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Vienna, Austria

Program Description

Video description from the director!

“Modern Dreams, Modern Nightmares” is a hybrid study-abroad/online course that fulfills a Cluster Two General Education requirement. Students spend fifteen days in Vienna in late June and early July after doing four weeks of asynchronous coursework online. Since all coursework is completed before the travel component begins, each day abroad is spent out-and-about exploring the cities: eating at famous restaurants and cafes and visiting museums and historical sites. Highlights of the trip include visiting the winter palace of Austria’s Habsburg emperors, touring the catacombs of Vienna’s gothic St. Stephens Cathedral and spending a day at the baroque monastery at Melk (Austria). The course focuses on the history and culture of Vienna and Berlin from the 1880s through 1989, looking at political, social, and artistic developments. Special attention is given to the political movements of socialism, fascism, and communism and to cultural luminaries like the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the painter Gustav Klimt, and the film director Fritz Lang.

Location Description

The program location will be Vienna, Austria. The course will cover both Vienna and Berlin, the capitals of Austria and Germany. Both cities were central to the political and cultural developments of modern Europe: Vienna, as a caldron of artistic and intellectual innovation before the First World War, and Berlin, as the capital of Hitler’s Third Reich and of the postwar East German communist dictatorship. From the ornate Vienna palaces of the Austrian Habsburg Emperors to the austere remnants of the Berlin Wall, the architecture of both cities showcases their tumultuous histories.


Christian Davis | | History


Students live in hotels in or near Vienna's inner districts. Centrally located, the hotel is a short distance from major sites like the University of Vienna. Hotel neighborhood contains grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, and parks, and students typically have a roommate. 

The program fee covers breakfast each morning at the hotel and approximately four additional group meals.

Additional Items to Consider

There are two parts to this course. The first is online. It takes place during the early summer—May and June--when students complete on their own a series of reading, writing, and film-viewing assignments and accompanying quizzes and exams, done on Canvas. Students may work largely at their own pace during this part of the course, but written assignments and quizzes must be completed before arriving in Europe. It typically takes students five weeks to finish the online portion of the course.

The second component takes place abroad, where we will live in Vienna for fifteen days. While abroad, there are no classroom meetings or written or reading assignments: instead, we spend each day exploring the city.

No knowledge of German is required for this course, and there are no course prerequisites. All majors are welcome.

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Students at every level are welcome (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors).

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

 Applications Closed. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


HUM 251: Modern Perspectives: Modern Dreams, Modern Nightmares (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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