Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Ancient History Program By Brown University |Top Universities

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Ancient History

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Ancient History

Brown University

Brown University, Providence, United States
  • QS World University Rankings
    63
  • Degree MDiv
  • Study Level PHD
  • Duration 24 months
The Ph.D. program in ancient history at Brown is an interdisciplinary program established jointly by the departments of Classics and History to train ancient historians to meet the needs and goals outlined in the following paragraphs. Background and Goals A great legacy of the Greco-Roman period is the extraordinarily rich supply of important literary texts (“the classics”). Consequently, from its modern beginning in the 19th Century, the historical study of antiquity has been dominated by philology. From nearly that same beginning, however, a few scholars have approached the study of ancient history through methodologies of the social sciences (e.g., Max Weber) or ancillary fields such as archaeology, epigraphy, and numismatics (e.g., Theodore Mommsen, Michael Rostovtzeff). Inevitably, historians schooled in one area have tended to emphasize that approach over the others, producing a natural bias that still divides the discipline. Ancient historians trained in classics departments are often perceived as too philological and unfamiliar with methodologies used in history and other social sciences. Those trained in history departments, on the other hand, are often suspected of being deficient in the classical languages and thus unable to appreciate the nuances of ancient textual sources and culture. Whatever the foundations of such judgments, they discourage desirable syntheses and keep young ancient historians from fully exploiting available career opportunities. After two centuries, therefore, it seems appropriate to combine the three approaches of philology, historical methodologies, and ancillary disciplines into a single program of training in ancient history. A graduate program that embraces these goals must be capable of helping its students achieve a high level of competence in the ancient languages and philology; it must enable them to acquire expertise in the historiographical methodologies used in the fields of history and the related social sciences (e.g. demography, statistics, GIS); it must familiarize them with the ancillary disciplines of ancient history (epigraphy, numismatics, archaeology, and papyrology); and it must introduce them to other fields that contribute toward a fully comprehensive historical view of antiquity (e.g. religious studies, Egyptology, anthropology, art history). Most of all, such a program must emphasize the intellectual challenge and excitement of moving among various fields, of interdisciplinary interaction and collaboration, and of developing the larger and broader conceptions that can be fostered through comparative history. Students trained as historians and classicists may be expected to be attractive to both types of departments and thus to have broader prospects for a productive career in either.