University of Portland Bulletin 2018-2019

Hellenic Studies

Alejandro Santana, Ph.D., philosophy, director

Greek history and culture is the cornerstone of Western liberal arts education.  Perhaps the most fundamental reason for this can be found in the inscription “Γνωθι σαυτόν,” “Know thyself.” This was written in the forecourt of the temple dedicated to Apollo, in perhaps one of the holiest sites in the Greek world – Delphi. This idea, so central to the ancient Greek conception of wisdom, was also crucial in their conception of the good life.  Knowing who you are, and especially your cultural and historical roots, provides you with a foundation for meaning and stability in everyday life, and this has become increasingly difficult to attain in a world that has become increasingly unsettled and disconnected. In such a world, understanding one’s roots provides a tether that keeps one grounded and nourished in one’s cultural heritage. And there is no doubt that one important tether of Western civilization reaches back to the Greeks.

The Hellenic studies minor provides the student with a rich a context in which to explore the University of Portland’s core questions, and it fosters a greater understanding of the student’s relationship to the cultural heritage of the Western world.

Learning Outcomes for Hellenic Studies Minors

Hellenic studies graduates of the University of Portland should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of significant periods of Hellenic history.
    1. Identify significant facts, periods, or historical narratives of Hellenic history.
    2. Describe in writing these significant facts, periods, or historical narratives.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of major dimensions of Hellenic culture.
    1. Identify at least one major dimension of Hellenic culture.
    2. Describe in writing this major dimension.
  3. Explain the relevance of Hellenic history and culture in Western civilization.
    1. Identify at least one significant period of Hellenic history or dimension of Hellenic culture that relates to Western civilization.
    2. Explain in writing the relevance of this period or dimension to Western civilization.
  4. Critically evaluate the role of Hellenic history and culture in western civilization.
    1. Develop a stance on the role of Hellenic history and culture in Western civilization.
    2. Support that stance with a well-developed argument.

Capstone Experience

Students pursuing a Hellenic studies minor will participate in either PHL 338 or PHL 371 as the last course in the minor.


  1. Either HST 330 or THE 360
  2. Either PHL 338 or PHL 371
  3. 9 upper-division elective credit hours from the following list of courses: HST 330, POL 305, CST 327, FA 350, THTR 307, THTR 410, THE 360, THE 307/THE 407, PHL 372, PHL 338, PHL 371, HST 430, PHL 490, POL 490, THE 490, or CST 490.