The American School of Classical Studies at Athens
  • Program Notes
  • From the Field Mellon Professor Margie Miles leads us through the student's first 12-day trip through west and northern Greece.
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The entire Summer Session II at the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion 2015. Photo credit to Kyle Zawacki, teacher.

Summer Sessions


The ASCSA Summer Sessions offer an unparalleled opportunity to experience the ancient sites, monuments, and culture of Greece first-hand, under the guidance of expert professors deeply familiar with the country and up-to-date with the latest research.

Every summer the ASCSA offers just two intensive Summer Sessions.  Each Summer Session lasts six weeks and is limited to twenty participants.  Summer Session groups are based at the ASCSA campus in central Athens.  From there each Summer Session travels throughout Greece, from the Peloponnesus in the south to Thessaloniki in the north, and even the island of Crete.  The itinerary includes not only well-known archaeological sites and museums but also amazing places off the beaten track.

Summer Session groups receive exclusive access to archaeological sites and storerooms inaccessible to others and enjoy presentations on ongoing excavations by preeminent scholars.  Presentations and tours by the world's leading specialists offer Summer Session participants insightful, comprehensive overviews of Greek art and archaeology, and illumniate the full range of Greece's rich history– from the Bronze Age to the Classical Greek and Roman eras, through the Byzantine period, and into the twenty-first century.

Participants work together in cooperative learning projects, sharing their knowledge in on-site oral presentations and seminar-style discussions.  Summer Session participants also deepen their understanding of contemporary Greece as they travel through it, converse with its inhabitants, and reflect on the relationship of past and present in this fascinating country.

Graduate students and faculty in Classics or Ancient History whose main focus is not archaeology will find the Summer Session provides them invaluable new perspectives on ancient Greece that they can incorporate in their teaching and research. For graduate students focusing on Greek archaeology, the Summer Session offers an intensive introduction to the major issues and sources of the field. Advanced undergraduates who are considering graduate training in classical studies will find the Summer Session superb preparation for the rigors of graduate school. Teachers will discover new stories and engaging new material to share with their students back home.

Participation in the Summer Session is open to graduate students, advanced undergraduates, and faculty from any accredited institution of higher education, and to primary and secondary school teachers.  The language of instruction is English.

The program is both intellectually absorbing and physically challenging.  Museum visits may involve long periods of standing, while many site visits require hiking uphill in the Mediterranean summer heat.  Participants must be in good physical shape and be ready to work cooperatively as part of a close-knit Summer Session group.

Summer Session participants become part of the ASCSA alumni/alumnae community, with more than a thousand members around the world. Summer Session participation can open the doors to professional connections, mentoring, fieldwork opportunities, and scholarly support for years to come.

For 2016, Summer Session I (June 13 through July 27) will be directed by Professor Denver Graninger, University of California, Riverside; Session II (June 20 through August 3) will be directed by Professor Amy Smith, University of Reading.

The Summer Session schedule alternates periods in Athens with extended trips outside the city. The program runs seven days a week. Participants are expected to
take part in all scheduled activities and should not plan individual travel during the course of the program.

While in Athens, members visit and study the city's important monuments and sites, such as the Acropolis, Agora, and Kerameikos. Several day-trips are made to sites in Attica, including Sounion, Rhamnous, Thorikos, Aegina, Marathon, Brauron, and Eleusis.

The extended trips vary from session to session, but traditionally include six days on Crete, ten days in the Peloponnese and a week in Northern Greece. Of the ca. 60 sites and museums visited during these trips, the following are normally included: Knossos, Phaistos, Corinth, Isthmia, Nemea, Mycenae, Tiryns, Epidauros, Sparta, Mystra, Pylos, Bassai, Olympia, Thebes, Delphi, Thermopylae, Dimini and Sesklo, Vergina, Pella, and Olynthus.

Every participant gives two on-site oral reports of about twenty minutes each. Report topics are selected in consultation with the director, taking into account participants’ interests and skills.

A typical day starts at 7:00AM and ends at 7:00PM. A group will typically visit from 3-7 archaeological sites and/or museums during the day. Each visit
 may include a director’s presentation, tours by invited specialists, and one or more student reports. There is much standing and walking, many sites require a climb, and the Mediterranean summer sun is intense, so participants should be in good shape and prepared for the rigors of the program.

In Athens travel is by walking or public transport (including the efficient metro system). On day trips and extended trips most travel is by private chartered bus with a licensed professional driver; island trips involve ferry rides. Lunch may be picnic style or at local eateries depending on the day’s schedule. Beach stops for swimming are scheduled whenever possible. Hotels are typically C class, clean and secure establishments with private bathroom and A/C available. Most hotels have wi-fi. Continental breakfasts are provided at the hotel every morning. Participants eat dinner on their own at local eateries within walking distance of the hotel. Dinner hour in Greece is typically later than in North America, with many people eating between 8-11pm.

Each Summer Session is based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.  Participants enjoy 24-hour access to the world-class Blegen Library, including a computer lab, wireless internet access, archives, and individual study space.  Participants stay in historic Loring Hall, where they will find a welcoming and supportive staff, home-style Greek cooking, gardens, and verandas that look out onto Mount Hymettus.  The School also offers numerous opportunities for informal conversation, learning, and networking with professors and students working at the ASCSA, and with members of the international scholarly community in Athens.

An attempt is made to ensure that each session includes undergraduate students, graduate students, high school teachers, and college professors, though there is no quota for any category. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, ethnic origin, or disability.

The American School is not a degree-granting institution. No grades are given for its programs, nor are transcripts provided. An optional final exam at the end of each Summer Session is given, and the director of a session will, upon request, write a letter to the member’s home institution recommending that credit be granted, provided that the member has satisfactorily participated in the program and passed the final exam.

The fee of $5,000 covers the entire six weeks in Greece.  This includes tuition, meals in Loring Hall, lodging for the entire period, travel within Greece, and museum and site fees. International airfare to and from Greece, most meals (Saturday dinner and Sunday meals in Athens, and all meals outside of Athens), and incidental expenses are the participant’s responsibility. Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships through the School. They are awarded on the basis of academic merit.  (Rates and fees are subject to change without notice.)

The ASCSA offers a range of Summer Session fellowships.  Several national and regional Classics organizations also offer scholarships specifically for Summer Session participants. Link to scholarship page:

Any U.S. or Canadian citizen who plans to spend more than 90 days in Greece and/or any other member of the Schengen block of countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) within a six-month period must obtain a special visa BEFORE entry into the Schengen zone. This visa must be issued by a Greek consulate/embassy in a country where the applicant is a resident, and the application process can take two or more months. The summer sessions themselves account for 45 of these days and any participant who plans to combine, for example, a spring or fall study abroad program with the ASCSA Summer Sessions may exceed the 90-day limit.  For further information, click here.

Applications to the summer program can be found here.
Application fee is $25. Deadline is January 15, 2016. Letters of recommendation are due by January 20 and are submitted online at
Please send this link to your recommenders.

Download the Summer Sessions Bulletin

For additional questions or information, contact Professor Glenn Bugh, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Chair of the Committee on the Summer Sessions at

  • From the Field
  • Nick Cross, attended the 2015 ASCSA Summer Session I, is a graduate student in Ancient History at the City University of New York.
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  • From the Field
  • Richard Freed, Summer Session II, 2009: "My ASCSA summer session in Greece was a transformative experience
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  • From the Field
  • Kyle Zawacki, teacher in high school social studies at the Huron Schools in New Boston, MI, at the Parthenon in Athens. Zawacki participated in 2015 Summer Sessions II and was the recipient of the ASCSA Rea Silvia Borza scholarship.
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