Overview of the Program
New first-year members take part in the orientation program at the opening of the School year in September. Additionally, Members have the opportunity to learn modern Greek in structured lessons. The Academic year runs from early September to the end of May and is divided into three terms, Fall, Winter and Spring. Regular members are expected to be in Greece throughout the academic year, except for the holiday break around New Years. For security and emergency purposes, Regular Members must inform the Assistant Director if they plan to leave Athens for the weekend or for a longer trip. In addition, members must seek approval in advance from the Mellon Professor for such absences. Students pursuing the Regular Program will not have much free time to prepare for PhD examinations or to work extensively on a dissertation during the fall and winter. The spring term, however, can allow students time for independent research.
For the 2023-2024 Academic Year, there will be five major School trips (I-V) lasting between 11-14 days. The Mellon Professor leads Trip I to Northern and Western Greece. The Director of the School leads Trip II to the Deep (southern and western) Peloponnese. For Trip III, the Mellon Professor leads the trip focused on central Greece. Trip IV will go to Crete and be led by the Mellon Professor and Assistant Director. In early spring, the last major required trip of the year, students go to the Argolid and Corinthia, led by Dr. Christopher Pfaff, Director of Corinth Excavations for Trip V.For information about eligibility and the application process, click here.
Fall Term (September–November)
Regular Members are required to participate in the School’s five extensive trips, which offer intensive introductions to the sites, monuments, museums and topography of Greece. These trips take students by bus, boat, and foot, in all weather, to sites and museums throughout Greece. The sequence and itineraries of the trips may vary from year to year, but normally include Central Greece, Northern Greece, Western Greece, Crete, and the Peloponnese.
The trips are demanding physically, socially, and academically. Members will be in a group setting nearly all day every day on the trips and will visit a very large number of sites and museums. A day’s activities often require long walks over rough terrain under challenging weather conditions. On every trip, each participant will give one oral report (with an accompanying handout) on an assigned topic that will be researched using the resources of the Blegen Library, ASCSA Archives, and other facilities between trips. These reports should be informative, detailed, specific and focused on the material evidence that we are seeing first-hand while in Greece. The preparation and delivery of these reports has often proved valuable in members’ development as scholars and teachers, and members are expected to put a good amount of effort into preparation and presentation of each report.
Winter Term (November–March)
This term is devoted to the study of sites and monuments of Athens and Attica, seminars offered by School staff, and independent research. Students are required to participate in the course 'Topography and Monuments of Athens and Attica.' This course meets at sites and museums in Athens two mornings a week, while a third day is given over to trips at sites in Attica, including Marathon, Rhamnous, Sounion, and Eleusis. The winter term also may include trips to the Saronic Gulf, Euboea, and other notable sites/areas.
Regular Members normally attend one of the Whitehead Distinguished Scholar seminars and the Wiener Laboratory offerings in archaeological science. They may elect to participate in other mini-seminars, courses, and workshops offered by School staff. The seminar themes will be announced in spring 2023.
Spring Term (mid-March–June 1)
The Spring term is less structured and designed for training in archaeological field work, independent study, and travel. Central to the spring term are the training sessions at the American School’s excavations in Ancient Corinth from April to June. Regular members have the opportunity to participate in the archaeological training program at ancient Corinth doing excavation and/or museum-based research. The three-week training sessions are intended to introduce members to the methods and techniques of archaeological fieldwork. After the training sessions, some members may be invited to excavate a full season at Corinth. Others may choose to use the time to conduct a significant amount of research and writing, such as a chapter of a dissertation (to be submitted to the Mellon Professor). In addition, optional trips outside of Greece are often organized by the School and led by School faculty. In the past, the School has visited Ionia, central Turkey, and Southern Italy. Participants in the optional trips give oral reports and prepare handouts, as with the major School trips Regular Members will submit an outline of their proposed activities to the Mellon Professor for the spring by March 1st.
Structure and Program Accessibility
The Regular Year Academic Program is a unique learning experience for advanced graduate students that takes place over the course of nine months (September through May) in Greece. The program can be physically and socially challenging, and it is important to be aware of conditions that may factor into your planning. Participants engage with the material culture of a wide-range of historical periods, together with a tight-knit group of student colleagues, taking place in a wide array of learning environments. Accessing some sites may involve stairs and/or ladders and some additionally might require navigating narrow walkways. Other conditions, such as dust, pollution, stray cats and dogs, grazing animals, pollen/wildflowers and smoke may aggravate allergies and/or lung conditions. Some sites are in loud, noisy touristic areas. A typical day will involve some hours of seated bus travel, touring and hiking to an archaeological site, possibly up to an hour, and standing or casual sitting for reports most often outdoors. Some sites will be of more interest than others to different people, but it is important for the group to adhere as much as possible to the well-planned schedule each day. Forewarning about daily conditions and expectations will be given, and accommodations will be made whenever possible, but trip details, like the weather, can change unexpectedly.
Travel and site visits bring members into close daily contact with one another. The major trips throughout Greece last about 10-12 days and involve group travel by a chartered bus moving from city to city, staying in shared hotel rooms (usually two- and three-stars). Trips typically have 20-25 participants. Roommates are assigned by the trip leader, after consulting participants for preferences. Because the overnight stays during the major trips are often in different cities, it is a great challenge for someone to stay behind and meet up again with the group. Elevators in the hotels are normally small and, on occasion, do not work, so carrying luggage to your room may be necessary. All hotels provide breakfast. Lunch and evening meals on the trips are most often planned and paid for by each participant, and range from fast food and casual picnics, to shared taverna meals and restaurants. Budgets vary but recent members report 30 Euro per day. Hotels do not provide cooking facilities, and because of the shared living arrangements, it is not best practice to eat full meals in hotel bedrooms or on the bus. Travelers on the bus may snack on food others do not particularly like and so communication, tolerance, and respect for each other is vital.
During the major trips, participants require gear for a variety of weather conditions (from very hot to cold and wet). Hats, sunscreen, umbrellas, and appropriate footwear are necessary because it is not always possible to find shade or clear skies when visiting scheduled sites and it is not possible to return in better weather. A communal first-aid kit is on the bus, but allergy, travel sickness medicine and other items that might be needed should be brought individually. Pharmacies are ever present in Greece, but their holdings can differ from North America. Well-known sites and museums, such as Olympia and Delphi, are visited intensively, but the Academic Program highly values the opportunities to visit sites and learn about less well-known, not easily accessible and/or unexplored sites. The trips may involve hiking uphill over varied terrain, such as gravel paths or steep and uneven mountain slopes. Finding restrooms for comfort stops is a priority but some areas of Greece, especially in the off-season and with Covid limitations, are not well-equipped or always open. Laundry facilities are very rarely available while on the major trips. Internet connectivity in the hotels can be unreliable, so scheduling long calls and meetings is not recommended during the trips. While based in Athens, members live in their own rooms in Loring Hall and can find more time to separate from the group, but meals in Loring Hall are shared and learning experiences are mainly with the entire group.
A typical day on a Fall Trip for the Regular Member Program:
7 am – hotel wake up, breakfast, pack, get supplies for the day (water, snacks/fruit, picnic lunch)
7:50 am – hotel checkout, load luggage, board bus with the group. Masks are worn on the bus.
8:30 am – arrive first site/museum. Perhaps 30-minute site report and discussion. Time for exploration, restrooms, coffee
10 am – depart for second site/museum
1 pm – stop for road-side picnic lunch
1:30 pm – drive to afternoon sites/museums. More site reports, perhaps an afternoon hike (1.5-2 hours) to access a site, such as Panopeus or Orchomenos kastro, and perhaps time for a swim.
5:30 pm – drive to new hotel
6:30 pm – group check-in, roommate assignments. Free until the next morning.
Estimated daily expenses: coffee/drink, snacks, fruit, lunch = 15 Euro; dinner = 10-25 Euro; drinks = 5 Euro
Navigating Your Graduate Program While Attending the Regular Member Program
While attending the Regular Member Program, the schedule is very structured and during the fall and winter students will not have much time to expensively work on a dissertation. However, the spring term does allow for independent research. The spring term (mid-March to June 1) is less structured and designed for training in archaeological field work, independent study, and/or travel, thus allowing for advancement on the dissertation. Overall, the Regular Member Program builds participants’ knowledge about ancient to modern Greece, increasing the depth and breadth of knowledge.
Most graduate programs will allow students to study off campus for an academic year, but students may need to obtain permission from a Graduate Director or Chair of their program. The student’s department or institute may require additional paperwork to gain permission to study off campus. Students should consult with their advisor on the process.
Some students have the option to take a one year leave of absence from their graduate program to attend the Regular Member Program. This option will usually “stop the clock to completion” of their degree. In this case, sometimes institutes will not continue to provide health insurance for students. Health insurance is necessary in order to obtain a visa for study to attend the Regular Member Program. Health insurance packages that satisfy the visa requirement can be purchased at relatively low expense.
Students who would like to purchase health insurance have two options:
- Purchase a Greek health insurance plan. Such plans can cost between 80 euros to 800 euros per year. If you are interested in purchasing a Greek health insurance plan, please contact the Assistant Director of the School (email@example.com). It is advisable for applicants for a visa to confirm with the Consulates of their region that Greek coverage will be accepted.
- Purchase an international health/travel insurance plan online. Past members have used various companies such as CISI, Chubb, GeoBlue, IMG, Seven Corners, Tokio Marine/World Trips, etc. Such plans can cost anywhere between $460 to $1,080 for the academic year. More inclusive plans could cost up to $2,627 a year.
To see more about the requirements for health insurance in order to obtain the study visa, link here.
Up to twelve fellowships are available for the School’s Regular Members. All awards are made on the recommendation of the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships and are based on the results of the anonymous qualifying examinations and materials submitted with the application. Fellowships provide a stipend of $11,500 plus room and board at Loring Hall on the School grounds and waiver of School fees. Regular Member fellowships are awarded for the entire nine-month program. For more about School fees, visit the School Fees and Expenses page.
Fellowships include the Heinrich Schliemann and the John Williams White Fellowships in archaeology (traditionally named on the basis of performance on the art and archaeology examination), the Thomas Day Seymour Fellowship in history and literature (whose selection reflects performance on combined scores on the history and literature examinations), and nine Fellowships unrestricted as to field — the Virginia Grace, the Michael Jameson, the Philip Lockhart, the Lucy Shoe Meritt, the Fowler Merle-Smith, the Martin Ostwald, and the James Rignall Wheeler. The Bert Hodge Hill is unrestricted, but with a preference for a student in art history, and the Emily Townsend Vermeule is unrestricted, but with a preference for Bronze Age archaeology.
ASCSA Regular Membership cannot be held in conjunction with a US Student Fulbright Grant. Students who take up a US Student Fulbright Grant must seek Associate Membership at the ASCSA. Please click here for information about the Fulbright grant.