I took my BA in Classics here at Cambridge, and then returned to start the MPhil in October 2013. I have found my first year as a postgraduate extremely stimulating: you are given great independence to try out new ideas and write papers on a wide range of topics, and simultaneously receive strong support from your supervisor, other academics and the highly-integrated graduate community.
Graduates are extremely well catered for here: we have 24 hour access to the library, a graduate representative and even our own common room. I have enjoyed hearing ‘home’ and visiting academics give papers at our weekly seminars, and learning the art of delivering papers myself at the Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar. My wider knowledge of the Classical world as well as my specialist research interests have greatly benefited from the constant sharing of ideas that the Cambridge Classics Faculty encourages.
I came to Cambridge from the U.S. for the MPhil in 2013-14. What attracted me here was the Classics Faculty's strength in ancient philosophy, and that core aspect of my experience has been every bit as productive and stimulating as I expected. In other ways, student life in Cambridge has exceeded my expectations, and altogether I've had a very memorable year.
The Faculty's B Caucus -- Ancient Philosophy -- is a sizable and active community, with various seminars and lectures available in addition to MPhil coursework. Working with Robert Wardy and James Warren, among others, I've learned a tremendous amount and had a good time doing it. That's great in itself, but thanks to additional opportunities on offer at the Faculty, my year has been really exceptional. Specialist skills classes in numismatics and epigraphy, an exchange program that took me to Munich, a travel grant that allowed me to tour Roman-era sites in Israel…the list goes on.
Cambridge student life outside the faculty is good, too. Playing University Blues athletics has been a solid way to stay physically active and see more of the UK, the various faculties and colleges hold more special lectures than I could ever hope to attend, and college life has offered a separate and unique experience of community.
Before coming to Cambridge, I have earned a BA in Classics and another one in Theology from the University of Bucharest, and then an MA in Patristic Theology from Augustinianum (Rome). My long interaction with Maximus the Confessor’s (580-662) theology and Neoplatonic philosophy eventually helped me understand that I need a thorough knowledge of everything that happened in Greek philosophy before middle Platonism, especially Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics.
During the one-year MPhil in Ancient Philosophy I have written three essays in the philosophy of mind – about Plato’s self, perception in Aristotle, and Nemeius of Emesa’s polemics against Cleanthes and Chrysippus on soul’s immateriality – and a thesis entitled The Identity of Individuals in the middle books of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.
This MPhil is basically a research oriented programme, and it fits beautifully anyone who wants to think independently and critically and to learn how to do academic research at the highest level. I find the supervision sessions particularly useful: they helped me clarify my language and consequently my thoughts.