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Curriculum

The Semester in Florence program is open to all majors and offers students the opportunity to discover Florence, Tuscany, Italy, and broader Europe. The curriculum promotes engaged, hands-on learning in the city that travelers routinely designate "the best city in the world." Courses focus on Italian gastronomy and oenology, the Renaissance tradition, and contemporary European eduction, business and politics.

Each program course is worth three credits and counts as a JMU course. Fall and spring students register for a minimum of 16 Florence-based credit hours, which may require pre- and post-program instruction, (including three credits of Italian and one credit of University Studies), and summer students register for 10 Florence-based credit hours (including three credits of Italian and one credit of University Studies). In addition, fall and spring students may take an independent study in their major under the supervision of a JMU faculty member and the prior approval of program director Charles Blake. 

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, all students are required to take three credits of Italian language. 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.

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. Satisfies General Education Cluster II: Visual and Performing Arts requirement. Taught in English.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

HUM 200: Great Works
An intensive examination of great literary works that focus on key issues of knowledge and reality, meaning and purpose, ethics, and aesthetics. Discussion, analysis and intensive writing are required. Satisfies General Education Cluster II: Literature requirement. 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 312: Culinary Arts and Menu Management
The course trains students in basic food preparation and menu development as informed by the Tuscan and broader Italian contexts. The focus is on preparing students to understand gastronomy and communicate with culinary professionals. The course includes development of effective menus, plate presentation, preparation methods, flavor development, and food service trends. Taught in English. Non-Hospitality Management students who take HM 312 in the Semester in Florence program do NOT have HM 310 as a corequisite. Hospitality Management students who take HM 312 in the Semester in Florence program do have HM 310 as a corequisite.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring

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.
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: 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. There will be an additional fee, per COB differential tuition, of $150 billed to students who take this course.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring

UNST 390: Special Studies in University Studies
This 1-credit course, in which all Semester in Florence students enroll, encourages critical engagement with the Florentine and broader Italian environments. Students reflect on the meaning of their study abroad experience and its relationship to their academic, professional, and personal development. This course is tied to the standard JMU term dates and may require pre- and post-program instruction.
Credits: 1
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

POSC 371: Topics in Comparative Politics
How has a state as diverse as Italy managed to hold together for so long? Why do so many citizens continue to support the aging, libidinous, and frequently embarrassing Silvio Berlusconi? Does the pope have any political influence in contemporary Italy? Why is Italian bureaucracy so inefficient? How do phenomena like corruption and patronage make it difficult to police the quality of olive oil, wine, gelato, leather, and the many other products for which Italy is famous? Just how many times can Amanda Knox be tried in an Italian court of law? These are just a few of the questions that we'll pursue. Satisfies General Education Cluster IV: Global Requirement. Taught in English. *Course will not count as a General Education course in Summer 2020.
Credits: 3
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

ENG 302: Special Topics in Literature & Language: Travel Writing in Italy – Tourist, Traveler, Pilgrim
This ENG 302 course is designed to have you explore, travel, and write with a great sense of immediacy and witness from your experience in the Semester in Florence, Italy. Keeping a travel/ study abroad journal is a foundational aspect of this course, and it will be structured with weekly writing prompts and assignments designed to help you lean into your study abroad experience more fully. We will also read a variety of travel writing by writers who understand and use the craft effectively; you will apprentice yourselves to such essays as you craft your own pieces from journal entries to polished travel essays. The course subtitle “Tourist, Traveler, Pilgrim” is an invitation to explore your environment and surroundings with the curiosity of a travel writer, as well as reflect on how you change, and who you become, as tourist, traveler, and pilgrim over the semester. *FMIR course offered only during Spring 2022.
Credits: 3
Offered: Spring

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