Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The interdisciplinary program of graduate study in Ancient History and Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA) is conducted by a group that includes more than 20 faculty members affiliated with seven different Berkeley departments as well as the Graduate Theological Union. A chair, a graduate adviser, and student affairs officer administer the program.

The AHMA program offers PhD degrees in areas that combine work in archaeology and history and related disciplines of ancient studies. Most of its graduates have successfully secured teaching positions in Departments of Classics, Art History, History, Anthropology or Near Eastern Studies in colleges and universities in the US or abroad, including Bar-Ilan, Haifa, Volos, Oxford, Toronto, Columbia, Madison, Austin, and Pennsylvania.

Students are not admitted to work specifically for the MA degree, although those working toward the PhD may file for an MA after fulfillment of the requirements for Stage I. Students work closely with faculty in courses, seminars, and independent research projects to develop independent thought as well as a thorough knowledge of their fields and their critical methods.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

The AHMA program is open to students with a BA degree in a relevant field of study (such as Classics, Near Eastern Studies, History, or History of Art) that have completed at least one year of undergraduate work in ancient history, ancient art, archaeology, or related fields. Applicants primarily interested in the Greek and Roman worlds should be prepared to undertake advanced work in either Greek or Latin and its culture, and also should have basic competence in the second of these two languages. Applicants primarily interested in the ancient Near East and Egypt do not have to display competence in one of the area’s ancient languages before applying, but to do so may strengthen their application considerably.

Students who have already acquired the MA degree in a relevant field are especially encouraged to apply and will be considered for direct admission to the PhD program. The AHMA faculty as a group approves all applicants for admission. AHMA policy is to limit enrollment to the number of students who can be adequately supported for the first five years of their graduate career. Although AHMA receives around 50 applications per year, its admission quota (set by Graduate Division) is currently only around 5-6, with the expectation that 2-3 new students will enroll each fall. Competition therefore is extremely keen. As a result, while some applicants may be rejected for lack of preparation or for undistinguished academic records, a substantial number who are capable of doing good graduate work unfortunately also must be denied admission.

The AHMA faculty judges and ranks applicants on a combination of criteria that includes:

  • Preparation to undertake advanced scholarly work.
  • Academic distinction as reflected in overall GPA, major GPA, and junior and senior year GPA, as well as awards, prizes, or publications.
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation.
  • GRE scores (use 2901: Classics, or 2609: Classical Languages for scores to be reported by ETS).
  • A statement of purpose, which should be clearly and cogently written and indicate why the applicant is interested in the AHMA program and where his or her specialization might lie.
  • A scholarly writing sample of no more than 25 pages and indicating the origin of the writing sample (i.e. a class paper, senior honors thesis, MA thesis.

An applicant with an MA is expected to offer substantially stronger preparation than one with only a BA. Applications must be submitted electronically either via Graduate Division’s online application or via the link on the AHMA website. The online application process for fall normally opens in early September. The deadline for applications is early December.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Curriculum

Six graduate or upper division courses (first year), including the following:
Methodology course
AHMA seminar
Electives per approved study list
Four graduate or upper division courses, appropriate to the student's major, minor, and outside fields

Courses

Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology

AHMA 210 Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology Interdisciplinary Seminar 2 or 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Spring 2014
Team-taught by faculty from two different departments. The purpose is not only to expose students to a discipline other than their own, but to engage them directly in the application of that discipline to their own research interests. The topic and instructors will vary from year to year.

Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology Interdisciplinary Seminar: Read More [+]

AHMA 299 Special Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Summer 2016 8 Week Session
Topics and instructors will vary from year to year. Special individual study for qualified graduate students. Individual study and research, including archaeological fieldwork or laboratory projects, in consultation with instructor on subject matter not covered in scheduled course offerings.

Special Study: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Diliana Angelova, Assistant Professor. Gender, early Christian art, Byzantine art, late antique art, the Virgin Mary, early Christian empresses, imperial iconography, power and material culture, the empress Helena, the relic of the True Cross, urban development of Constantinople, textiles, ivories, mythology in Byzantine art, myth and genre in Archaic and Classical Greek art, romantic love in ancient and medieval art.
Research Profile

Daniel Boyarin, Professor. Gender and sexuality, rhetoric, Judaism, Christianity, Talmud, genealogy of religion.
Research Profile

Stanley H. Brandes, Professor. Cultural anthropology, ritual and religion, food and drink, alcohol use, visual anthropology, Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, Spain, Mexico.
Research Profile

Aaron Brody, Associate Professor. Pacific School of Religion.

Susanna Elm, Professor. History of the Later Roman Empire, pagan - Christian interactions, ancient medicine, slavery and the evolution of Christianity, leadership and empire, reception of antiquity.
Research Profile

Christopher Hallett, Professor. Classics, Roman art, visual culture, portraiture, Hellenistic art, Roman Asia Minor, Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.
Research Profile

Ronald Hendel, Professor. Textual criticism, Hebrew bible, ancient Near Eastern religion and mythology, Northwest Semitic linguistics.
Research Profile

Todd Hickey, Associate Professor. Classics, papyrology, Greek, Egyptian, social and economic history, late antiquity.
Research Profile

Rita Lucarelli, Assistant Professor.

Emily Mackil, Associate Professor.

Laurent Mayali, Professor. European legal history, comparative law, medieval jurisprudence, customary law.
Research Profile

Carlos F. Norena, Associate Professor. Roman history.
Research Profile

Nikolaos Papazarkadas, Associate Professor. Greek epigraphy, Greek history.
Research Profile

J. Theodore Pena, Professor. Roman archaeology, Roman and pre-Roman Italy, city of Rome, Pompeii, ancient economy, ceramic analysis, material culture studies.
Research Profile

Benjamin Porter, Assistant Professor. Archaeology, Near Eastern archaeology, Middle East, Arid Environments, anthropology, Heritage, tourism, and Museum Studies.
Research Profile

Francesca Rochberg, Professor. History of science, ancient near east, cuneiform studies.
Research Profile

Kim S. Shelton, Associate Professor. Ceramics, classical civilization and archaeology, Aegean prehistory, religion/mythology.
Research Profile

+ Andrew F. Stewart, Professor. Archaeology, classics, Greek sculpture, ancient art and architecture, the Hellenistic east after Alexander, the Renaissance reception of antiquity.
Research Profile

Niek Veldhuis, Professor. Digital humanities, intellectual history, Sumerian, cuneiform.
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

Frank Asaro, Professor Emeritus. Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Guitty Azarpay, Professor Emeritus. Art and archaeology of the ancient Near East and Central Asia.
Research Profile

David J. Cohen, Professor Emeritus. Human rights;war crimes & trials;Indonesia & East Timor; Guantanamo & Abu Grahib;Sierra Leone Special Court;International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda & Former Yugoslavia;Classics;ancient rhetoric & history, classical Greek law;political/legal theory.
Research Profile

+ Erich S. Gruen, Professor Emeritus. Classics, Greek and Roman history, Jews in the Greco-Roman world.
Research Profile

Wolfgang J. Heimpel, Professor Emeritus. Near Eastern studies.
Research Profile

J.E. Huesman, Professor Emeritus.

Anne D. Kilmer, Professor Emeritus.

Robert Knapp, Professor Emeritus.

Rebecca Lyman, Professor Emeritus. Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Jacob Milgron, Professor Emeritus.

Stephen G. Miller, Professor Emeritus. Archaeology, classics, Greek and Roman art, ancient architecture, Greek athletics.
Research Profile

Martin Schwartz, Professor Emeritus. Near Eastern studies.
Research Profile

John M. Smith, Professor Emeritus.

David B. Stronach, Professor Emeritus.

Ronald S. Stroud, Professor Emeritus. Classics, Greek history and literature, Greek epigraphy.
Research Profile

Leslie L. Threatte, Professor Emeritus.

Ruth Tringham, Professor Emeritus. Archaeology, Central European, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Anatolian prehistory, early agriculturalists, neolithic, bronze age, prehistoric architecture, household archaeology, feminist practice of archaeology, multimedia (hypermedia).
Research Profile

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology

7233 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-4218

Fax: 510-643-2959

Visit Group Website

Department Chair

Carlos Noreña, PhD

2222 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-2117

norena@berkeley.edu

Head Graduate Adviser

Kim Shelton (Classics, Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology)

Phone: 510- 642-5314

sheltonk@berkeley.edu

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