The Doctoral Program in Classics performs teaching and research in a number of disciplines regarding the study of the Greek and Roman world and of its later reception: history and epigraphy, philology and literature, archaeology and the history of art, philosophy, and paleography. Its chronological perspective extends from the Archaic Period until Late Antiquity and includes the study of the traditions of antiquity from the Middle Ages until modern and contemporary times. It expects students to achieve a high level of specialization in the field of research of their doctoral thesis but at the same time it strongly encourages them to develop a broad cultural vision, to participate in in-depth interdisciplinary work, and to learn a variety of methodologies. The Doctoral Program attributes significance both to documents and to monuments.
The activity of research is accompanied by an intense organization of seminars and conferences with the participation of the best scholars from the whole world: doctoral students are encouraged to suggest the topics for discussion, to participate in the preparatory phases, and to present their own original contributions.
Doctoral students in archaeology and history have the opportunity to collaborate in excavations and topographical surveys, but experiences of this sort are considered beneficial for all the students of the Doctoral Program without distinction. Excursions organized by the teaching staff for the purpose of study in various locations, museums, and archives in Italy and abroad enrich the course offerings by transferring them from the classrooms of the Scuola Normale to those spaces of the Mediterranean and of Continental Europe in which the cultures of antiquity developed.
The open-stack Library and the Archive of the Scuola Normale contain large and valuable collections dedicated to the Greek and Roman world and to its reception. The Laboratory of History, Archaeology, Epigraphy and Traditions from Antiquity (SAET), closely connected with the Doctoral Program, welcomes students and makes available to them cultural opportunities, advanced technologies, epigraphic, iconographic, and linguistic data banks, experience in the field, and opportunities for group work.
The teaching staff of the Doctoral Program also consider it important that the students complete their training by studying with outside scholars and teaching centers of a high level of excellence. Doctoral students are encourage to spend time abroad – both in shorter trips motivated by the needs of their research project and in longer stays of a didactic nature – and they are supported by the necessary financial resources, facilitated by the contacts of the professors of the Doctoral Program and by specific exchange agreements with the best foreign universities.
The doctoral thesis is the principal objective, but the professors stimulate students to work in parallel on other research topics intended for publication, starting already in the first year, in specialist journals of a high level or in collective volumes. This research is favored by the rich stimulation offered by the courses and by their seminar form as well as by the unitary conception typical of this Doctoral Program, which makes a contribution towards developing the doctoral students’ cultural and scientific profile at an early stage in an original manner.
The Program consists of lectures and seminars.
In consultation with their course coordinator, each year students will present a study plan to the Faculty Board where they specify what research and training they plan to do in the coming academic year. In their four years at the School, students will attend and pass the examinations of at least three annual courses. Such courses are chosen in order to broaden the cultural base of students and to orient them towards a specific research project.
At the end of the first year and in agreement with the PhD Board, students will propose the name of the supervisor of their thesis and its topic for approval by the Faculty Board.
During the four years of the course, students are expected to participate in seminars offered by the School and to take part in research internships in institutions both in and outside Italy.
At the end of each academic year, with the exception of the final year, the students will then be interviewed on the studies and research they have carried out during the year in front of a committee appointed by the Faculty Board and including teachers of their course. Successfully passing this interview means that the students can keep their post and fellowship, and thus be admitted to the following year.
At the interview, the students will present a report on their scholarly activity, their research and its results, any seminars, congresses, or other scientific activities they have participated in, and any publications they have produced. For the admission from the first to the second year it will be possible, but not mandatory, to send a text containing a short section of the thesis or a discussion of a research topic related to the thesis, of free length. The students who completed the second or the third year are required to submit, in addition to the synthetic report, a part of their thesis; the minimum indicative length expected for this section is 20,000 words.