Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Ally Dawson, PhD candidate in Classics

“Western is known for having a particularly strong ancient languages program, which is exactly what I was looking for.”

Supervisor: Aara Suksi

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
Our department is relatively small compared to other schools and disciplines. I find this to be an asset. There is a strong sense of camaraderie between students, faculty and staff. In addition, we have professors who are highly skilled and knowledgeable, but more importantly, they are all incredibly supportive.

What’s your favourite book?
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.

Describe your research.
I study socio-political allusions in ancient Greek tragedy. More specifically, I examine how non-Athenian scenes of supplication in Euripides’ Andromache give us insight into Athens hegemony during the Peloponnesian War and into the Athenians’ relationship with their allies and in particular, with Sparta, their rival for supremacy. My approach is based on Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, which interprets hegemony as moral leadership rooted in consent rather than force.

What is your “dream” career?
My dream career would involve teaching in some capacity. It’s what I have enjoyed most about my experiences as a graduate student at Western.

Have you worked as a TA or RA?
I have had the fortunate opportunity to serve as both a TA and an RA. Through my work as a TA I have realized my passion for teaching and working with students. I’ve had the opportunity to guest lecture, to advise on and grade essays, and to write multiple choice questions. As a RA, I’ve had the chance to work with many professors from departments outside of my own, ranging from Modern Languages, to English, to Philosophy. It’s been very fulfilling to contribute to the research projects of other professionals, has provided me with real world work experience, and has given me a glimpse of how academia operates outside of a classroom.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Jonathan Vickers (
Graduate Assistant/Coordinator

Department of Classical Studies

Western University
Lawson Hall Rm 3205A
London, Ontario N6A 5B8

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 87842

Students in the PhD program undertake a course of study that leads to a major, original research project on a topic of interest in the literatures, history and material cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. The program consists of several stages designed to ensure that students have broad knowledge in the range of subfields common to the study of antiquity and a substantial knowledge base in their particular are of intellectual enquiry, the subject of the dissertation. We have a small but growing group of PhD students engaged in a wide range of research projects, working closely with award-winning faculty supervisors. Each PhD student writes a number of exams at each stage of the program, including Greek and Latin translation exams, exams that test reading knowledge of the modern languages in which scholars often write (German, French, Italian), Comprehensive Exams (broad knowledge) and a Special Field exam that tests preparation for writing the PhD thesis.

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program will help you become a career-ready graduate with the skills necessary to excel in your studies and achieve your future goals. By participating in the program, you will assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth, choose what skills you want to enhance during your time at Western, and learn how to articulate the skills you gained in your degree to optimize your future career opportunities. To learn more, visit

Program Length

  • 12 Terms

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Admission Requirements

  • M.A. degree in Classics.
  • Obtained a GPA of at least 80%.
  • Substantial training in ancient Greek or Latin (normally 5 years of one language, 4 of the other).

In exceptional cases, there is a possibility for direct entry to the Ph.D. program; these decisions are made at the discretion of the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Department.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

Application Deadline

  • January 15 - Acceptance notification by February 15

Applications received after January 15 are contingent on space availability and funding.

Fields of Research

  • Ancient History
  • Archeology/Material Culture
  • Classics (Greek and Latin Philology and Literature)