Summer Seminars

The Summer Seminars of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens are 18-day programs that focus on specific cultural themes, historical periods, or geographical regions. The Seminars are led by exceptional scholars of Classics and related fields. Under their direction, participants study texts, visit archaeological sites and museums, and engage with expert guest speakers in order to deepen their understanding of Greece’s landscape, history, literature, and material culture.

Past seminars include Greek Sculpture, Myth on Site, Greek Religion, and Finding the Spartans.

Application Deadline: The call for applications for the 2022 summer programs has ended. The application will open fall 2022 for the 2023 summer programs.

Summer 2023 Seminars

The next new set of seminars (offered in summer 2023) will be "Locating Ancient Gender and Sexuality" (led by Kate Gilhuly and Bryan Burns) and "The Archaeology of Caves in Greece: Cult and Life through the Ages" (led by Amy and Nassos Papalexandrou).

Thanatopsis: Greek Funerary Customs Through the Ages (June 6-24, 2022)

This seminar will introduce its members to the wide range of Greek funeral customs and monuments, methods of burial, inscriptions, curse tablets, funerary offerings and rituals, and conceptions of death, from antiquity to the present. Taught by Professor Daniel B. Levine, University of Arkansas.

Participants will visit a wide range of sites and museums in Attica, Boeotia, the Argolid, and Crete to get a sense of the variety of mortuary practices and remains. They will discover, first hand, how Greeks have portrayed death and commemorated it, from pre-history to the present. Short reading assignments will supplement many visits to put the history into a greater context. For example, participants will read Pericles’ funeral oration in preparation for a visit to the Demosion Sema (a 5th century BC public cemetery) the contemporary ‘Tomb of the Unknown’ in Syntagma Square. For the visit to the Agora, students will read Socrates’ ideas of the afterlife from Plato's Apology and Phaedo, and in preparation for the excursion to Eleusis, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. While in Athens, the seminar will examine skeletal remains from the Athenian Agora and material housed in the ASCSA Wiener Laboratory with scholars in the field, visit ancient and modern cemeteries (such as the Kerameikos and the Modern Athens First Cemetery, including Orthodox, Protestant, and Jewish sections, and the graves of the kings and queens of Greece at the abandoned palace of Tatoi). The seminar will include a trip to Crete to study funerary customs from prehistory through modern periods, including Late Minoan chamber tombs, the Arkadi monastery, and the WWII German and Allied military cemeteries.

The Northern Aegean: Macedon and Thrace (June 30 - July 18, 2022)

Amphipolis LionIn this seminar, participants will explore the Northern Aegean region during various time periods. The history of Macedon and Thrace bridges the East and West and offers a glimpse into some of the most significant developments in Greek history, such as colonization, cross-cultural relations, the Persian Wars, Athenian hegemony, and the rise of Macedon. Taught by Professors Amalia Avramidou, Democritus University of Thrace, and Denise Demetriou, University of California, San Diego.

The history of Thrace and Macedon bridges the history of East and West and offers a glimpse into some of the most significant developments in Greek history, such as colonization, cross-cultural relations, the history of the Persian Wars, Athenian hegemony, and the rise of Macedon. The seminar offers a window into the complexities of the region by experiencing and learning about topography and settlement patterns, interconnectivity and trade, and local pottery workshops. The field seminar touches upon political institutions (democracy, kingdoms and dynasties, and tribal stateless societies), questions of identity (Thracians, Macedonians, Athenians, Ionians), religion (state vs local cult), and trade (local vs imported). 

Participants will visit sites and museums that complement the surviving literary sources in Athens, Macedonia, and Thrace, and highlight their intricate relations. Many sites will be visited, ranging from Greek colonies and Thracian forts to Macedonian foundations, and from urban sanctuaries to open-air cult sites and tumuli. After spending a few days in democratic Athens, participants will discover the material remains of the Macedonian royal court in Vergina. They will also compare the urban environment of the Athenian colony of Amphipolis to the multicultural sites of Zone and Abdera, experience the royal sanctuaries at Dion and Samothrace and visit the spectacular burials of elite Thracian tumuli by the Hebros River. Such an exploration of the topography and sites of the North Aegean coast will facilitate the visualization of the multilayered past of Macedon and Thrace and elucidate these regions’ interactions with the rest of the Greek world.

Structure of the Program

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

When in Athens, the Summer Seminars are based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Roughly half of the program is spent in travel throughout Greece, and participants are housed in hotels. The program's commitment to presenting a detailed view of the seminar topic, and Greece's rich history, leads to long days and extensive walking in the hot Mediterranean summer. Participants should be prepared for a rigorous program of study.

Seminar participants receive exclusive access to archaeological sites and storerooms inaccessible to others and enjoy presentations on ongoing excavations by preeminent scholars. Internationally known scholars of Greek history, art, and archaeology will participate as guest lecturers in both seminars. Students are expected to give on-site reports, which they will prepare in their home libraries before the program begins. 

Want to know more? Visit the FAQ page!

A Typical Day

A typical day starts at 7:00AM and ends at 7:00PM. A group will typically visit 3 to 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 have steep inclines, and the Mediterranean summer sun is intense, so participants should be 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. 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.

Facilities

When Summer Seminars are 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 will be housing in Loring Hall while in Athens, and have access to our 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.

Outside of Athens, participants will stay in hotels. Hotels are typically C class, clean and secure establishments with private bathrooms and A/C available. Most hotels have wi-fi. Continental breakfasts are provided at the hotel every morning.

Participants/eligibility

Enrollment is open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students, as well as to high school and college instructors of classics and related subjects. Each seminar is limited to twenty participants. The language of instruction is English. Applicants who are not enrolled or teaching at English-speaking institutes, or schools, may be required to supply evidence of proficiency in English.

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

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

An attempt is made to ensure that the 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 age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation when considering admission to any form of membership or application for employment.

Costs

The fee for each summer 2022 Seminar is $2,750. This includes tuition, room for the entire 18-day period, partial board in Athens, travel within Greece, and museum and site fees. International airfare, most meals outside Athens, and incidental expenses are the participant's responsibility. Financial aid is available in the form of ASCSA scholarships, awarded on the basis of academic merit, and many classical professional organizations have funding opportunities. (Rates and fees are subject to change without notice.)

Financial Support

The ASCSA offers a range of Summer Seminar fellowships.  Several national and regional Classics organizations also offer scholarships specifically for Summer Seminar participants. 

Click Here for Scholarship Information

Academic credit

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 seminar can given (upon discussion with the Seminar Director), and the director of a seminar 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. Inquire about course credit option.

Application

Deadline for the online application and two recommendations will be early January 2023. 

Link to the online application: TBA

Admission to the Summer Seminar is granted on the basis of academic performance and letters of recommendation. 

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Applicants must submit the online application form by the deadline. The application form includes: 
    • A list of colleges and universities attended, with dates of residence, degrees awarded or expected, and any honors attained; a list of any teaching or other professional experience (with institutions and dates or present employment). This information can be entered on to the application form itself, or uploaded as a document to the application.
    • A brief statement of your present attainments in the following subjects: Latin and Greek (specify amount of reading done in the original and in translation), ancient history, history of ancient literature, archaeology and history of art. This information should be uploaded as a PDF to the application. Note: such attainments are not a prerequisite or mandatory for participation.
    • A brief statement of your future plans. How does ASCSA participation in the ASCSA Summer program fit into these plans? This information should be uploaded as a PDF to the application.
    • A copy of undergraduate and graduate transcripts for student applicants (unofficial transcripts are acceptable); a copy of a current CV for high school teachers and college professors. 
  • Applicants for School scholarships can check a box on the application form to be considered for any School (internal) scholarships for which they are eligible. No extra paperwork is necessary. Review the scholarships online to learn about eligibility requirements, as well as external funding opportunities.
  • Applicants must arrange for two letters of recommendation to be submitted online. After the online application is submitted, the recommenders will automatically be sent instructions about how to upload their recommendation. Or, applicants may choose to send the request at any time by clicking the "Send Request Now" button on the online application form. Recommendations are due by the application deadline.

All applicants will be notified in February. 

Visas

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. Any participant who plans to combine, for example, a spring or fall study abroad program with the ASCSA Summer Seminars may exceed the 90-day limit.  For further information, click here.

Ready to apply?

The call for applications for the 2022 summer programs has ended. The application will open fall 2022 for the 2023 summer programs.
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation when considering admission to any form of membership or application for employment.

Testimonials from previous participants

Hear about the Seminars

For additional questions or information:

Contact Professor Elizabeth Baltes (Coastal Carolina University), Chair of the Committee on the Summer Sessions at ssapplication@ascsa.org.

Apply to lead a summer program

If you are a scholar who is interested in leading a Summer Seminar or the Summer Session, click here to link to more information about open positions. 

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