- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 2.5 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
- This program is only available to regularly enrolled Penn State undergraduate students.
- Penn State students who successfully complete the Athens program and its prerequisites may be eligible to receive a minor in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS).
In and Beyond the Great Classrooms of Athens
Athens is the cultural, industrial and political center of modern Greece. Ancient Athens is considered by many to be the fountainhead of Western civilization. The heart of the city, both ancient and modern, is the world-famous Acropolis. Nearby is the Agora, the ancient civic center and marketplace with its temple of Hephaistos and other important monuments. Also close to the Acropolis, and within walking distance of the Athens Centre, is the Plaka, the old quarter of the modern city. There, amidst Byzantine churches and early modern historical buildings are other monuments of the ancient city, like the Library of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. Also not far from the Athens Centre are the National Gardens, the Parliament House, and the Panathenaikon Stadium, which was built in 330 BC for the Greater Panathenaic Festival and rebuilt centuries later to accommodate the first modern Olympic Games, held in 1896. Lycabettus Hill, with St. George's chapel at its summit, offers one of the best views of this wonderful city. The many museums, monuments, and scenic viewpoints in present-day Athens evoke memories of the masters of art and architecture, philosophy and drama who once walked its streets and who have made such important contributions to Western civilization.
The Athens Centre, located near the Acropolis and other major archaeological sites of the city, is headquarters for the Penn State Athens program. Founded in 1969 as the Athens Centre for Creative Arts, this Greek non-profit organization sponsors academic and cultural activities. It schedules programs for Athens residents throughout the year in the fields of Greek Studies, fine arts and performing arts, and since 1977 has offered courses in Modern Greek language to foreigners living and working in Athens. In addition to its work with Penn State, the Centre cooperates with several other US colleges and universities. For more information about this program, please visit the Athens Centre website.
Bucknell and Penn State Universities collaborate to offer this 90-day interdisciplinary program and alternate faculty. In 2020, Professor Bastian Heinsohn, Bucknell University, will be the faculty leader and will teach multiple courses. All other courses will be taught in English by faculty and experts in Athens. Penn State students who successfully complete the Athens program and its prerequisites may be eligible to receive a minor in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS). The final field trip schedule for 2020 is to be determined but tentatively includes a variety of visits to sites and museums in Athens, Corinth, Olympia, Delphi and a trip to the Greek Islands.
Spring: 2020 dates are; February 5th to May 3rd. There is a spring break that will coincide with that of Penn State.
Program Leader Information
- In 2020, the program leader will be Bastian Heinsohn, Professor of German Studies and Film/Media Studies at Bucknell University.
- For Penn State-specific questions related to 2020 program, please contact Mark Munn, Professor of Ancient Greek History and Greek Archaeology (Penn State)
- Mark is a historian and archaeologist specializing in the political, military, and religious history of classical Greece, especially Athens. He is the author of The School of History: Athens in the Age of Socrates, and The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 BC, among other books and articles. He has excavated at ancient Corinth and at fortress sites in Attica. Since 1980 Mark has led many student groups in Greece, teaching for Stanford University and since 1999 for Penn State University, and has twice co-directed the Summer Sessions of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens with his wife, Mary Lou Munn.
Course Description(s)All students will be enrolled in 4 or 5 courses for 12 to 15 total credits. Two of the courses are required of all students and then students have the option of selecting 2 or 3 additional courses from the options listed below:
- Greece Today: Athens in Cinema - REQUIRED (3 credits, CAMS 499.1 / COMM 399.1 / ENGL 499.1) Bastian Heinsohn, Bucknell University
- This course explores the history of Athens through an analysis of films about the city and set in the city from the early years of filmmaking to the present. A key learning objective of this interdisciplinary course is to provide students with a deep understanding of how the depiction of urban spaces provide clues to understand the cinematic city as a mirror of socio-aesthetic and political trajectories taking Athens as its main subject of analysis. In this course, students will learn how the cinematic depiction of Athens informs us about fundamental developments in Greece in twentieth and twenty-first century Greece. Topics in this course include Athens during the prewar years of the 1920s and 1930s, Athens during Nazi occupation, early postwar Athens, Athens before and during the massive urban renewal process of the 1950s when the urban landscape changed significantly due to the emergence of multi-storied apartment complexes in nearly all centrally located Athens neighborhoods, Athens as a changing city since the 1970s, Athens during prosperous years leading up to hosting the Olympics in 2004 and Athens today between crisis and renewal. The course examines how Greek cinema addresses issues such as war and memory, trends in Greek popular culture, gender roles, immigration, multiculturalism, urban transition and globalization, the impact of the financial crisis, and Greece’s political position within Europe.
- Guest speakers will provide students with insights into the Greek film industry and day trips in and around Athens will take students to movie locations, film festivals, film archives, movie sets and behind the scenes of historic movie theatres' cinemas.
- Archaeology of Ancient Greece - REQUIRED - (3 credits, CAMS 499.2 / HIST 499 / ART HIST 499) Professor David Scahill, Athens Centre
- A survey of the major historical monuments and sites, from the prehistoric period to Classical times. In this course we visit key sites and museums in Attica, the Peloponnese, and central Greece to examine the art and archaeology of prehistoric and classical Greece in its original setting. Students will explore first-hand the celebrated monuments and masterpieces of the Minoan, Mycenaean and Greek civilizations and will study the changes from palatial Bronze Age society to the age of Greek city-states and its most important developments under Athenian democracy. As students acquaint themselves with the most influential landmarks in Greek art and architecture, they will take a critical and reflective look at their discoveries and re-evaluate the fundamental bases of Greek archaeology.
- Heroines and Heroes: Ancient Greek Tragedies on Stage and Screen- (3 credits, CAMS 499.3 / CMLIT 499 / COMM 399.2 / ENGL 499.2) Bastian Heinsohn, Bucknell University
- This course explores key works of ancient Greek theatre through text analyses, examinations of the plays within their specific historical contexts of Ancient Greece, and through modern adaptations on stage and in world cinema. Students will learn about the traditions of performing plays in the ancient city-state of Athens and beyond and investigate the significant impact of Greek tragedies and comedies on storytelling and performance in theatre and cinema today. Students will examine the rich cultural heritage of Ancient Greece and will explore Athens as the birthplace of theatre and performance. The course focuses on the analysis and discussion of six plays and examines the plays’ adaptations on the stage and in cinema today. Students will engage in additional plays and their context in written assignments and oral presentations. Guest speakers such as directors and actors will provide insights into staging the plays today and into the challenges and pleasures of playing the lead characters.
- Regular field trips to relevant sights in and around Athens will complement students’ comprehensive study of each play. The course will include a screening and discussion of the 1962 melodrama Phaedra by American director Jules Dassin, which is loosely based on Euripides’ play Hippolytus and stars Melina Mercouri and Hollywood actor Anthony Perkins in the leading roles. An overnight field trip to the beautiful island of Hydra, where the film is set, will be the program’s culminating experience.
- Athletics and Competition in Ancient Greek Society - (3 credits, CAMS 499.4 / KINES 499) Professor David Scahill, Athens Centre
- Exploring the emergence and evolution of athletic competitions and spectacles from the Bronze Age through Late Antiquity, this course draws on a variety of disciplines, from history and archaeology to modern sports studies. The course will examine the role of games and spectacles within broader social, political, religious, cultural, and intellectual contexts, as well as their significance in the daily lives of the ancients. In addition to classroom lectures and discussions, field trips to archaeological sites and museums (Olympia, Delphi, and others) will provide opportunities for interpretation of physical evidence.
- Culture and Issues in Contemporary Greece - All students participate, grade is optional - (3 credits, CAMS 199) Professor TBA
- In the context of major events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that continue to shape Greek life and culture, this course will expose students to the many issues Greeks are presently facing in relation to migration, economy, environment, tourism, and the urban/rural split. The course will be built around a an introduction to modern history followed by a series of guest lectures and field trips, as well as the opportunity for volunteer service with the refugee community. Events at the Athens Centre will also give students a taste of contemporary Greek culture as they sample Greek food, films and music.
- Second semester introductory ancient Greek - (3 credits, GREEK 199)
- Introduction to Ancient Greek, offered as needed by beginning or intermediate ancient Greek students.
- Advanced reading in ancient Greek - (3 credits, GREEK 499)
- Reading in Greek prose authors, offered as needed by advanced ancient Greek students.
Course SelectionStudents are required to take the prescribed courses listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for these courses. To determine how these courses will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses offered on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.
- Complete your Course Selection Questionnaire in the ‘Post-Decision’ section of your application to choose the courses you want from the program options.
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 12 credits and a maximum number of 15 credits
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Housing and Meals
Housing in Athens is coordinated by the Athens Centre staff. You will live in a private apartment a few blocks from classroom facilities, in the residential neighborhood of Pangrati, about a mile from the center of the city and from the Acropolis. The apartments are one-room spacious studios, furnished simply with two or three single beds, two or three desks and chairs, an eating table and chairs, kitchenette with fridge and stove, and a private bathroom. All the rooms have WiFi, air-conditioning, and an overhead fan.
While on field trips, you will be housed near the trip sites.
MealsYou will be responsible for providing your own meals. Grocery shops, bakeries, and other stores are in a nearby neighborhood.
Costs and Funding
Program CostsSpring Costs
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
ScholarshipsThe Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Students accepted to this program who are majoring or minoring in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies are eligible to apply to the Department of CAMS for travel subventions. Contact the Head of the Department of CAMS.
Student AidPenn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund PolicyWithdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
After CommitmentOnce a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
After the Start of the Program
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
General InformationStudying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
Accessibility ConsiderationsPenn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQA ConsiderationsThere are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
- LGBTQA Resource Center
- LGBTQA Resources for Study Abroad
- Education Abroad Guide for LGBTQA Travelers
- Education Abroad Guide for Women Travelers
Race, Ethnicity, and Faith ConsiderationsWhen choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
- Multicultural Resource Center
- Multicultural Offices by College
- Religious Diversity Abroad Guide
- Education Abroad Guide for Diversity and Study Abroad
Non-U.S. CitizensIt is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study AbroadThe planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to ApplyClick the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
DeadlinesYou must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education AbroadIf you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Peer AdvisersEducation Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad AdvisersEducation Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!
|Term||Year||App Deadline||Decision Date||Start Date||End Date|
|Spring||2020||09/10/2019 **||Rolling Admission||TBA||TBA|
|NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End dates marks departure from program housing.|
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.