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Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Athens, Greece

Program Description

We invite you to join us in an exploration of the world of the Ancient Greeks. Our program will consist of two main parts: half will be devoted to providing a broad overview of Ancient and Hellenistic Greek philosophy and history, and half will focus on more specific Ancient Greek philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. No background in any of these fields is necessary. All that’s required is your own intellectual curiosity about the Ancient World, as well as a desire to visit many of sites we’ll be discussing.

In addition to the time spent on the courses—classroom lectures and discussions, as well as group activities and site visits—we’ve also structured the program to allow you the freedom to explore on your own during our non-class periods. Though you will be spending some of this time reading and preparing for the classroom activities, there will also be opportunities for interacting with the locals, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach. As you’ll find, Greece has plenty to offer.

Now for a bit more on the academic side of the program. Each student will receive credit for two 3-credit courses: PHIL 101 (Introduction to Philosophy: Ancient Greek Puzzles and Paradoxes), and PHIL 240 (Greek Philosophy in Context). It may be possible to have one or both classes count towards requirements in other majors or programs (Classics, General Education, or the B.A. Philosophy requirement, for instance), but you’ll need to clear that with us first.

Professor Bolyard will cover the beginnings of philosophy and history of the Ancient world, and we’ll focus on some of the enduring questions of philosophy: What is real, and what is illusion? What is the proper goal of a good life? To what extent do we owe things to our country? In addition, we’ll read Hesiod and excerpts from one of the earliest historians, Herodotus.

Professor Goodman’s course will be a topical introduction to the study of philosophy, and the topics we’ll discuss will all center around, or at least be directly traceable back to, some puzzles and paradoxes first formulated by some ancient Greek thinkers. Is motion possible? Zeno’s Paradox suggests it isn’t! Must every statement be either true or false? Aristotle thought so, but the Liar Paradox suggests that cannot be! There cannot be two separate objects occupying the same space at the same time, right? Chrysippus' Puzzle seems to show otherwise! We’ll not only be thinking about what the Ancients had to say about interesting questions such as these concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, and how language works, but how certain contemporary philosophers go about trying to resolve these issues.

Instructional methods include lectures, guided tours, journal assignments and/or papers, quizzes, presentations, and exams. Students will enroll in both classes for a total of 6 credit hours. Students should be in relatively good physical shape, since we will be visiting many ancient sites that require walking on uneven ground up steep hills. Students should also be able to swim.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We’d be excited to tell you more about our program!

Click here to read program FAQs.

Location Description

Our program will have four main locations, and we will spend about six days at each of them. The first three will be the beautiful islands of Rhodes, Crete, and Santorini, and we will have time to experience modern Greek life as well as visiting some of the most important historical sites on each. In Rhodes, we will visit the reconstructed ancient site of Lindos, and we'll also take a day trip to the nearby island of Symi. In Crete, we will explore the famous Mycenaen site of Knossos. On Santorini, the town of Akrotiri, buried by volcanic ash millennia ago, will be the highlight. The last location will be Athens, where we will visit such iconic sites as the Acropolis, the Agora, and the ancient ruins of Plato's Academy. We will finish with a day trip to the beautiful mountain site of Delphi, home to the famous Oracle. In addition to some boat trips along the shorelines, there will also be a free day at each location to allow you the opportunity to explore these wonderful places with the other program participants.


Chip Bolyard | | Philosophy & Religion

Jeffrey Goodman | | Philosophy & Religion


We will stay in hotels throughout the program, and they will be in walking distance to restaurants and shops. We try to get hotels that have water views or are in close proximity to beaches or pools on the islands. Most students will be in shared double rooms, though we sometimes will have a triple room if student numbers require it. All hotels will have internet access, but it can be spotty at times. If you have an international plan on your phone, you can get internet access that way as well.

All breakfasts will be provided at our hotels, we will have occasional group meals, and students will receive a stipend every five days to be used for the other meals.

Additional Items to Consider

The EU is introducing a new visa requirement for Summer 2024, but it can be done online before departure.

Cell phone service will be available just about everywhere for those who have international plans.

All students should apply for or renew passports as early as possible, since the wait times can be many months at times.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Open to all majors and class levels.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)

PHIL 240: Greek Philosophy in Context (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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