The Graduate Institute in Liberal Education





The 2015 Summer Greek Institute has been cancelled. Check back in the Fall for the 2016 Summer Institutes!


Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος

“Wrath! Sing the wrath, goddess, of Peleus’s son Achilles…”

Just as Helen's face launched a thousand ships, this opening line of the Iliad launches its readers into a world both distant and familiar: the world of the Trojan War and its aftermath, as portrayed by Homer. The St. John's College Summer Greek Institute aims to guide its participants on a journey deep into Homer's world, first by developing proficiency in Homeric Greek, and then by applying their newly developed proficiency to a study in Greek of the Iliad and its enduring themes.


What is the Summer Greek Institute?


This is a rigorous but rewarding 9-week program, open to anyone with a genuine and dedicated interest. The program consists of two parts:

The first half will be an accelerated course in Homeric Greek. This part of the course will consist of grammar lessons as well as extensive drills, exercises, and quizzes. Greek language experience is helpful, but not required. There will also be opportunities for students interested in auditory approaches that complement more customary ways of learning an ancient language – an emphasis that makes sense for a poem that was traditionally sung, as its opening line suggests. By the start of the second week, students will begin translating actual selections from the Iliad, with the selections increasing in frequency, size, and difficulty as the course advances.

The second half will focus on the works of Homer. After acquiring the rudiments of Homeric Greek, students will spend the remaining weeks on a careful reading of selections from the Iliad and the Odyssey. As students translate the text and continue to develop their proficiency with Homer's language, seminar-style classroom discussions will help them explore in greater depth the Iliad's literary and philosophical qualities. Thus, the hard work with Homer's language will be increasingly rewarded by primary access to the treasures of Homer’s poetry itself.

By the end of the class, successful students will have acquired a solid foundation in Ancient Greek, equivalent to at least one year's college-level study. This serves as excellent preparation for graduate school comprehensive exams as well as for future reading of the original works of other Ancient Greek authors.

The Summer Greek Institute is a 9-week “accelerated” program, not an “intensive” one. Intensive language programs across the country are known for their high attrition rate and extreme stress. St. John’s College believes that a reasonable, humane pace in an engaging environment is more conducive to real thought and an overall successful learning experience than a hurried attempt to “just get through it.” The extra week in this summer’s program is meant to facilitate this healthier pace. That said, the program will still require a great deal of dedication and hard work, as one might expect of any attempt to learn over a year’s worth of an ancient language in a single summer.

Who teaches the Summer Greek Institute?

Classes are taught by full-time St. John’s College faculty with extensive experience teaching Greek. Additionally, a teaching assistant will work closely with students to support the classwork.

The first four weeks of class will be taught by Llyd Wells. Mr. Wells is an experienced instructor of classical Greek and has taught at the Summer Greek Institute since its inception. He has also worked extensively with students on Plato's Meno, Euripides's Bacchae, and Sophocles's Oedipus Tyrannos. Mr. Wells’s love of ancient languages is long-standing; as an undergraduate he majored in Assyriology with a focus on Old Akkadian texts. He also holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography.

The final four weeks will be taught by Alan Zeitlin. This will be Mr. Zeitlin’s second year teaching the Summer Greek Institute. Mr. Zeitlin holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a degree in Law from Boalt Hall. He has taught numerous classes in Ancient Greek, ranging from beginning to advanced, at Berkeley, Bard College, and St. John's College. His special interests are Homer and Ancient Comedy. A middle fifth week will be co-taught by both Mr. Wells and Mr. Zeitlin.

Who can apply?

The Summer Greek Institute is open to any person with a high school diploma or beyond who demonstrates a genuine interest in the proposed course of study. Because it is an accelerated, full-time course, St. John’s graduate students taking classes in the summer will not be able to participate (the Summer Greek Institute schedule runs parallel to the College’s two graduate programs during the summer semester.)

What is the class schedule?

Days and Times: Monday through Friday: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, with a 90-minute lunch break. These times are subject to minor changes. Wednesdays will be a half day to allow for extra study time, as well as to provide an opportunity to attend the College’s summer lecture series, for those interested. In addition to the approximately 25 hours of class time per week, students should plan on an equivalent amount of preparation time outside of class, memorizing vocabulary and paradigms and working on translation exercises.

Primary Text: Homeric Greek 4th edition, Edited by Pharr, Wright, and Debnar. Copies are available for purchase in the St. John’s College Bookstore. Prior editions of this text are not acceptable.

NOTE: Participants are asked to review English syntax and memorize the Greek alphabet before the first day of class. They are also encouraged to read Book One of the Iliad in translation before their arrival. Other preliminary study material and exercises may be sent out prior to the start of the course.

What are the costs?

The cost of tuition is $2980. A non-refundable deposit of $250 is due after your application has been accepted. Deposits will be credited toward your tuition payment.

Is on-campus housing available?

Yes, but there is limited availability. If you are interested in living on-campus, let us know as soon as possible. Living on campus is a way to ensure that you devote adequate time and energy to the demands of the Summer Greek Institute. Because the dormitories do not have kitchens, housing packages include a meal plan. Housing costs are between $2,660 and $3,315 for 9 weeks, depending on the meal plan you select.

Is financial aid available?

The Summer Greek Institute is currently not-for-credit; therefore, financial aid is not available at this time.

How do I apply?

Download the application here.

Admissions are rolling; we accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage you to apply as soon as you can, as the class size caps at sixteen students.

Tuition deposits are expected two weeks after your acceptance to the program. You are not enrolled in the Summer Greek Institute until you have paid a non-refundable $250 deposit to hold your spot. We accept checks and credit card payments.

If paying by check, please make checks payable to St. John’s College.

     Summer Greek Institute
     St. John’s College Graduate Institute
     1160 Camino Cruz Blanca
     Santa Fe, NM 87505-4599

Important Dates

The Summer Greek Institute runs June 8 to August 6, 2015 (9 weeks).
Early submission is strongly encouraged; the program is limited to 16 participants.

March 15, 2015 is the preferred date of the tuition deposit.

April 15, 2015 is the preferred date of your on-campus housing payment.

May 15, 2015 is the preferred date of the tuition payment.

Withdrawal Dates and Fees: Participants who withdraw from the Summer Greek Institute within the first week will be reimbursed 75% of their tuition; within the second week, 50%; within the third week, 25%. Participants who withdraw during or after the fourth week of classes will receive no reimbursement.


For more information, contact the Summer Greek Institute by email or phone: