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Honors & Study Abroad

The Honors Program strongly encourages and supports students to study abroad. In addition to the range of study abroad options available through the Office of International Programs, Honors students can choose from two programs which enable them to earn Honors credit through their study abroad experience:

Honors Seminars Abroad

Three-week programs in May/June designed by the Honors Program. Students earn six academic credits (which fulfill the Honors seminar requirement) through a course of study in a new and exciting part of the world. Current and upcoming destinations include London, Florence, Barcelona, and Malta.

Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Andrews

Study abroad for a semester or full academic year at one of Britain's oldest and most respected universities. Honors students receive special Honors credits for study at Oxford and St. Andrews.

Follow the tabs above for more details about these programs. Students should consult with the Honors Academic Advisor to learn more about coordinating study abroad and Honors requirements. Students may arrange Honors option elective credit for other JMU-affiliated study abroad programs. All students participating in any program that requires them to be off-campus for a semester or academic year are required to notify the Honors Program one semester prior to leaving.

Honors Seminars Abroad

Summer 2016

Follow the links for program details. The deadline to apply for all programs is Oct. 15, 2015. Application questions should be directed to the Office of International Programs.

Barcelona: 20th-Century Barcelona

Florence: Art, Culture & Politics in Medici Florence

London: The Bloomsbury Group

Malta: The Psychology of Sustainability and Connection to the Natural World

Designed by the JMU Honors Program, the Honors Seminars Abroad allow students to explore a new and exciting part of the world for three weeks in May while earning six academic credits and fulfilling the Honors seminar requirement. The program begins with regular meetings in the spring semester during which students get to know each other and the instructors and prepare the groundwork for the upcoming experience through readings, films, and lectures. Once abroad, the seminars combine daily classwork with field trips and events. Students have ample free time to explore their surroundings. Seminars Abroad are affordable and need-based assistance is available. Registration is handled through the Office of International Programs.

Program Highlights
  • Open to first- and second-year Track I and Track II Honors students   
  • Enrollment limited to approximately 20 students in each program
  • Completion of either program fulfills the Honors Program six-credit seminar requirement
  • Includes spring semester preparatory component 

Current Seminar Abroad Descriptions
Barcelona: 20th-Century Barcelona

Though an important part of Spain, Barcelona is proud of its independent Catalan identity and language. The city has long been an intellectual and artistic hub and, by the twentieth century, the city saw an efflorescence of modern art, political consciousness, and revolutionary politics. Both the unique aspects of Barcelona and its ties to the rest of the country will be explored during the study abroad program. We will particularly focus on key moments in twentieth century Barcelona history: 1920s urbanization and dictatorship; modernist artists notably Dali, Miro, and Picasso; the Second Republic (1931-1936); the Spanish Civil War; the Franco era (1939-75); and the transition to democracy in 1975; and the post-Franco period.

Through guided visits of the Catalonian Museum of history and the Museum of the City of Barcelona and to key Gaudi sites and many other city locations, students will be exposed to the character of the metropolis, its people, and its history. Students will hear lectures by local academics and a journalist/film maker who will speak to the unique experience and identity of Catalonia. Students will also attend a live concert as a group in the breathtaking Palau de la Musica Catalana. Day trips include the Dali Museum in Figueres, Girona, the famous monastery of Montserrat, and local beaches. Course work includes informal lectures, readings, and student writing.

No Spanish language training necessary but is advantageous. All instruction will be in English.

Florence: Art and Politics in Medici Florence

The course is designed as an experiential learning course for Honors Program freshmen and sophomores. It will be a six-credit Seminar on the history, art, political thought, and culture of Florence in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There will be preparatory work at JMU during the spring semester 2016 and reflective work upon return to campus.

On site in Florence, the group will become immersed in the cultural history of 15th and 16th century Florence. During the three weeks in Florence, the group will alternate between seminars on specific topics held at the Palazzo Capponi, visits to major museums and architectural sites, and cultural excursions related to Florence’s history. We envision that most days the students will spend approximately 3 hours in classroom activities and an additional 3-4 hours in outings.

Day trips to Siena, ruled by the Medici at the end of our period, and to three Medici villas in the environs of Florence will be scheduled. There will be a free three-day weekend, allowing students to travel to Venice or Rome or even further afield.

London: Art and Economics in the Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury Group is a celebrated and extraordinarily productive group of intellectuals, artists and public figures who were friends and lived in or near the Bloomsbury district of London in the early 20th century. It includes well-known figures such as Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster (literature), Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (art), Leonard Woolf (politics), and John Maynard Keynes (economics).

The Bloomsbury Group Seminar will begin with class meetings on the JMU campus during the spring semester of 2016 to become acquainted with the principal figures of the Bloomsbury Group and their contributions to their respective fields. During this period students will also get to know one another and the instructors as they prepare for three weeks in London beginning May 12, 2016.

During these three weeks abroad the program will continue with weekday seminars on the accomplishments and personalities of the Bloomsbury Group to be normally followed by a London outing. Coursework will include readings, written responses to some of the readings, and the completion of a research project in addition to participation in class and the class outings.

Malta: The Psychology of Sustainability and Connection to the Natural World

This course is intended for honors undergraduate freshmen and sophomores from any discipline to come together to examine the relationship between people and nature. Specifically, we will examine the psychological connections (biophilia, nature-deficit, ecological self, and ecological identities, for example) as well as mental health, physical health, learning, development, community building, and overall well-being. Topics will be addressed as they relate to the US culture and specifically to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County as an accessible case study.

The study abroad component will incorporate examining the same topics through the lens of Malta, a country the size of Rockingham County and currently experiencing significant political, educational, cultural, and personal conflicts around connection to the natural world and sustainability. 

During our time in Malta, we will spend time with several NGOs, explore the natural world with hours of hiking and "getting dirty", and countless conversations with people committed to creating a more sustainable Malta. We will also include a few days immersed in eco-tourism, cultural sustainability and agri-tourism on the quiet island of Gozo as well as an excursion to Sicily where we will be able to spend time with people in the communities surrounding Mount Etna. This will allow for a powerful and accessible cross-cultural comparison as well as the opportunity to capture the rich narratives of the people we meet. 

Oxford, Cambridge, & St. Andrews Programs

JMU offers the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or full academic year at Britain’s oldest and most respected universities: the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in England, and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Participants will take part in tutorials or small classes across a wide range of topics and can have these credits fulfill major, minor, Honors, or elective credit requirements at JMU. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.3, but need not be members of JMU’s Honors Program to participate.

The ideal time to study abroad at St. Andrews and Oxford is the junior year, or the second semester of the sophomore year. The ideal time to study at Cambridge is any summer. Cost approximations below are subject to changing fees and currency exchange rates. Interested students should contact Dr. Fletcher Linder, the Study Abroad at Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Andrews Program Director, at

Earning Honors Credit

Through a special arrangment between these programs and Honors, students can earn Honors credits for study abroad at Oxford and St. Andrews (Cambridge does not apply). The distribution of Honors credits is as follows:

Oxford: 6 Honors seminar credits + 6 Honors elective credits
St. Andrews: 6 Honors seminar credits + 3 Honors elective credits

** These credits will not automatically be applied to Honors requirements. Upon returning from studying abroad, students must notify the Honors Program ( once these credits have transferred into the JMU system and appear on their transcripts. This process can take up to a semester to complete.


OxfordThe University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with over 900 years of history. Oxford’s deep roots are on display in its awe-inspiring architecture and traditions, and its focus on the future is evident in the university’s state-of-the-art facilities. In the town of Oxford, you’ll discover many contemporary restaurants, a traditional covered market, a bustling High Street with many shops, as well as some of the finest bookstores in the world. Oxford enrolls about 21,000 students, approximately 12,000 of whom are undergraduates.

For detailed information about studying abroad at Oxford, visit the OPUS website.

JMU students can currently study at Oxford during the spring semester only. At Oxford, the spring contains two terms, called Hilary (January – March) and Trinity (April – June), and includes a significant break between terms, which can be used for travel, independent study, or just hanging out in Oxford. Students will take two tutorials each term, and will receive approximately 24 JMU credits for the four tutorials taken over the two terms. JMU students will work with Dr. Linder to arrange for appropriate coursework and credit.

Tutorials are intense one-on-one Socratic lessons with a content expert. Tutors require students to research, read, and analyze massive amounts of material, and to write compelling essays on that material on a weekly basis. This type of instruction is extremely challenging, and is not for the faint of heart. Exceptional writing ability and time management skills are essential.


JMU students will be student affiliates at one of four Oxford colleges: New College, St. Catherine's College, Christ Church, or Jesus College. They will enjoy all the college privileges of regular Oxford students, including access to libraries, social events, clubs, and outings.

Cost is currently around $24,000 for the two spring terms, and this cost includes tuition and housing. Food is extra, but students can eat inexpensively in their Oxford college dining hall for about $650 per term.

Applications should be submitted to JMU’s Office of International Programs between February 1 – August 1 for the subsequent year’s two spring terms. Additional information about the Oxford program, including application information, is available from JMU’s Office of International Programs.

St. Andrews

St. AndrewsThe University of St. Andrews, founded in 1413, has gained a worldwide reputation for teaching and research that makes it one of Britain’s “Ivy League” universities. The university of appoximately 7,000 students sits in the beautiful coastal town of St. Andrews on the northeastern shore of Scotland, in an area known around the world as the birthplace of golf.

For detailed information about studying abroad at St. Andrews, visit their International Undergraduates website.

JMU students can study at St. Andrews in fall or spring semesters, or for an entire academic year. Students take small enrollment courses (called “modules”) and usually take 60 St. Andrews credits each semester. These 60 St. Andrews credits equals 15 JMU credits. Courses can be taken at upper (3000 or 4000) or lower (1000 or 2000) levels. JMU students will work with Dr. Linder to arrange for appropriate JMU coursework and credit.

St. AndrewsTuition and fee cost is currently approximately $14,000 per semester, and does not include housing or food. Housing is arranged separately through St. Andrews. A total cost estimate for the entire year (two semesters) can be found here.

Applications should be submitted to JMU’s Office of International Programs by February 1 for the subsequent year’s fall semester, and by October 1 for the subsequent year’s spring semester. Additional information about the St. Andrews program, including application information, is available from JMU’s Office of International Programs.

Cambridge Summer Program

CambridgeThe University of Cambridge is situated in a stunningly beautiful town on the River Cam, and has provided university instruction for 800 years. Cambridge has become a leading world-class institution and a center of international learning. Cambridge enrolls about 19,000 students, approximately 12,000 of whom are undergraduates.

For detailed information about studying at Cambridge during the summer, visit the Cambridge website.

A two-week course will provide 3 JMU credits, and a four-week course will provide 6 JMU credits. JMU students will work with Dr. Linder to arrange for appropriate JMU credit.

Fees vary by program, and includes tuition, room, and two meals per day. Visit here for program fees.

Last year’s application deadline was late spring, and it varied by program. Students interested in studying in Cambridge in the summer should meet with Dr. Linder in January to talk seriously about the application and coursework. The upcoming summer’s courses should be posted by December.

Additional information about the Cambridge program, including application information, is available from JMU’s Office of International Programs.