The Bridge M.A. in Classics: An Initiative in Support of Equitable Access


Graduate Handbook of the Field of Classics

The Bridge M.A. Program and Fellowship is designed to advance the field’s commitment to equity and access in the graduate study of Classics. The fellowship is specifically tailored for students with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent who have demonstrated outstanding scholarly potential and have experienced barriers to accessing opportunities that would prepare them for immediate entry into a doctoral program. 

The Field of Classics awards one Bridge M.A. Fellowship each application cycle. This award covers tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend for two semesters and two summers; housing on campus will also be provided for the first six weeks of the initial summer. Recipients who remain in good academic standing in the field will thus receive the award for a total of one academic year and two summers. The Bridge M.A. Fellows will also receive intensive mentoring from faculty and Ph.D. students as the fellow works to develop their independent research project for their M.A. degree. 

Applications are invited from current seniors scheduled to complete in the spring as well as from recent graduates. The application deadline for matriculation by early June 2024 is March 1, 2024.

Within the Personal Statement, applicants interested in being considered for the Bridge M.A. fellowship should provide details on barriers they have encountered that have limited or complicated their access to advanced studies in Classics as well as lessons learned from any of their lived experiences including but not limited to:

  • being a first-generation college student or graduate (no parent/guardian completed a baccalaureate degree)
  • racial, ethnic, and/or cultural background(s)
  • managing a disability or chronic health condition
  • experiencing housing, food, economic, and/or other forms of significant insecurity
  • being a solo parent
  • gender identity and/or sexual orientation
  • having served in the military
  • holding DACA, refugee, TPS, or asylee status

Program Goals and Requirements

The successful fellow will have gained some familiarity with both Greek and Latin, at least four semesters in one and two in the other. We are happy to consider students who have studied one of the languages outside of normal coursework (for example, through self-study or informal tutoring).

The first summer will be dedicated to foundational work in the two languages, with tutoring from advanced PhD students or other instructors. In the fall semester, the fellow will then focus on coursework, developing a thesis proposal, and preparing a strong dossier for applications to Ph.D. programs. During the spring and second summer, the fellow will write the thesis and receive an M.A. upon completion of all requirements.

Degree requirements

  • a minimum of 32 credits;
  • a minimum of 6 courses at the 6000 level or higher (see distribution requirement below);
  • a thesis;
  • successful completion of the M.A. oral exam;
  • a minimum of 2 semesters of full-time study in residences

Distribution requirements

The 6 courses at the 6000 level or higher must include the following:

  • 1 course at the 6000 level or higher in Latin Language
  • 1 course at the 6000 level or higher in Greek Language
  • 2 courses at the 6000 level or higher in Classics

Special Committee

Entering students receive guidance from the Director of Graduate Studies. Students should form a Special Committee of 2 members (a Chair and a Minor Member) by the end of the first semester.

M.A. Thesis

The final thesis for the M.A. in Classics should present a piece of original research. It should be between 10,000 – 20,000 words (using standard formatting in accordance with Graduate School requirements). It should aim to be similar in quality and scale to articles published in professional journals in Classics.

No later than the first day of the spring semester, students must submit to their Special Committee a short (maximum 4 pages) proposal detailing the focus of their thesis.

Funding Information

The stipends listed below are based on 2023-24 rates; these amounts tend to increase each year to reflect current costs of living. Please refer to for the most up-to-date rates.

Academic year stipend: $32,494

Summer stipend: $6,846 (Bridge MA Fellows receive this support for each of the two summers that bookend their academic year of enrollment.)

The full cost of six weeks of summer housing prior to academic year of enrollment is fully covered.

The full cost of tuition and student health insurance is covered.

How to Apply

Not accepting applications for AY 2025-26

  1. The field will provide an application fee waiver to any applicant to the Bridge M.A. in Classics Program.
  2. Indicate within the Graduate School application that you wish to be considered for the M.A. program and mention in your personal statement that you wish to be considered for the Classics Bridge M.A. Program.
  3. Please submit the online application for the Classics Bridge M.A., including the following:
  • Transcripts detailing previous coursework
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Two required statements – the academic statement of purpose and the personal statement
    • The academic statement of purpose provides an opportunity to reflect on your motivation to pursue graduate studies in Classics and your plans for future research
    • The personal statement provides an opportunity to describe how your background and experiences influenced your decision and ability to pursue a graduate degree and your potential to contribute to Cornell University’s core commitment to work for an intellectual community for scholars from all backgrounds. It also provides you with an opportunity to provide context on barriers you may have encountered accessing higher education. 
  • Writing sample
    • The writing sample may be a research paper, a chapter of an undergraduate honors thesis, or a creative alternative (e.g. presentation, wiki, translation, book or film review)

GRE scores are neither required nor accepted.