Classical Studies

Summer ~ Semester ~ Academic Year

The civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome achieved exceptional heights of intellectual activity, social organization, and world power. Not only did they provide the foundation for many of the current political, social, and cultural institutions of the Western world, the legacy of their cultures has shaped centuries of humanist philosophy and learning. In this program students will draw on the classical environment of Rome to explore various facets of the entire era of Greco-Roman civilization, including archeology, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, religion, and theater. Students with no previous instruction in the classics or classical languages can enroll in this program as an introduction to classical civilization. Majors or minors in classics, Latin, Greek, or other classical areas can study the original languages at any level, or texts and materials in the original language.

The program supports interaction and dialogue between Lexia participants and Italian faculty and students whenever possible by organizing social and academic events with Italian and other foreign students and encourages participation in Italian community events, institutions, and family life. In addition, organized excursions contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of the civilization of ancient Rome and its influence on Rome today.

No prior knowledge of Italian is required, as most coursework is in English. Language instruction during the first month of the program is taught intensively to help students develop the language skills and confidence to live and study in, and integrate themselves into, the Italian community. During the latter part of the program, some classes and excursions are conducted in Italian at a level intended to enhance vocabulary and idiom usage.


"I have become more of an independent person since I have been in Rome. I have also become more open-minded and understanding of different cultures."


Program Options

Students on the Lexia Rome Classical Studies program can choose whether to study abroad for a five-week summer term, a semester, or the academic year. When deciding how long to study abroad, students should consult their academic advisor, financial aid counselor, study abroad office and their family. Lexia staff can assist students with this decision. A list of courses and course descriptions can be found below:


Summer Program

Students on the Lexia Rome Classical Studies summer program take two courses for a total of 8 semester credits or 12 quarter credits. 

  • Classical Civilization Seminar
  • Italian Language Course


Semester Program

Students on the Lexia Rome Classical Studies semester program take four courses for a total of 16 semester credits or 24 quarter credits. 

  • Classical Civilization Seminar
  • Italian Language Course
  • Research Methods Seminar
  • Field Research Project 


Academic Year

Students on the Lexia Rome Classical Studies academic year program take eight courses during two semesters for a total of 32 semester credits or 48 quarter credits. 

Students on academic year programs complete the regular semester program described above during the first semester. In the second semester, students continue language training and their Field Research Project and choose two Elective Courses to complete their academic program. Key to a second semester in Rome is designing a program of study that immerses the student in the local culture via language study, internship or volunteer experiences, course work, and independent study and projects. Students are also encouraged to consider spending the spring semester at a different Lexia site, conducting a comparative or complementary Field Research Project. 

Semester 1

  • Classical Civilization Seminar
  • Italian Language Course
  • Research Methods Seminar
  • Field Research Project

Semester 2

  • Field Research Project
  • Italian Language Course
  • Elective Course 1
  • Elective Course 2



Classical Civilization Seminar (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The Classical Civilization Seminar encompasses the entire era and range of Greco-Roman civilization as well as material on the early Christian period as an extension of the ancient, classical world.  The seminar will include numerous visits and excursions to classical sites.  Briefings, preparatory and synthesis lectures, and extensive reading of contemporary literature will complement the visits, excursions, and lectures. Secondary interpretations will be integrated into the curriculum in addition to the primary readings.  Latin and Greek majors or minors can read the selections from contemporary literature in the original.


Italian Language Course (Four semester/six quarter credits)

Italian language courses are taught at the elementary, intermediate, or advanced levels at the Istituto Italiano with other international students.

Note:  It is possible to substitute 30 hours of Ancient Greek or Latin for 30 hours of Italian instruction.  These courses are offered as Special Topics courses or tutorials.  Please contact Lexia in advance of your participation if you are interested in this option.


Research Methods Seminar (Four semester/six quarter credits)

This seminar teaches a range of methods for engaging in sustained, original inquiry in the field and sets the framework for developing rigorous, individual projects. By exposing the students to the diverse environments of Rome and Italy, this course encourages students to examine and revise their ideas of Italian culture. By extension, students begin to question their own sense of self and to explore the culturally embedded nature of identities in general.

The course introduces a variety of research skills, methodologies and techniques including reading, listening, observing, choosing, questioning, summarizing, organizing, writing, presenting, and reflecting. A variety of techniques for collecting and analyzing data will also be examined.

Rome offers students a myriad of visual and cultural encounters, from architecture to the collections of images housed in museums, to the fascinating, often fleeting exchanges on every street corner and subway ride. Through a series of visual and writing exercises, students explore language ability, visual skills, ethical issues, theorizing about experience, and how to synthesize field knowledge into original work and/or formal academic writing.


Field Research Project (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The Field Research Project offers students the opportunity to pursue an independent, self-designed project in a specialized field of interest. A faculty member, professional, artist, architect, or other mentor serves as advisor for the project, meeting periodically with the student to provide necessary supervision and support. For academic year students, one topic may be explored in-depth throughout the academic year or different topics may be chosen each semester. Students are encouraged to use their language skills and knowledge of the local culture and subject matter to investigate their selected topic(s).

The range of potential projects is wide – from public culture and fine arts to urban life and business. The final product can take a variety of forms, but must express a rigorous, sustained inquiry into the chosen topic and demonstrate the student’s ability to engage with the resources available in Rome. Projects might range from a 20-25 page paper or summary of laboratory work to a collection of short stories or personal essays, dance performance, photo essay, or other project.

Students spend a minimum of 60 hours per semester conducting research for their project, meeting for a minimum of eight hours with their advisor and/or the Resident Director. A week at the end of each semester is planned for the synthesis of the students’ findings, writing, or other work, followed by the presentation and discussion of the projects in the group.

Grades for the Field Research Project are based on the required paper or project, meetings with the advisor and the final presentation. The faculty advisor and the Resident Director make final grade assessments. The final project must be submitted before departure from Rome. Late projects are not accepted.

Past projects have included:

  • Roman Civilization: Three Influences
  • A Study of Roman Funeral Inscriptions
  • Restoration of Classical Monuments
  • Life in the Forums


Dates & Deadlines

Coming soon!


Apartments: Students live in shared apartments within commuting distance of the teaching facilities.  Apartments are equipped with the essentials, including cooking utensils and linens.

Homestays: Students live in family homestays within commuting distance of the teaching facilities. Students should be aware that the "traditional" family (two parents, children under 18) is a rarity in Rome; they may be placed with an older couple, single person, or in other family configurations. Whether in single or double rooms, students share clean, safe accommodations.



The program fee covers all Lexia excursions, which are designed to help students discover areas and aspects of culture that are typically less easily accessible to tourists and give a broad representation of the breadth of Italian culture and its people. Excursions outside of Rome may include some of the following:

Florence: Capital of Tuscany and birthplace of the Renaissance; Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David in the Accademia Gallery

Venice: St. Mark’s Cathedral; Peggy Guggenheim Collection; Murano glass on the island of Murano

Verona: Pink marble Roman Arena; Romeo’s Juliet’s House; wine tasting

Cinque Terre: Five fishing villages on the Italian Riviera

Orvieto: Hilltop town in southern Tuscany; Orvieto Cathedral; Orvieto Underground caves

Padua: Italy’s second oldest university; Padua Cathedral


Integrated into some of the courses, excursions in and around Rome are an essential part of the Lexia program. These field trips can include:

  • The Vatican and Vatican Museum
  • The Coliseum
  • San Giovanni in Laterano
  • Roman Forum
  • St. Paul Outside the Walls
  • The Catacombs of San Callisto
  • Santa Constanza
  • Villa Giulia
  • Museo Borghese

In addition, Lexia Rome students participate in joint visits and seminars with other Lexia program sites. Students visit one or more of the other sites for several days, meet other Lexia students in seminars and excursions to places such as Venice and compare their experiences as a way to further explore Italian culture and the role of European identity.

The Lexia staff assists students in adjusting to and interacting with the local culture.  Students are encouraged to attend extracurricular events and to become involved in volunteer activities during the program. Students with particular extracurricular interests should alert the Resident Director once abroad, so that they may help the student become involved. The program staff may also inform students of additional cultural events and independent travel opportunities available.



Semester: $16,950
Tuition: $13,150
Housing: $3,800

Academic Year: $31,550
Tuition: $23,950
Housing: $7,600

Summer: $6,495
Tuition: $4,595
Housing: $1,900


Program Fees Include:

  • On-Site Orientation (2-4 days)
  • All Tuition and Fees
  • All Scheduled Program Excursions
  • Housing Costs
  • Services of Lexia Resident Director and Program Staff
  • Comprehensive Medical Insurance Policy
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Official Transcript from Elizabethtown College



Not included in the Program Fee are the following estimated expenses based past students' experiences during the semester-long program:

  • Airfare Ranges from $800–$1200
  • Meals not Covered $1,850
  • Books & Supplies $115
  • Personal Expenses $1,725

Estimated Total Additional Expenses: $4,490 – $4,890

Students should also remember to budget for independent travel during the one-week break within the semester.  If desired, students may choose to remain in their Lexia accommodation in Rome during the break at no additional cost.


Instructors & Institutions

The Lexia in Rome program is affiliated with the Istituto Italiano, a university-level institution specializing in the instruction of Italian language and culture to foreigners.  Lexia students have access to the libraries of the British Consul, the National Library of Italy, the Santa Suzanna American Library, and the Lexia program library.  Facilities and instruction for students in music, studio art, restoration or other fields can be arranged.  Students can also attend lectures at the numerous educational institutions in Rome in addition to the program lectures.  The Istituto Italiano makes its extensive collection of classic and contemporary Italian films available on video and DVD.  One of the recognized strengths of the Lexia program in Rome is the strongly supportive faculty and staff who can tailor and adapt special studies to individual student needs. Courses are taught by the Resident Director, Italian professors, and other professionals. 



The typical course load is four courses per semester. Students who successfully complete Lexia’s program requirements are able to earn the equivalent of one full semester or academic year of college/university level credit, pending approval from their home institution.

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the credit transfer policies at his/her home institution and department, including advising appointments, paperwork and pre-departure or re-entry activities. We strongly suggest that students contact their study abroad or other appropriate office early in the planning stage to ensure that they complete all requirements.


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