Aidyl Apolinario Molina
The Post-Baccalaureate program at UCLA provided me an opportunity to take courses in Latin, Greek, and German with some of the best scholars in the field. Through and through, I obtained advisement and outstanding support especially with regard to applying to graduate programs. In the end, I had the chance to visit other departments throughout the country, and to decide where to take the next step. Today I am continuing my studies in Classics as a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill with focus on Latin literature and women in antiquity
I discovered Classics during my sophomore year at UCLA, and decided to pursue a second major in Classical Civilization. My first major was biochemistry, and I always thought I would work in a laboratory or in the health field after college. By the time I realized I wanted to continue my education in Classics, it was already my senior year. Fortunately, UCLA’s post-baccalaureate program in Classics gave me the opportunity to study not only Latin and Greek, but also German and conservation science. After two years in the post-bacc program, I completed an MA in Classical Archaeology at Florida State University and a PhD in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at Princeton University, teaching Latin and Roman history and material culture.
Though my Latin was strong from my undergraduate education, I knew that I needed to bolster it and my Greek in order to enter into competitive graduate programs. The UCLA Post-Bacc provided me the skills and connections to do just that. The faculty were consistently kind, knowledgeable, and helpful, and through them I engaged with a variety of topics that I had never been exposed to before. The ability to enroll in a mixture of undergraduate and graduate courses allowed me to progress at my own pace, while preparing me for the realities of graduate school. These courses sparked the interests that I would carry with me into my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation.
Without my advisers in the UCLA post-bacc I would never have been able to continue to my master’s at the University at Buffalo. This paved the way for my acceptance into my current doctoral program at the University of Washington, where I am finishing my dissertation in June 2019.
When I came to the post-bacc program, I had never studied Greek, and my Latin was extremely rusty. In two years at UCLA, I made progress in both languages (though Greek, you will learn, is always a telos). I also had excellent mentorship, from professors who gave me individual attention, cared about my progress, and could give me honest and advice and counsel about the at-times-intimidating world of graduate school. I had opportunities to get a sense of what academic life was like–I presented at graduate student conferences, worked as a research assistant in the history department, and for the first (but not last) time graded undergrad papers. I’m now in my fourth year in Harvard’s history department, where I’m writing a dissertation, “Shifting Landscapes of Wealth and Power in Late- and Post-Roman Iberia: An Archaeological Study.” And though my research interests have taken me out of the classical world, the language training, preparatory work, and academic experience I got from my two years at UCLA aid me in my work every day. If you are serious about pursuing a higher degree and think you don’t have the language background necessary, I cannot recommend the UCLA Post-Bacc highly enough.
Attending the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Classics at UCLA was extremely beneficial for graduate program preparation. The coursework in Greek and Latin really helped with advancing my translation skills, and the freedom to take graduate-level seminars helped fill in the gaps that my undergraduate program left empty. The Post-Baccalaureate Seminar also provided a plethora of general information that helped mitigate the stress of applying to graduate programs. I am now pursuing my PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside, with a focus on Latin and Italian literatures.
I spent much of the Post-Bacc. year working on improving my Greek and Latin, as most do, and for that it was extremely useful. But the program also gave me a chance to stretch my legs intellectually, both in the setting of graduate seminars and in my own extra-curricular research (with generous faculty help). I was encouraged to explore my interests in Augustan poetry as well as Classical Greek prose. As it turned out, I have done post-graduate research in both fields: my M.A. thesis was on Vergil’s Georgics, and I’m currently finishing up a doctoral dissertation on Thucydides’ History, both at the University of Toronto. The academic training I received at UCLA, together with the invaluable practical guidance through the grad-school application process, played a decisive role in confirming my academic ambitions in my own mind and allowing me to pursue them.
My year in the UCLA post-baccalaureate program in Classics was the catalyst that has enabled all of my subsequent graduate training. I entered the program with limited Latin and a vague notion of what graduate school and an academic career entailed. After the program I felt well equipped to meet the challenges of the academy. The language training at UCLA quickly rectified years of personal negligence in my Latin education. Furthermore, the program’s post-baccalaureate seminar prepared me for the unique challenges of life in academia. When the demands of graduate school or the realities of academic careers blindside my colleagues, I often could thank this seminar for helping me to anticipate and often prepare for such hurdles. The program at UCLA enabled me to find success at Western Michigan University, where I earned an M.A. in history. I continue to rely on my UCLA training in my current doctoral program in The Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame, where I study concepts of and responses to apostasy in Christian and Islamic Spain.
The two years I spent in the post-bacc program were essential for my career and much fun to boot. I chose UCLA over the other post-bacc programs because I was attracted to the way post-bacc students were integrated into the department’s normal class schedule. I also appreciated that I had the opportunity to enroll in classes that other departments offered. This format allowed me to work on my writing and research in addition to my languages, and also gave me the opportunity to get to know a large number of the faculty. When I reflect on the courses that proved to be fundamental for my development as a scholar and teacher, several of them were classes that I took as a post-bacc: Greek Orators (Kathryn Morgan), Statius (Mario Telò), Survey of later Latin literature (Amy Richlin). The last two of these were graduate-level courses, and the opportunity to take courses alongside graduate students is another strong advantage of the program.
Currently I am Visiting Fellow in Classics at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. I just finished teaching a course on Roman History in which I continually found myself thinking back to the classes I took as a post-bacc as I planned what I wanted to share with my students.
Although I attended a spectacular undergraduate liberal arts school, it was still a small school with fewer academic options than a large research institution like UCLA. The Post Bacc program not only gave me a chance to study further Latin and Greek, it gave me the chance to explore interests beyond those that my undergraduate college had offered. That opportunity shaped and furthered my research interests and has been critical in helping hone my focus for my future academic aspirations. While further researching those interests I have taken a detour into the world of publishing and am currently an acquiring editor at Berrett-Koehler Publishers, where I sign books largely in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, gender, and social justice. The advising and opportunity afforded me at UCLA were absolutely critical to both my current career success and my future plans to return to academia.
The post-baccalaureate program at UCLA helped me to feel confident with the languages again after a two year “break” from Classics after graduating with my BA. I believe that the post-baccalaureate certificate helped me to be a more competitive candidate for the MA programs that I applied to and allowed me to receive very useful advice for the graduate application process, making it a little less daunting. Because of the classes that I took in the post-baccalaureate program, I was able to enter straight into a graduate level Homeric Greek class without having to complete a stylistic review course when I started my MA program, which let me complete my required language course credits sooner. I am now in my final semester of the MA program in Classics at Florida State University studying Greek archaeology. While here, I have had the opportunity to work as a TA and as an instructor of two of my own Greek and Roman civilization based courses. After my graduation this spring, I will be pursuing a career teaching Latin at the secondary education level to combine my love of teaching and Classics.
My time at UCLA was a vitally productive one for improving my Greek and Latin, and for providing me with the skillsets needed for grad school. The support I had from the postbacc program while applying to grad school was invaluable, and the community of friends and colleagues I made while there is still a part of my life today. After two years in the postbacc program, I joined the Department of Classics at Stanford University, and am currently finishing a dissertation on performance and the body in ancient Greek literary criticism.
I began formal study of Greek and Latin my junior year after transferring to university from city college. Though I knew upon graduation that I wanted to pursue graduate studies in classics, with a focus especially on Roman poetry, I felt that my languages needed more work, especially since, on paper, I only had two years of study. To that end, UCLA’s post-baccalaureate program in Classics was the perfect fit. It allowed me to spend a year of intensive language study in diverse reading courses with excellent faculty. Particularly useful for my purposes was taking Latin prose composition, which the smaller department from which I came did not offer. One of the best aspects of the program I found to be the post-baccalaureate seminar. This seminar proved to be invaluable in preparing me for an exacting graduate application process. The feedback I got from faculty on writing samples and personal statements, to say nothing about the basics regarding what to expect in interviews and on campus visits, made me a much stronger candidate than I otherwise would have been. Incidentally, UCLA is also one of the loveliest places I have had the opportunity to work in.
Currently, I am a second-year PhD candidate in Classics at Princeton. Though the post-baccalaureate program at UCLA did not prepare me for the rigors of winter on the east coast, it certainly made me confident in my ability to thrive in a challenging graduate environment, and I am fortunate and grateful to have found such support and guidance there.
The post-bacc program at UCLA was professionally and personally rewarding. It provided me a level of philological training in Greek and Latin that was much needed after a late start into the field of Classics. An undervalued part of that training is the need to explore a wide variety of authors and texts. I was able to do that at UCLA both because of the faculty’s diverse interests and the program’s willingness to allow us to take different kinds of courses including graduate seminars and courses in other departments. I am currently in the PhD program at UC Santa Barbara writing a dissertation on Tacitus, an author for whom my love began at UCLA in the post-bacc program. I will be exploring the academic job market this fall, but I know that wherever I end up, the post-bacc program at UCLA was integral in my intellectual and person growth.
I came into the Post Baccalaureate program with a BA in Liberal Arts majoring in Comparative Literature from King’s College London. During that time I did readings in Ancient Greek philosophy. I did not, however, really have a chance to study ancient languages until after my undergraduate studies. Knowing that my head belonged in research and especially in Ancient Greek philosophy, I had to find a way to get into the Classics graduate program. Post-Baccalaureate program acted as the perfect bridge not only between undergraduate studies and graduate school, but also between the fields. I spent two years at UCLA and it equipped me with the necessary skills in ancient languages, as well as strengthened my academic foundation with classes in Roman history, Greek tragedy, literary theory and ancient philosophy.
In addition, Post Baccalaureate program offered help and guidance through the challenging process of Grad school applications, which would have been a more chaotic experience otherwise.I am now a PhD student in Classics as USC and I feel comfortable in Graduate seminars, survey language courses and completely on a par with someone who has a BA in Classics. I also have the advantage of having participated in several Graduate seminars with the brilliant faculty at UCLA.
Madeleine St. Marie
I am currently a PhD candidate in History at the University of California, Riverside, where I work on Late Latin paragon Sidonius Apollinaris. The UCLA post-bacc in Classics allowed me to be competitive for graduate school by pushing me to hone my ancient language skills after considerable time off from undergrad. The graduate Augustan poets seminar was one of the most challenging and transformative courses I’ve taken in my academic career, not only leaving me with a great appreciation for Latin poetry (which I disliked before!), but also helping me gain a better understanding of the Latin language more generally.
I am currently a PhD candidate focusing on Greek vase painting and iconography in the Art History Department at Emory University. The language training I received in the postbacc program at UCLA has been a vital tool. During my coursework, I was able to continue to take classes in Greek literature as well as a graduate seminar on Greek historians, which required reading the ancient authors in the original. Currently I am writing my dissertation, which examines the Gigantomachy on 6th and 5th century Attic vases. My ability to engage with the ancient literature on the myth and the hundreds of inscriptions on the pottery has greatly informed my work. While my concentration is on visual culture, I believe that my background in ancient languages developed in the postbacc program has helped deepen my appreciation for the relationship of text and image and continues to enrich my graduate studies.
I am a currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Classics at UNC Chapel Hill, working on ancient Roman foodways, landscapes, and economics. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without the UCLA Post-Baccalaureate program in Classics. I came to Classics late in my undergraduate career at UC Santa Barbara, and struggled greatly with both ancient Greek and Latin, but especially Latin. I began to see the ancient languages as a necessary evil for my archaeological studies, making my work extremely discouraging. Over the course of my two years in the Post-Bac program, however, and with excellent guidance, I was finally able to overcome my struggles. I was not only accepted to an excellent graduate program, but with continued work, was certified to teach Latin at the undergraduate level in Spring 2018. The Post-Bac program gave me an invaluable experience that has allowed me to excel in my graduate career.
Associate Professor and Chair of Classics, Colorado College
My year as a UCLA post-bacc allowed me to take numerous courses in ancient Greek, a language I began only at the very end of my undergraduate career. In addition, I took a number of graduate survey courses and seminars, classes that were tremendously beneficial in preparing me for graduate school and beyond. One of those courses, a seminar on Athenian topography taught by Sarah Morris, eventually led to a project for which I was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. A seminar on the Age of Augustus taught by Robert Gurval helped broaden my knowledge of the period beyond canonical texts.
UCLA’s post-baccalaureate program in Classics transformed me from someone contemplating graduate school to a motivated and viable candidate. I would not have been accepted to the PhD programs I was without the post-baccalaureate program’s language training and rigorous post-bacc seminar. The latter helped me through the application process and brought my applications and writing sample up to speed. I am currently finishing up my PhD in History at UCLA and applying to jobs on the academic market.