Greek & Latin Summer Workshops

June 8 - August 14, 2020


SUMMER 2020 UPDATE:  As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to maintain the safety of our students and instructors, this summer's Workshops will be conducted remotely. The start/end dates, content, and pace of the course will remain the same. We will update the websites with the new format once that has been finalized. Our instructors are dedicated to maintaining the rigor, engagement, and enjoyment of this course as we take it online. If you have any questions, please email the relevant Workshop Director:  for the Greek Workshop, Christopher Jelen (christopher.jelen@berkeley.edu); for the Latin Workshop, Daniel Squire (daniel.squire@berkeley.edu).


  • For more on the 2020 Greek Workshop, click here.
  • For more on the 2020 Latin Workshop, click here.

Overview

Since their founding over forty years ago, the Workshops have successfully guided thousands of students to basic proficiency in Greek and Latin. Our time-tested formula prepares students to enter directly into upper-level language classes—or simply to continue reading texts on their own. 

Replacing more than two semesters of regular language work, these immersive ten-week programs require a significant commitment of time and intellectual energy.  In the first six weeks, students master the essentials of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary; in the last four weeks, they put their new knowledge to work reading extensively in selected texts (poetry and prose; students choose two of four options).  In addition to six hours of class work every day, students are expected to spend several hours daily in study and homework preparation. Classes are small, though, and students can count on having plenty of individualized support throughout their journey. Beyond the classroom, guest lectures from distinguished Classics faculty members offer context and insight into cutting-edge research, and regular social events provide a venue for further discussion and camaraderie. And then there is the beautiful, temperate Bay Area environment to enjoy, and all of San Francisco to explore!

What Do Students Say about the Workshops?

The UC Berkeley Latin workshop was easily the toughest and most rewarding course I've ever taken. After 10 relentless weeks of Latin I started dreaming in cases and ablatives, but the reward is that now I feel like I can approach any Latin text. Latin takes years to master but this intensive course unlocks the door to make that mastery accessible.   - Luis, USC, Summer 2020

The ability of the instructors to make Latin, a subject so different from my preferred math and science classes, so engaging just goes to show how much work and dedication goes into this course. Not only were they flexible with arranging one-on-one sessions to go over any questions I had, but they also established a classroom setting (even over Zoom) that was welcoming and accommodating. I thought Daniel was an amazing instructor, and found the texts to be very interesting!  I had such a great experience - I highly recommend this course!   - Sara, UCLA, Summer 2020

This Summer's Greek workshop, despite all of the extenuating circumstances related to COVID, the logistics of an all-online intensive language course, and the overall tumult America experienced, was more than a massive success. I leave the program feeling confident in my ability to read the Ancient language and to continue my study at my parent institution, but, more than anything, I am grateful for the tireless instruction delivered by all of the teachers involved. Although I am somewhat disappointed that I was not able to meet my peers and instructors (all of whom I greatly appreciate) in person over the course of this summer, Chris and his fellow instructors offered a community of support and allowed for us students to express ourselves personally and to know our classmates. Not only would I recommend this course to anyone even remotely interested in Classics, but I would speak highly of Berkeley's Greek Workshop to anyone wanting to experience the epitome of an academically rewarding college program.   - Colin, Brown University, Summer 2020

Over the ten weeks of the Greek workshop, I went from not even knowing the Greek alphabet to translating Homer in the original.  In just one summer, I've acquired all the skills I'll need to translate other texts for my thesis research and participate in upper-level Classics seminars.  The course is intense, but if you are willing to put in the work, you'll be greatly rewarded.  This is the best way to learn Greek.   - Ethan, Princeton University, Summer 2020

Learning [Greek] in this intensive format has been incredibly rewarding. The instructors adapted very well to the course’s changes in format, created a positive learning environment, and were as compassionate as they were knowledgeable. Most importantly I felt that the course itself was designed for students to succeed, and that made the intensity worthwhile.  - Phee, UC Berkeley, Summer 2020

Simply the best language course I have ever taken. The level of instructor availability and interaction is unparalleled...  Not only did I firmly cement my grasp of Greek, many classmates became my friends in the process, in the high Aristotelian sense. This was one of the best summers of my life.   - Zuri, Quest University (Canada), Summer 2016

I mean, really, I thought the Latin summer workshop was wonderful. My experience learning Greek in undergrad over the course of a year and a half felt too slow, and I think it fostered a sort of unhelpful compartmentalization and fragmentation of the language. While the Latin workshop was fast-paced, I think learning the forms quickly and well prevented the temptation to latch onto each individual syntactical category, and really approach the language as a language, as a whole, instead of something like a puzzle. It was both fun and challenging - it was a very accepting and lighthearted learning atmosphere despite the rigorous work.  - Lauren, UC Davis, Summer 2017

The Workshop is intellectually demanding and very hard work, but also immensely rewarding...  I gained Greek language skills that inform my research agenda in political theory. I particularly enjoyed being exposed to the vibrant Berkeley classics community through the Friday afternoon lectures and symposia.  - Eliot, Duke University, Summer 2017

On day one, you learn the alphabet.  Ten weeks later, you've torn your way through a year's worth of grammar instruction, and you've read the Medea and one of Plato's dialogues — in the original Greek....  Considering their patient instruction, helpful office hours, and late-night email responses to my frantic questions, I can say all four instructors I had went far beyond their call of duty to teach us and really make us comfortable with the material.  On top of that, living in Berkeley and connecting with students from around the world was unforgettable. – Daniel, Stanford University, Summer 2016

Funding Sources

In 2020 the Department will offer up to eight tuition rebates of $3,000. Two of these are reserved for UC Berkeley students, while the rest are open to all. Applications will be assessed by a committee consisting of the Workshop Directors and the Faculty Director of Graduate Student Instructors. To apply, please send the following materials via email attachment to the Department Chair, Ellen Oliensis (eolien@berkeley.edu) by March 16, 2020:

• a statement (not to exceed 500 words) explaining your academic reasons for wanting to do the workshop as well as your financial need. It is most helpful to the committee when applicants discuss their financial need in some detail (including any current financial aid)

• copies of all transcripts (undergraduate and graduate)

• a letter of support from a faculty member at your current or previous institution (to be sent directly by the recommender to Chair Oliensis)

The Department also encourages prospective students to explore other sources of funding.  Here are three to consider: