I've considered applying to the MSt in Ancient Philosophy at Oxford, but I'm a little concerned that I don't quite fit the rubric of students attending the program. Having looked at the program's website quite extensively I've noticed that most of its graduates either studied Classics and Philosophy or studied focused on Classical philosophy as undergraduates. And of course, went on to get PhDs in Ancient philosophy all over the world.

I am currently a Masters student at Tel Aviv University working on German Idealism and French post-Structuralism and Deleuze and Maimon in particular. The only formal experience I have with ancient philosophy (aside from introductory courses) is a seminar I took last year on Plato's Republic. In the past year I've become very interested in ancient philosophy, and in Aristotle and the pre-Socratics specifically. The offering of courses on ancient philosophy at my university is lacking and I, therefore, thought that it would be a good idea to apply for a second Masters with said Oxford program.

Because my interests have so far focused on late modern philosophy, I have no experience at all with Ancient Greek or with Latin. Moreover, I'm not entirely sure that I would like to pursue a career in ancient philosophy specifically, but rather that the problems concerning philosophers like Hegel, Deleuze, Nietzsche and Heidegger cannot be comprehended and seriously thought through without familiarity with ancient thinkers (Aristotle and the pre-Socratic in particular).

Seeing as I have no experience with the language, not much formal training in the relevant philosophy, and will apply after having finished a Masters, I'm worried I might not be a good fit. From the website, it seems that the program is quite exclusive (only 8 students are admitted each year).

I would very much like to get some opinions and advice form anyone who has had similar experiences or is simply familiar with programs like this one.

While I don't have any experience with ancient languages, I still have time to study before applying, and I read both French and German at a reasonable level. (Also, my native language is Hebrew, which I suppose one could count as ancient language. I have no problem reading the Old Testament in the original.)

Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    You should either ask them directly or just apply to the program. Opinions here mean very little. – Buffy Mar 27 '20 at 15:36
  • Since this program at Oxford is quite small, admission decisions might be strongly influenced by the opinion of one professor, and one professor's opinion could be extraordinarily favorable or extraordinarily unfavorable toward your unusual background. Maybe you can detect such opinions by looking at the professors' publications, but I can't. – Andreas Blass Mar 28 '20 at 3:43