Skip to Main Content

News

Events

News

Events

News

Events

News

Events

News

Events

News

Events

Programs

You are in the main content

Semester in Florence

Location

Florence, Italy

Program Description

Benvenuti!

JMU’s Semester in Florence program is a study abroad program designed for students who want to immerse themselves in one of the world’s richest cultures. With countless artistic treasures and dynamic commercial, gastronomical, educational, political, and social scenes, Florence offers outstanding opportunities for students enrolled in multiple degree programs.

On these pages, you will find the most up-to-date information about the program, covering coursework, living arrangements, program-related trips, and much more.

What's going on in Florence? Want a firsthand look at the study abroad experience? JMU senior Angel America Elza recently completed the Semester in Florence program. Read Angel's blog and share in the adventure, enlightenment, and wonder of the Semester in Florence experience. 

Spring 2015 Orientation Meeting Dates:

  • General Orientation - September 21, 2014, 2:00 - 5:00pm | ISAT 159 

Program Dates

Summer 2014: May 13 - July 4, 2014

Fall 2014: September 2 - December 5, 2014

Spring 2015: January 7 - April 11, 2015

Summer 2015: May 19 - July 10, 2015

Fall 2015: September 8 - December 11, 2015

Director

John Scherpereel, scherpja@jmu.edu, 540-568-3933

Living in Florence

This beautiful, ancient city provides an atmospheric setting for your Italian adventures. Its historic piazzas remain largely unchanged from their medieval beginnings, enabling you to tread the same streets as illustrious persons such as Michelangelo, Dante, Boccaccio, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Galileo, to mention just a few. Yet, despite its cultural grandeur, Florence’s size is actually quite manageable; it is possible to traverse the center of the city in less than thirty minutes by foot. Florence is also extremely well serviced by buses, trains, supermarkets, boutiques, and many other sorts of stores. Therefore, you will find everything that you need practically at your door step.

Florence’s contributions to the arts, sciences, politics, and humanities, together with its manageable size, make it very popular with students. There are currently more than 30 American study programs running in Florence. In addition, forty thousand Italian students study at the University of Florence, and many students from outside of Italy study at the city’s countless international language schools. The city is an educational magnet, drawing students from around Italy and across the world.

Florence was built in a valley surrounded by picturesque hills. A twenty minute bus ride will take you to the near hill peak of Fiesole, with its Etruscan roots and archaeological sites. Or a ten minute vigorous hike, up steps leading upwards from the river Arno, will take you to the even nearer hilltop of Piazzale Michelangelo, which provides one of the best views of this magnificent city.

Accommodations

Palazzo Capponi is located in the Oltrarno, a vibrant neighborhood anchored by the Palazzo Pitti and Brunelleschi’s Basilica di Santo Spirito and packed with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, artisans’ workshops, galleries, and various grocers. 

Facilities

The academic program is housed within the 16th century Palazzo Capponi, a 14,000-square-foot palace owned by Pio Istituto de' Bardi (The Bardi Institute), an 18th-century philanthropic organization that provides educational opportunities in the Florence community. James Madison University recently renovated space in the palazzo to provide offices, classrooms, and computer labs. Students attend language classes at the British Institute, and all students have reading privileges at the British Institute library. 

Academics

Open to all majors, the Florence Program is designed to offer any student the oppounity to discover Tuscan Italy. 

Curriculum

The curriculum highlights the Renaissance tradition of Florence through art and literature courses. It also focuses on 20th and 21st century Italy and Europe through courses on hospitality, education, business, and politics.

Each course is worth three credits and counts as a JMU course. You should register for a minimum of 15 hours (three or six hours in Italian), and you may take an independent study in your major with the supervision of a JMU faculty member and prior approval of the program director, Professor John Scherpereel.

Language Training

Previous background in Italian is not required; in fact, in most semesters, around 50% of all Semester in Florence students have not previously taken Italian. While in Florence, however, all students are required to take three or six hours of Italian. JMU is affiliated with the British Institute in Florence, a long-established institution that specializes in teaching Italian to English-speaking students and English to Italians. Intensive language classes in the beginning of the semester help equip all students with everyday vocabulary and oral comprehension.  

Italian 101-102 and 231-232 are offered both on campus and in Florence. Since a student may take six hours of Italian during the fall and spring semesters, it is possible to complete your Bachelor of Arts language requirement in Italian in three semesters. The Semester in Florence program qualifies as a semester abroad experience for JMU International Business majors.

Courses

ARTH 313: Masterpieces of Renaissance Art
Exploration of the invention of perspective and techniques of Renaissance realism including masterpieces by major artists such as Giotto, Donatello and Michelangelo. Weekly visits to museums and churches. Taught in English.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ENG 302F: Dante's Commedia, Selections from Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso
Dante's Commedia, a vision of the other-world, the account of a journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, is one of the world's greatest poems, an achievement of the poetic imagination. Students will also see how the Commedia inspired the work of later British and American writers and will see how the forms of literature Dante shaped have endured to modern times. Taught in English; Italian majors and minors may receive Italian credit by completing all written assignments in Italian.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

HM 361 / ITAL 490F: Italian Culture and Wine
An introduction to the fundamentals of wine making, wine tasting and glossary of terms provide a framework for visual, olfactory and gustative analysis. The historical value of wine, together with its cultural, economic and social meaning in Italy, are explored. An additional fee of $175 is billed to students taking this class.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

HM 362: Italian Gastronomy
The course focuses on the exploration of food culture in Italy and its relationship on other aspects of Italian society. The course emphasizes the history and socio-economic importance of. Students consider the construction and use of the 'made in Italy' brand. Students wishing to use this course toward the Hospitality major should discuss their plans with the head of the Hospitality department. Taught in English. An additional fee of $225.00 is billed to students taking this class.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring

POSC 344: Politics of the European Union
This course offers an in-depth consideration of the political development of the European Union, the EU policy-making process, and contemporary issues that confront European leaders and citizens. Taught in English.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

IDLS 486 / ITAL 490F: Internship and Field Experience
ITAL or IDLS credit for academically grounded field experience. Students interact with Florentine middle school students taking English classes and engage in systematic comparisons of educational institutions and experiences in Italy and the United States.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring

ITAL 101F: Elementary Italian
The fundamentals of Italian through listening, speaking, reading and writing. Practice in pronunciation and development of comprehension.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ITAL 102F: Elementary Italian
The fundamentals of Italian through listening, speaking, reading and writing. Practice in pronunciation and development of comprehension.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ITAL 231F: Intermediate Italian
A thorough review of grammar, vocabulary building, conversation, composition and reading. Prerequisite: One year of college Italian or equivalent.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ITAL 232F: Intermediate Italian
A thorough review of grammar, vocabulary building, conversation, composition and reading. Prerequisite: One year of college Italian or equivalent.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ITAL 300F: Italian Grammar and Communication
Intensive training in grammatical structures and their application to oral and written communication. Instruction is in Italian. Fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major. Prerequisite: ITAL 232.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ITAL 320F: Italian Oral and Written Communication
Intensive training in the use of modern, everyday Italian with emphasis on conversation and composition. Readings in Italian will provide a context for discussion and writing. Prerequisite: ITAL 300.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

MKTG 380: Principles of Marketing
Deals with fundamentals involved in the marketing process; concerned with the functions, institutions and channels used to distribute goods and services from producer to consumer. Involves case studies of Italian firms and systematic comparisons between prevalent Italian/European and American marketing practices. Taught in English.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring

Culture

Italy is rich in small cities which preserve the past through distinctive architectural styles, dialects, living traditions, and folk/religious festivals. With the Semester in Florence program, students will have the opportunity to experience the Florentine lifestyle though class excursions and weekend trips organized by the program. 

Besides weekly course-related trips to museums, churches and art galleries in central Florence, the program provides guided one-day trips to cities such as Siena and Assisi and two major weekend trips to Venice (La Serenissima) and Rome (seat of the ancient Roman Empire, center of the Catholic faith, and beating heart of the contemporary Italian republic). During these course-related, one-day and weekend trips, all expenses such as transportation (bus or train), hotels, guides, and entrance fees are covered by the program.

During the semester, students also have several free weekends, when they can follow their own itineraries. Naturally, when students travel on their own it is at their own expense.

Cost

Semester in Florence (Fall 2013 and Spring 2014)

Tuition and fees for the Semester in Florence include full-time university tuition based on residency, room, board, and a supplemental program fee.  This combination of fees will cover full-time enrollment in classes, housing, board (most meals), excursion lodging and transportation, admissions and entry fees, books, and other program activities while abroad. 

Fees

Virginia Resident

Non-Virginia Resident

Undergraduate Tuition

$4,588.00

$11,827.00

Room & Board

$4,259.50

$4,259.50

Study Abroad Program Fee:

$5,400.00

$5,400.00




Semester in Florence Cost:

$14,247.50

$21,486.50

Semester in Florence (Summer 2014)

Tuition and fees for the Summer Semester in Florence include University tuition for the required number of credit hours (12 credits) based on residency and a supplemental program fee. This combination of fees will cover enrollment in classes, housing, board (most meals), excursion lodging and transportation, admissions and entry fees, books, and other program activities. 

Fees

Virginia Resident

Non-Virginia Resident

Undergraduate Tuition  (9cr)

$2,907

$7,560

Study Abroad Program Fee:

$5,200

$5,200




Semester in Florence Cost:

$8,107

$12,760

Important Notes:

  • Study Abroad program fees are subject to change due to exchange rate fluctuation.
  • For additional explanation of fees, see our expanded tuition and fees page.
  • Before committing to the program, be sure to consult our deposit and cancellation policies related to fee structure. 

Application Deadline

November 1, 2014 for Summer 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

Application Process

For priority, students must apply by the deadline. Applications received after November 1 will be accepted on a rolling, space-available basis until the program is full.

Application Materials

A completed Summer, Fall or Spring Semester Abroad Program application consists of the following components:

  • General Applicant Information

  • Essay indicating the reasons for choosing this program and how the choice of courses, program structure, city, or country, relates to your past, present and future academic, career and personal goals.

  • Letter of Recommendation from a current or former JMU instructor or from your academic advisor

  • First-semester transfer students and non-JMU students are required to submit an Official Transcript from their previous or current unversity. 

apply now

Director

John Scherpereel, scherpja@jmu.edu, 540-568-3933