Founded in 1881, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens provides graduate students and scholars from a consortium of about 190 North American colleges and universities a base for research and study in Greece. These institutions, with programs in classical archaeology, classics, linguistic studies, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Greek studies, archaeological sciences, political science, history, and other social sciences, regard the outstanding academic programs, excavations, libraries, and other facilities of the American School as extensions of their own institutions’ graduate programs. The School's academic program for postgraduate students is viewed by many institutions as a requirement for a well-rounded Ph.D. in Greek area studies. In fact, many of today’s faculty in American universities in these core disciplines are alumni/ae of the School, a fact that accounts for a large number of consortia institutions.
The American School has run archaeological excavations at the Athenian Agora, the cradle of democracy, since 1931 and at ancient Corinth since 1896. It is also the administrative base of all other archaeological research in Greece conducted by North American institutions. The campus in Athens is home to two internationally famous libraries—the Blegen and the Gennadius—as well as a major research laboratory for archaeological sciences— the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory. The office in Princeton, New Jersey publishes important monographs and an award-winning scholarly quarterly journal. The American School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private institution. To support its programs and facilities, the School relies on income from its own endowment, grants from foundations, and private philanthropy.