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Proficiency Exams

The Department of Classics offers proficiency and mastery exams as a service to other departments. These exams are offered three times a year, at the start of each semester and near the end of spring semester. Candidates should not expect to take exams at other times.

Requests for exams should be made by the DGS of the department concerned (not the student) and should be directed to the Classics faculty member in charge of departmental exams (for 2023-2024), this is Greg Hays). The Classics department will provide and grade the exam. The student's department is responsible for administering the exam and returning it to Classics for grading. Results will be reported to the DGS of the requesting department. The exam itself will not be returned.

Proficiency Exams are available in the following fields: Classical Greek, New Testament Greek, Patristic Greek¹, Classical Latin, Patristic Latin², Medieval Latin³. All exams consist of one passage of straightforward prose, of about 25 lines in Oxford Classical Text format. To demonstrate proficiency, candidates should be able to translate the set passage with reasonable accuracy and without major misunderstanding.

Mastery Exams are available in Classical Greek, Classical Latin, and Medieval Latin. Exams consist of two passages of 15-20 lines, one of which may be verse. The standard for translation on mastery exams is high accuracy, comparable to that expected of Classics MA students.

Time: All exams are one and one half hours.

Translation Aids: Candidates may use a dictionary of their choosing, but no other aids.

Format: Completed exams should be typed or written neatly, and double-spaced.

Grading: Exams are graded as either "pass" or "fail." Requests for other forms of grading will not be honored. Questions relating to the grading of the exam should be raised by the DGS of the requesting department (not the student).

Note that a request for an exam is a commitment to take the exam and return it for grading. We may decline to set further exams for departments whose students do not respect this guideline.

Sample Exams:

Sample Proficiency Exam in Classical Latin

Sample Proficiency Exam in Medieval Latin

Sample Proficiency Exam in NT Greek

Sample Proficiency Exam in Patristic Latin

Sample Mastery Exam in Classical Latin

Sample Mastery Exam in Medieval Latin


¹ For examination purposes, "patristic" Greek is defined as any author or work contained in the Patrologia Graeca or the Griechische Christliche Schriftsteller, but not the New Testament.
² For examination purposes, "patristic" Latin is defined as any author or text contained in the Patrologia Latina or its supplements, the Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, the Vienna Corpus (CSEL), or the Latin Vulgate.
³ For examination purposes, the medieval period is assumed to run from the second through the fifteenth centuries AD. Medieval exams may include patristic authors or texts.