Introduction to Classical Armenian

Introduction to Classical Armenian

Dumbarton Oaks/HMML Summer School

Introduction to Classical Armenian

For doctoral students or recent PhDs who can demonstrate a need for Armenian in their research. Priority is given to students who lack opportunities to learn Armenian 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

    Introduction to Classical Armenian
  • 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 three hours of independent work in addition to contact hours each day.
  • Course will introduce students to the fundamentals of Classical Armenian grammar.
  • The textbook for the course is An Introduction to Classical Armenian, Robert W. Thomson (Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1989, 2nd. ed.), now out of print. In advance of the course, students will be provided a PDF of the textbook, which they are encouraged to print, and any other materials needed for the course.
  • Once a sufficient basis of grammar has been covered, a portion of the daily work will be devoted to reading and translating Classical Armenian texts, which may be chosen based on student interest.
  • During the course, students will also be introduced to the primary lexica, manuscript repositories, and print and online resources available to aid them in their subsequent research on pre-modern Armenian texts.
  • Following this intensive course, students will be able to continue reading on their own or to enter reading courses at other institutions.


  • Students will be required to learn the Armenian alphabet and practice reading and pronunciation before the course begins. Materials will be provided to aid in mastering the alphabet and for practicing reading and pronunciation.
  • Those with significant prior study of Armenian (e.g., a semester-long class) will not be considered.

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 learning Armenian 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 “Armenian Summer School + applicant’s name” in the subject line.

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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