Application, Admission, and Financial Support

Applying for the Ph.D. Program in Classical Studies

If you are interested in applying, please review the instructions below. You are welcome to contact the chair of the Classical Studies Graduate Group, Prof. James Ker ( with any questions about the program or application materials.

Application overview

All required supporting documents are to be submitted through the online application system. Hard copy materials, other than official transcripts, will not be accepted. The application deadline is December 15th. No applications received after the 15th will be accepted or reviewed by the admissions committee.

Application materials checklist

Applications must contain all of the following to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application
  • An academic curriculum vitae summarizing your academic background.
  • Nonrefundable $90 application fee (McNair Scholars are eligible for a fee waiver, and should send an email with proof of their status to
  • Personal statement (details below)
  • Writing sample (details below)
  • Transcripts uploaded to the application (details below)
  • Three letters of recommendation (details below)
  • Language Test Scores (international candidates only)

After a complete application is received and reviewed, candidates under serious consideration may be invited to interview with a member of the admissions committee on campus or remotely.   

Personal statement

Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your training in Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies, and your specific research interests and intellectual goals. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity, and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create. The length of your personal statement should not exceed two pages.

Writing sample

Your application must include a writing sample for which you are the primary or sole author. The writing sample should be at least 15 pages and may not exceed 30 pages.  It can be from an academic paper, journal article, or an excerpt from a larger work.


You must submit academic transcript(s) from all previous academic work undertaken. Screenshots or PDFs of unofficial transcripts may be submitted at the application stage. Official transcripts will be requested if you are offered and accept admission to the program.

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant must submit at least three letters of recommendation but may submit up to five. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and/or academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to enter the philosophy doctoral program.

Recommendations must be submitted online. Please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.

**Please note, the application system no longer accepts Letters of Recommendation from Interfolio. If you are using Interfolio, you may submit your Recommendations directly to the graduate coordinator (

Standardized test scores

Please note, GRE scores are not required by the Classical Studiesdepartment for admission in the doctoral program and will not be considered if they are sent.

Language test scores (international students only)

Applicants who are not US citizens or do not have English as the first language must submit language test scores. TOEFL & IELTS scores are accepted and these tests must be taken within two years of the application.
If you have completed a degree in higher education from an institution in which the medium language of instruction is English, we are able to waive the TOEFL/ IELTS requirement. Please contact Kate Stoler ( after your application has been compiled, including submission of your academic transcripts, to activate the English Language Test waiver.


Apply HERE


If you have questions about the application process that are not answered here, we encourage you to contact the Graduate Coordinator

Please note, the best way to contact the department about questions is by email. To be fair to all applicants who have submitted information requests, phone calls will not be answered or returned. Emails will be answered in the order they are received. During peak admissions season, it may take up to a week for faculty or staff to respond to email. Please be patient while we work to assist everyone with their admissions needs.