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Engineering, ISAT, Geographic Science, and IDLS Summer Study Abroad in Malta


Kappara, Malta

Program Description

The Malta Summer Study Abroad program is one of JMU’s longest-running international summer programs. During the 4.5 week program students will experience the geography, culture, and history of this small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. In the ISAT 480 - Sustainable Societies course, students will learn about the unique history, geography, and economy of Malta through guided tours, invited lectures, and dimmers experiences. Over 7,000 years of history will be explored as students visit ancient temples, grand palaces, medieval dungeons, renaissance cathedrals, Baroque palaces, World War II fortifications, and some of the oldest known human structures, including several UNESCO World Heritage sites. Weekend excursions to Gozo and Comino illustrate the varied geography of the Maltese archipelago. Visits to fishing villages, tours of manufacturing facilities, and participation in a village festa provide glimpses into the culture and economy of Malta.

Throughout the program, the complex interrelationships between history, environment, society, economics, and sustainability will be considered throughout the experience. In addition to the-credit ISAT 480 course, students will enroll in a 3-credit project or field study course appropriate to their major. Students will work alongside a Maltese mentor to complete a project and/or field study experience which will be presented to the group at the conclusion of the program.

Location Description

For over 16 years, James Madison University has organized a study abroad program in Malta, a small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea that is geographically and culturally diverse. Students explore the unique cultural, environmental, economic, and political issues of today’s Malta as they interact with Maltese citizens. They are immersed into 7,000 years of history, as they meander the narrow, winding streets of Malta’s towns and visit ancient temples and grand palaces. The island has an extensive ancestry, connecting its customs, styles, and traditions to a myriad of cultures. As students step into its unique culture, they step into a world of adventure.


Keith Holland | | Engineering
Joy Ferenbaugh | | ISAT


Accommodations will be provided for through hotels, with several lunches or dinners provided per week.

Additional Items to Consider

This program is targeted towards ISAT, ENGR, GEOG, and IDLS majors, and juniors and seniors, although rising sophomores will be considered.

There are no visa or immunization requirements for US citizens. Malta is a well developed country and a member of the European Union. English is well understood and travel around the island is relatively easy and safe. Students interested in this program should attend an information session that will be scheduled during the fall semester. Accepted students will be required to attend 5-6 pre-departure meetings/classes during the spring semester.

Application Process

For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):

  • A supplemental essay addressing the following questions:
    • How will your participation in the Malta study abroad program contribute to your personal and professional development?
    • What positive contribution will you make to the program?

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5.

For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.

Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ISAT 480: Selected Topics in ISAT: Sustainable Societies (required for program) (3 credits)

ENGR 490: Engineering for Sustainable Development (3 credits)

ISAT 416: International Energy Studies (3 credits)

GEOG 491: International Studies (3 credits)

IDLS 391: Study Abroad, Field Studies (3 credits)