The University of Iowa

Classics and Ancient Civilization

The study of the classical world—rich with history, language, and a vibrant modern legacy—almost begs its pupils to study abroad. There is no replacement for first-hand experience in places that have become so important to world history. Whether by means of study in one of many fine institutions throughout the classical world’s traditional heart in Greece and Italy, or in the many other parts of Europe and the Mediterranean influenced by its wide cultural span, students will discover a great deal of academic and personal enrichment.

To aid you in coordinating study abroad with your major requirements, this page offers advice about when to study abroad (see the "Timing" tab), how to fulfill

academic requirements abroad (see "Academics"), and how to choose a study abroad program best suited to your needs (see "Programs"). 

Various scholarships are available for UI students planning to study abroad. Information about these scholarships is available on the scholarships web page. Additionally, undergraduate majors in Classical Languages or Ancient Civilization are eligible to apply for departmental awards for study or archaeological work abroad, including the Howard and Fotini Perlmutter Prize. For information about departmental awards, consult with a faculty advisor in the Classics Department.

Florence, Italy

For many students in the Classical Languages or Ancient Civilization majors, their third year is the most opportune time to study abroad. This is partially due to the structure of the major requirements and partially due to the fact that few students declare these majors before their second year.

The Classical Languages major is demanding in terms of language study. Students typically need at least 3 years to complete the required Greek and Latin language tracks. Therefore it may be difficult for students to stay on track if they intend to study abroad during the academic year and do not include language study in their overseas plans. This is especially true for Classical Languages majors, whose course outline is more strictly structured than that of Ancient Civilization majors. Both Classical Languages and Ancient Civilization majors are encouraged to complete language study abroad at any time.

If you feel you do not have time to study abroad during the academic year, studying abroad during the summer is also an option. The "Programs" tab of this webpage lists a few summer programs relevant to Classics students alongside semester and year-long programs. If you are interested in completing some of your course requirements during the summer, consult with a faculty advisor in your department about which courses are typically offered during summer sessions. They will be able to help you decide if you can take enough summer coursework to manage studying abroad during the academic year.

There are many opportunities for you to earn major, general education, and/or elective credit while abroad. Just be sure to consult with your advisors about which overseas courses will transfer for credit upon your return. Also, be sure to fill out a Credit Approval Form (available in the Study Abroad Office) and return it to your Study Abroad Advisor by the indicated deadline.

Classical Languages/Ancient Civilization Majors Requirements

The Classical Languages and Ancient Civilization majors cover a variety of subject areas including languages, literature, history, philosophy, art, archaeology, and religion—there are a lot of courses you can take abroad that will be relevant to your major.

Before you enroll in courses abroad, familiarize yourself with your major requirements (see links above) and consult with a faculty advisor to discuss whether or not the overseas courses you are interested in taking can be used to fulfill any of them. Overseas course substitutions are evaluated by the Classics Department on a case-by-case basis. In general, you are encouraged look for overseas equivalents that incorporate language study and focus on the culture and history of the area you are traveling to.

It is highly recommended that you take classical languages courses while abroad. Just be sure the language courses you enroll in are the appropriate language level. Consult with a faculty advisor in the Classics Department for assistance with finding the correct placement.

Classical Languages majors should keep in mind that their Greek/Latin prose composition requirement must be fulfilled at the UI, and that Greek and Latin prose composition are offered in alternating years. In other words, be sure you're on campus the year the composition course you want to take is offered.

General Education Requirements

Some of your General Education Requirements can be fulfilled abroad. For more information, see Study Abroad's General Education Advising Page

Venice, Italy

Classical Languages majors should be aware of the demanding language study their degree requires and plan study abroad accordingly. If you plan to study abroad during the academic year and language study (in Greek or Latin) is not available in your chosen study abroad program, it may be difficult for you to stay on track.

Classical Languages and Ancient Civilization majors are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs that incorporate language study and focus on the culture and history of the area.

While we suggest you look at these recommended programs first, feel free to search for programs via our online database, explore another online directory of study abroad programs, and/or consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room (located at 1111 University Capitol Centre).


American College of Thessaloniki

Participants directly enroll in the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) with both local and international students. You can enroll for a semester, the academic year, or for a 4-week summer session. Several courses relevant to Classics students are offered, including Greek history and culture courses (focusing on both ancient and modern Greece). Introductory Greek and Spanish language courses are also typically offered. Current course offerings are listed on ACT's website. All courses (except language courses) are taught in English.

Archaeological Fieldwork in Sicily

This is a 5-week summer fieldwork course at the Greco-Roman site of Gangivecchio in Sicily. The site is centered on a 14th-century Benedictine Abbey, now the home of the Tornabene family, which sits on a Greco-Roman site, possibly dating from the Greek colonial period (7th to 6th centuries B.C.). Led by UI faculty, program participants learn excavation methods while helping to uncover structural elements of a Roman villa.

IES Rome, “From Pontius Pilate to Theodosius: The Advent of Christianity”

This is a 4-week program offered in January. Participants take one course, “From Pontius Pilate to Theodosius: The Advent of Christianity,” which is taught in English at the IES Abroad Rome Center. The program incorporates several course-related excursions to sites in and around Rome, e.g. the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and the Arch of Constantine. For a detailed course description, see the program website. Please note this program is recommended for students NOT intending to enroll in courses at the University of Iowa during the spring semester.


Archaeology in Israel

Students participate in archaeological field research during this six-week summer program in Biblical Tel Azekah. Participants earn six credits: three for CLSA 4501 “Archaeological Methodology and Field Research” and three for CLSA 4502 “Archaeology and The History of Judea.” This program is led by UI faculty. Local excursions and activities are included in the program cost.