Intermediate Syriac

Intermediate Syriac

Dumbarton Oaks/HMML Summer School

Intermediate Syriac

For doctoral students or recent PhDs who can demonstrate a need for Syriac in their research. Priority is given to students who lack opportunities to continue studying Syriac at their own institutions. The program welcomes international applicants but does not sponsor J visas.

  • Funder

    Dumbarton Oaks
  • Location

    The 2021 course will be taught remotely, and all classes will be held on Zoom. The course will return to an on-campus, in-person program in 2022.
  • Course level

    Intermediate Syriac
  • Course length

    Four weeks
  • Dates

    July 12 - August 6, 2021
  • Course size

    Up to 10 students
  • Costs

    All costs are covered by Dumbarton Oaks for the 2021 course

Course overview

  • Sessions are held Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, CT.
  • Total instruction time equals 60 hours.
  • Students should be prepared to spend up to three hours of independent work in addition to contact hours each day.
  • Course offers intensive, in-depth training in Classical Syriac at the intermediate level.
  • Course goal is to give students an active command of the language through grammar revision and reading texts.
  • By the end of the course, students will be able to independently approach both vocalized and unvocalized Classical Syriac texts, to translate from Syriac into English with confidence, to have a comprehensive grasp of grammar and syntax, and to gain an appreciation of the most common rhetorical and stylistic devices found in those texts.
  • Course is taught from readings, published transcriptions of Syriac texts, and manuscript images.


  • Must have completed an introductory course in the language or its equivalent.

Faculty for 2021

Application deadline

  • The 2021 course is currently filled with students who were to participate in the cancelled 2020 course.
  • Should there be a cancellation from an accepted student, there is a wait list that will be tapped on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • If, for any reason, there is a course opening, it will be posted here with an application deadline of March 1, 2021.

Application submission

  • Letter of no more than two single-spaced pages describing the applicant’s academic background, including language skills, and an explanation for why continuing Syriac is important for future research and teaching. Address letter to HMML Executive Director Father Columba Stewart, OSB.
  • Updated curriculum vitae.
  • A transcript of graduate school coursework for those who are currently doing graduate study. This is not required for those who completed a PhD.
  • Two letters of recommendation.


Letter of recommendation authors

  • Send letter directly as email attachment to
  • Add “Syriac Summer School + applicant’s name” in the subject line.

Selection criteria

  • Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of previous academic achievement, demonstrated need for intensive study of Syriac, and research promise.

Notification of acceptance

  • Any awards of open spots will be announced by March 29 with an acceptance deadline of April 15, 2021.

About Dumbarton Oaks: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is an institute in Washington, D.C., administered by the Trustees for Harvard University. It supports research and learning internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships and internships, meetings, and exhibitions. Located in residential Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks welcomes researchers at all career stages who come to study its books, objects, images, and documents.

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