Ancient Studies

These words have been read for millennia, but how – and why – do we still engage critically with some of the most ancient thinkers? It is fitting that one of the oldest Program Communities bridges the gap between antiquity and modernity through an interdisciplinary approach set in an intimate community. Resident Advisors and Graduate Associates (RAGAs) and residents in the Ancient Studies PC collaborate on activities that include trips to relevant museum exhibits and Penn and in the Philadelphia area, discussions with professors and notable figures in ancient studies, and weekly themed social events. These events and activities are shaped by residents’ interests each year and encompass exploration of ancient cultures, politics, philosophy, performance, etc. This program is well-suited for the student who takes initiative, is dedicated to the mission of residential programming, and is seeking intellectual and personal growth.

Floor: 14, GA-led

Program Goals: The Program provides an intellectual and social space for students who wish to interact both broadly and deeply with the art, languages, literature, and philosophies from ancient times. 

Participant Expectations: The Program RAGAs will share a year (or semester) long theme at the beginning of the academic year. Residents will have a chance to share their inputs on the kinds of activities they would like to participate in. This can range from visiting museums, watching movies or documentaries, craft activities, or a day-long trip to NYC/DC. Residents will work with their GAs to participate in the following:

  • 1 major event per semester
  • 1 minor event per month

Examples of Past Events:

  • Spring 2020:
    • Day trip to NYC or DC museums
    • Movie nights (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner and Rashomon)
  • Fall 2019:
    • "Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day" : a day-long celebration with a talk, a tour, and a trip to PowWow
    • Ancient Studies Calligraphy night
    • Visiting various museums in Philadelphia
  • Spring 2019:
    • Movie nights (Cleopatra and Hero)
    • Pop-up exhibit with the Penn Museum Library showing rare books and objects 
    • "On History of Yoga as You Do-It-Yourself"
  • Fall 2018:
    • Halloween-themed evening at the Penn Museum
    • "Reading Kamasutra? Better Watch It!" - documentary showing on the ancient text 
    • Visiting various museums in Philadelphia 

To apply:

If you are applying to a Program Community, determine if you would like to request a roommate, but keep in mind that your roommate must also be accepted to the Program Community.


Students of any gender can be roommates if they all elect to be in Gender-Neutral Housing.


For more detailed information on the Program Community application and process please visit


Please note that all applicants are required to respond to the following questions in an essay using a maximum of 500 words:

        Why are you interested in joining this Program Community?

        What would your involvement bring to this program’s overall experience?

        How have you participated in your current House community?

Applications will be reviewed by Harnwell Senior Staff and RAGAs affiliated with the Ancient Studies Program. In order for an application to be seriously considered, it is highly encouraged that the essay reflects the uniqueness of the Program. If needed, Harnwell Senior Staff and RAGAs reserve the right to reach out to applicants clarifying room requests and additional concerns.

Contact:, please include "Ancient Studies" in the subject header.