Ancient Studies

“And what is still far stranger than that is that not only does one branch of knowledge come to be in us while another passes away and that we are never the same even in respect of our knowledge, but that each single piece of knowledge has the same fate. For what we call studying exists because knowledge is leaving us, because forgetting is the departure of knowledge, while studying puts back a fresh memory in place of what went away, thereby preserving a piece of knowledge, so that it seems to be the same.”

– The Symposium

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.

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. At the conclusion of the academic year, residents will have developed their critical thinking skills, taken on leadership roles, and engaged with these topics through an interdisciplinary model.

Participant Expectations: The Program RAGAs will review details and activities at the beginning of the academic year, where residents will receive their Ancient Studies Compact. Residents will be expected to participate in the following, as decided by the RAGAs:

  • 1 major event per month
  • 1 minor event per month
  • Implement 1 minor floor event as determined by the RAGAs
  • Host 1 House program per semester

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.


Log on to MyHomeAtPenn between January 24, 9:00 a.m., and January 28, 1:00 p.m., to submit your application.

For more detailed information on the Program Community application and process please visit this page on the Residential Services website or plan to attend our Information Session on Tuesday, January 16 at 9:00 PM in McClelland South Lounge. 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.