The University of Cincinnati Classics Department is one of the most active centers for the study of the Greek Bronze Age and Classical Antiquity in the United States. Eleven full-time faculty members cover many aspects of archaeology, ancient history, and Classical philology, and the Department is in the process of hiring two more. About thirty-five graduate students are in residence at any given time, while about half a dozen are spending a year or more abroad for study and research. Fieldwork is currently being conducted in Cyprus, Greece (Knossos), Italy (Pompeii) and many graduate students participate in other archaeological projects, including the study of finds made by Carl Blegen in Pylos. The heart of the Department is the recently revamped Burnam Classical Library, the world's most comprehensive library for advanced research in Classics (currently ca. 260,000 volumes). The Tytus Fellowship program brings an additional nine to twelve researchers to the Department every year who use the resources of the Burnam Classical Library. About fifty undergraduate majors profit from the vibrant scholarly community, and many high school students do so too through the Outreach Program and the lecture series of the Archaeological Institute of America. The Department edits an international scholarly journal, the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, as well as Nestor, a bibliographic resource for Aegean Prehistory.
Prospective graduate students in Greek and Latin language and literature, Classical archaeology, Bronze Age archaeology, and Ancient History should give Cincinnati serious consideration, not just because we did so well in the latest NRC ranking! A high quality education cannot be reduced to numbers without losing sight of quality. Your assessment of the best place to pursue graduate studies in Classics should be based on your own analysis of what the program has to offer to you, and contacting individual faculty members to find out more about it before applying is always a good idea.
Your decision of where to enroll should not be based on a (this time rather confusing) ranking based on data from a decade ago. What is important is where you expect a program to be in the next decade – when you might be in it. Does a program have a plan for the future where you fit in? We do. Check it out.
Here are some bullet points to help organize your thoughts.
• we have the best academic placement rate for PhDs in the United States (according to the NRC report)
• we offer competitive funding for up to seven years and unmatched resources for travel (see Exhibit A below)
• in recent years our graduate students have won five Fulbright Scholarships, fellowships at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and other such year-long fellowships a year
• we now have large graduate study area with room to spare and grow
• the best Classics library in the world is located right next to classrooms, graduate student study area, and faculty offices
• Cincinnati offers a unique combination of urban environment and affordable living within walking distance from the university
• we carefully monitor teaching assignments to foster individual growth under the guidance of a dedicated Pedagogy Mentor
• we completely overhauled our curriculum for the conversion to semesters in 2012
• we provide rigorous training in the ancient languages
• we provide opportunities to collaborate on projects in Cincinnati (including a journal)
• we provide more opportunities for fieldwork than . . . most other places
• we provide opportunities for non-archaeologists to go on excavation projects
• we are a vibrant academic community complete with guest lecturers and Tytus Fellows (annually about 15 scholars in various disciplines who spend a semester or more in the Classics Library to pursue research)
• we organize triennial Semple Symposia on “hot” topics in the field
• our graduate students organize biennial Graduate Student conferences
• we provide access to a network of Cincinnati-affiliated scholars around the world (alumni, former Tytus Fellows, project members)
• we have a unique program integrating literature, history, and historical and prehistorical archaeology
• we are the original interdisciplinary department in the original interdisciplinary field of study: Classics! (see Exhibit B below)
We devote a sizeable portion of our resources on sending students abroad, either over the summer or for an extended period of time, for study or dissertation research. Professionally this is very important, because while abroad students are exposed to faculty from other institutions who are themselves abroad and much more talkative than usual – open to dispensing their wisdom and getting you connected with what may well be your future employer.
Cincinnati prides itself on being somewhat of a pioneer when it comes to interdisciplinary studies. In the 1920s, under the inspiration of Carl Blegen, the department was conceived as a place where archaeology, history, and literature are part and parcel of the training of every student. The department has done much to revolutionize the field as a whole by exploring the links, and breaking down the barriers, between the disciplines and through the application of innovative technologies. Carl Blegen gave Troy its history and discovered the Linear B tablets at the Palace of Nestor at Pylos that yielded half a millennium more of the history of the Greek language. His early interest in the long-term settlement of the Greek landscape, from prehistory to the present, led to the integrated archaeological and historical surveys conducted by Jack Davis. Kathryn Gutzwiller helped organize the first-ever conference on Classics and feminism, and gender studies are now an important component of what we do here with Holt Parker a leader in the field. Of all classical disciplines papyrology went online first thanks to Peter van Minnen, who now edits a scholarly journal devoted to the archaeology, history, and literature of Graeco-Roman Egypt with a special focus on the archaeological context from which papyrus texts derive. Most recently, Steven Ellis and John Wallrodt have changed the way data are collected during excavations with the help of iPads that connect the data with all the scholars involved in the excavations – they are now on the same “page” from the start.