are encouraged to take a range of graduate seminars (in CNRS, RELG, and NEST). In recent years, many seminars have focused on women, and a student may specialize by taking a combination of appropriate courses, as available, and writing a thesis (CNRS 549) on a relevant topic.  Suitably prepared students are encouraged to take up to six credits from WMST 500, 501, 502, or 503, particularly if they intend to pursue doctoral work in Women’s Studies. Students new to the area might instead choose to take up to six credits from CLST 311, 312, RELG 485, or NEST 310.

This list is not exhaustive, but offers a selection of possibilities. Other rubrics are could be devised: students may use ACRE to specialize in Reception Studies, or to pursue Classical archaeology while writing a thesis, etc.

For a list of graduate seminars, past and present, click here.

Ancient Language Requirement

Candidates will be required to demonstrate reasonable competence in one of the classical languages. The minimum standard required is a grade of B-/68% in 6 credits of one of the following: GREK 301/302 (Greek Literature of the Classical Period) or LATN 301 (Latin Literature of the Classical Period) or HEBR 479 (Readings in Biblical Hebrew) or ARBC 420 (supervised study in Classical Arabic) or their equivalents. These 6 credits may form part of the course requirements for the M.A. program.

Modern Language Requirement

Candidates must prove reading knowledge of one (for M.A. programs) or two (for Ph.D. programs) modern languages other than English appropriate to the field of study, selected in consultation with the Supervisory Committee. The modern language requirement must be satisfied before the end of the student’s second year in the program. Fulfillment of this requirement does not count towards the credit totals for a student’s degree.

There are 4 ways competency can be established:

  1. The completion of at least six credits of undergraduate study in the language (but not the history, literature, culture, etc.) at the 300 level or above. This may included “for reading knowledge” courses, such as FREN 341 (6), GERM 433 (3) and 434 (3), or ITAL 342 (3) and 343 (3).
  2. One year’s full-time study at the university level where the language of instruction was not English.
  3. The successful completion of a university-administered examination demonstrating competence (currently, such an examination is offered at UBC only for French).
  4. The successful completion of a CNERS-administered examination demonstrating competence.  When available, examinations will be offered at fixed times (usually in December) and made available to all graduate students in the department; eligibility is however subject to the approval of the student’s supervisory committee and the availability of resources.

Comprehensive Examination

The student is required to write comprehensive examinations in two of six fields of Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity. The six fields are by their nature meant to be broadly interpreted: Greece, Rome, the Ancient Near East, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

MA Thesis

Students in the Master of Arts program in Classics and ACRE have the option of writing a thesis. For this thesis students will enroll in Greek 549, Latin 549, or CNRS 549. Students who choose to write a thesis undertake to produce a lengthy piece of academic work at an advanced level demonstrating their mastery of core methods and primary materials. This thesis should be the best piece of academic writing that students have done, and consequently requires a commitment of at least 300 hours’ work over the course of the academic year.

MA thesis requirements – schedule and description:

By May 1st of Year 1: identification of supervisor and choice of topic, so that student can start preparing proposal over the summer. DGS to coordinate information.

By October 15th of Year 2: submission of proposal to supervisor.

Format of proposal: proposal to consist of a summary of 500-1000 words + bibliography.

Supervisor to review proposal, if necessary working with the student to hone it, with a view to accepting it or a modified form by October 31st. Once the proposal has been accepted by the supervisor, the DGS, working in consultation with the supervisor and the student, will identify two additional readers. This is to be done by November 30th.

By January 31st: submission of final draft, this draft to be read by both the supervisor and one other reader. Both these readers to return comments to the student by February 15th.

By March 15th: submission of final version, reflecting the comments of both readers.

Submission length: the thesis will be from a minimum of 15,000 words to a maximum of 18,000 words (excluding notes and bibliography).

Final submission format:

The thesis will include the following:

  • a table of contents,
  • footnotes or endnotes presented in a style approved by the supervisor,
  • a bibliography.

The thesis will be submitted in Times New Roman 12-point font, and will be double-spaced.

Submission procedures: students will submit four copies of the thesis: one for the supervisor, two for the other readers, and one for the Department.

Assessment: the thesis will be assessed by the supervisor and the two readers.

Oral exam: it is the supervisor’s responsibility to organize the oral exam. The oral exam will usually take place in late March/early April, in any case by April 10th (for spring graduations). The exam will be attended by the supervisor and the two readers and will be open to other faculty and students in the Department. The exam will start with a presentation by the candidate (15–20 minutes), followed by questions from the three assessors.

The supervisor and readers will all submit brief written reports (suggested: one paragraph) to the DGS soon after the exam.

Minimum standard: The thesis must meet a minimum standard of 76% to be assigned a Pass with Enrolment Services.

Reporting of assessment: when the thesis has been approved, the DGS will submit the grade to FoGS by the deadline laid down by FoGS (usually early May).

Any student not meeting the deadlines for spring graduation will be required to register again for the thesis for resubmission the following academic year with fees for an extra course.


For further information on the writing of theses, students are encouraged to check the large section called “Current Students” with its drop-down menu containing several relevant documents on the FOGS website (http://www.grad.ubc.ca/)

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