Study in Greece Masters of the Week: Professor Panagiotis Thanassas on the Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy at NKUA

The web portal Study in Greece is campaigning for the promotion and international visibility of Greek Universities and the comparative educational advantages of our country. In particular, the campaign focuses on the foreign language study programs that Greek Universities offer to Greek and international students. The initiative is supported by the General Secretariat of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In this context, a number of educational programs and actions are presented in detail on a regular basis, such as undergraduate and postgraduate programs, summer schools etc, to inform international students about the many foreign language options offered by Greek Universities.

Study in Greece interviewed Professor Panagiotis Thanassas, Director of the Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy offered at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) on the program, its features and what it has to offer to international students.

Panagiotis Thanassas is Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He has taught and conducted research in Philosophy at the Universities of Tübingen, Heidelberg, Munich and Cyprus, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and at the Open Universities of Greece and Cyprus. Since 2019, he has been teaching History of Philosophy at the University of Athens (Department of History and Philosophy of Science) – as a Full Professor since 2022. His research and publications focus on Greek philosophy (Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle), German Idealism (Hegel), Heidegger, and philosophical hermeneutics. He is also the Director of the brand-new Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy.

Mr Thanassas, please present to us the brand-new Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy, which will start the upcoming academic year.

My colleagues and I are delighted to announce the launch of our new MA program in Ancient Philosophy, which is set to begin in October 2023. The Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy is an intensive one-year graduate program designed for students interested in all aspects of ancient Greek philosophical thought.

The program promotes the study of Ancient Greek Philosophy in its entire historical and thematic range, from the Pre-Socratics to the philosophers of Late Antiquity, covering topics in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, and more. It offers a comprehensive exploration of the intellectual traditions of the ancient world, while also emphasizing the historical background and modern reception of Ancient Philosophy.

The Athens MA is the result of a collaboration between four major Greek universities, which have joined forces to create a highly competitive program, cooperating in teaching and supervision. The participating universities are the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Department of History and Philosophy of Science), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Department of Philosophy and Education), the University of Patras (Department of Philosophy), and the University of Crete (Department of Philosophy and Social Studies).

Courses will be taught in Athens by professors from the four aforementioned universities, as well as by visiting scholars from international institutions. We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds, and we are confident that The Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy will provide students with a unique and enriching educational experience, preparing them for a range of careers in academia, research, and other fields. We are eager to welcome our first cohort in October 2023

Why did you choose to teach the program exclusively in English and aimed at international students?

We offer the program in English in response to the international demand for in-depth training in the field of Ancient Philosophy. The Greek academic community in the field of Ancient Philosophy enjoys an international reputation and recognition, and we believe that we will be able to attract a diverse student body from around the world. Teaching the program in English will provide students with broader opportunities for international academic collaboration, including the perspective of pursuing doctoral studies.

Since we are in the application period, please tell us why an international student should choose it?

The Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy is one of the few programs worldwide that focus exclusively on Ancient Philosophy. This unique focus sets the program apart from other philosophy programs. The program’s faculty consists of highly qualified and experienced scholars who are renowned in their fields of study. Their expertise and passion for the subject will provide students with an engaging and enriching learning experience.

Of course, studying philosophy in its birthplace offers great symbolic value and a unique opportunity for students to engage with the rich cultural heritage of Greece, visiting the sites of the ancient philosophical schools, gaining a firsthand understanding of the cultural and historical context that gave rise to the philosophical ideas that emerged here. The program is expected to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for a range of careers, including academia, research, cultural heritage management, and publishing. Moreover, studying in Athens provides students with access to a vibrant academic and cultural scene, which can broaden their perspectives and also enhance their career prospects.

Observing and evaluating the steps taken by Greek universities towards extroversion, do you think that Greece has the potential to become an international academic destination in the field of Classics and Philosophy?

It is true that Greek universities have taken significant steps towards enhancing their international profile and gaining recognition and visibility on the international academic stage in recent years. Philosophy and Classics are fields that can certainly attract international students. While we have the advantage of the unique cultural heritage and intellectual tradition of our country, the most important reason for students to come to Greece and study here is the quality of the scholars participating in the programs and their international visibility and reputation. This is the only way forward in order to attract international attention.

Tell us more things about the Department of History and Philosophy of Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – its future plans and its contemporary research.

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is one of the leading academic departments in Greece, focusing on the history and philosophy of science and boasting a strong sector in the History of Philosophy. The department offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs and has always seen visibility in the international academic community as one of its main aims. Members of the Department participate in numerous EU-funded research projects and have established partnerships with universities and research centers all around the world. We are proud to have been entrusted by the other three collaborating departments to organize and manage The Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy.

The Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy is now accepting applications for the next academic year (up to 20 students per year), and the deadline is on June 30.

The interview was published in Greek News Agenda (GNA) – the online English language platform, issued by the Secretariat General for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad (Ministry of Foreign Affairs): https://www.greeknewsagenda.gr/topics/education-research/7861-athens-ma-philosophy

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