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

    HMML, on the campus of Saint John’s University (SJU), Collegeville, MN
  • Course level

    Intermediate Syriac
  • Course length

    Four weeks
  • Dates

    July 13 - August 6, 2021
  • Course size

    Up to 10 students
  • Costs

    All tuition, housing, and meal costs covered by Dumbarton Oaks; all transportation costs are responsibility of student

Course overview

  • Morning and afternoon sessions are held Monday-Friday
  • Course includes guest lectures and other learning opportunities
  • Course is taught from readings, published transcriptions of Syriac texts, and manuscript images
  • Course offers an introduction to paleography and to the study and use of manuscripts, especially those now available in HMML’s online Reading Room of digitized manuscripts
  • Social events are hosted throughout and students are free to enjoy the beautiful 2,700-acre SJU campus with woods, lakes, and notable architecture


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

Faculty for 2021

Guest faculty: Dr. Salam Rassi, Oxford University, United Kingdom; Dr. Alberto Rigolio, Durham University, United Kingdom
HMML staff: Father Columba Stewart, OSB, Executive Director, HMML & Professor of Theology, Saint John’s University; Dr. David Calabro, Curator of Eastern Christian Manuscripts; Dr. Joshua Mugler, Curator of Islamic Manuscripts; Dr. Matthew Heintzelman, Curator of Western European Manuscripts & Special Collections

Housing and meals

  • All costs are covered by Dumbarton Oaks
  • Students are housed in air conditioned apartments on the SJU campus and provided a private bedroom and bathroom, with shared kitchen and laundry facilities
  • Students receive a meal contract through the SJU student Refectory

Application deadline

  • The 2021 course is currently filled with students who were to participate in the cancelled 2020 course
  • There is a wait list that will be tapped on a first-come, first-served basis, should there be a cancellation
  • If, for any reason, there is a course opening, it will be posted here with an application deadline of February 15, 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

Awards will be announced in late February 2021 and must be accepted by March 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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