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Athens Spring Semester Abroad

"My Athens Program experience was the most fascinating, fruitful, and certainly the most unique learning experience I have ever had. Classroom learning about the incredible sites of Ancient Greece is instructive, but to actually be there, face-to-face with the Lion Gate of Mycenae and the Parthenon on the Acropolis, is entirely different, and an invaluable experience impossible to have any other way. "

Zach Mandell, Athens Alum 2013

Since 1989 this faculty-led program has been taking students to Athens for a spring semester devoted to Greek culture from antiquity to the modern day.  In courses covering such topics as Greek archaeology and art, the origins of philosophy and rhetoric, Greek drama and poetry, Greek sanctuaries and festivals, Greek diplomacy and warfare, the history of sport and athletics in Greece, the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and modern Greek language and customs, students explore ancient fortresses, walk in ancient temples, and study ancient texts. Study tours take students to major historical sites in Greece: Sparta, the home of Helen and training ground of the most formidable warriors of ancient Greece; Mycenae, the fortified citadel of the legendary king Agamemnon; Knossos, the labyrinthine palace and legendary home of King Minos on the island of Crete; Olympia, site of the first organized sporting contests in the Western world; Delphi, where kings and conquerors gave gifts of thanks to Apollo, and where his priestess, the Pythia, delivered oracles concerning the future; and Athens, where democracy, theater, philosophy, art and architecture all flourished.

“The Athens program offers the opportunity to learn about the famous figures and history of Greece, ancientand modern, in a way that no classroom course or textbook can teach you.  Touring the sites, museums and the city of Athens itself, walking in the footsteps of the likes of Socrates, Leonidas and Pericles, and being immersed in an inviting and distinctly unique modern culture all make for an unforgettable experience.”

Doug Chatterton, Athens Alum 2013

Students may enroll for 12-18 credits (15 credits recommended, 9 credits available at the 400-level) for their coursework during the program. Courses include an introduction to Modern Greek culture and society, instruction in ancient Greek art and archaeology, and Athletics and Competition in Ancient Greek Society, as well as two topical courses in the field of expertise of the faculty director. Instruction is also available in modern or ancient Greek and Latin, depending upon demand.  Courses satisfy CAMS and general education requirements, and several are cross-listed in History, Art History, and Kinesiology, and often in other departments, depending on the field of expertise of the faculty director. With only one additional 3-credit course taken before or after the program, students may earn a Minor in CAMS (18 credits with at least 6 credits at the 400-level). It is recommended that students take CAMS 25 Greek Civilization or CAMS 100 Greek History before the program.

Classes are held at the Athens Centre, a private language and cultural institute in the residential neighborhood of Pangrati, about a mile from the center of the city and from the Acropolis.   With the support of the staff of the Athens Centre, students live in nearby, furnished private apartments, experiencing day-to-day living in a modern Mediterranean city.

For further information, visit:

Athens Centre Website
Athens Spring Semester 2015 Program

For application details, go to ATHENS: History, Culture, and Archaeology of Greece in Education Abroad at the Penn State Global Programs Office.


For further details, contact Professor Mark Munn or Dr. Mary Lou Munn.

Student Testimonial

“I did not start at Penn State in the CAMS department but by the time my fourth semester came around I found myself declaring a major in CAMS because I loved the subject matter. The courses instructed by the CAMS faculty gave me many opportunities to challenge my thinking. (...)
The department offers a wide variety of courses with some taught every semester, while more advanced courses change constantly. All of these courses introduced me to the wide variety of topics covered in the field. The CAMS department has many courses focusing on the Ancient the Near East and not exclusively Greece and Rome. In fact, classes in both areas are requirements of the degree. This breadth of study gave me a strong base of knowledge on which to build. The CAMS major offers an archaeology option that fostered my interests and supported my secondary major in Archaeology. I was surprised to find so many opportunities to study abroad within the department. I went on my first excavation in Israel in 2008 with support from Penn State and I did not want to return. Archaeology in the Near East became one of my favorite subjects. Since 2008, I have gone on two more excavations sponsored by Penn State. Without these experiences abroad, I would have never discovered and developed my passion for the study of the Ancient Near East. Now that I have graduated with a B.A. in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and a B.S. in Archaeological Science, I shall continue my education by graduate work in Archaeological Studies at Yale University. The experiences and interactions that I have had in my years at Penn State in the CAMS department serve as the foundation for my future studies.”

Jane Skinner
2011 CAMS graduate

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