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Urbino, Italy

Program Description

The Urbino, Italy program engages students in a six credit four-week cross-cultural experience that includes the creation of a multimedia storytelling project, and the examination of Italian cinema, media and culture.

All students will take SMAD 398 for three credits. Students will select between SMAD 305-1 and SMAD 305-2 for the additional three credits. Students will work with JMU professors Shaun Wright, Dave Wang, & Kevin Reynolds to create an immersive multimedia project based on local issues, people or events in Urbino.

You’ll work with Italian students from the University of Urbino who will serve as translators/interpreters in the development of your stories. So, no Italian language background is necessary. The interpreters often become collaborators, guides, and friends. Students find the Urbino program to be tremendously enriching, and impactful. During this four-week program, students learn:

  • how to create engaging multimedia stories.
  • how to write for the web.
  • how to take great photos.
  • how to produce, shoot and edit quality short documentaries.
  • the ins and outs of intercultural communication.
  • how to work as part of a production team in an international location.

Students are required to bring their own laptop computers.

The JMU Summer in Urbino Program is open to all majors at JMU.

Location Description


Urbino is a picturesque Renaissance hill town in the Marche region of central Italy. The town is small, off the beaten track, and in a safe non-touristy location, yet it holds some of the best cultural gems from the Renaissance. Urbino is near appealing Adriatic beaches in the town of Pesaro and it's easy to hop on one of the local buses to get there. Although Urbino was a Roman and medieval city, its peak came during the 15th century when Duke Federico da Montefeltro established one of Europe's most illustrious courts. Its impressive Ducal Palace houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy. Urbino’s university is a center for maiolica ceramics, art, and culture. Urbino's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Le Marche is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. Now referred to as “the next Tuscany,” it is located in the central area of the country, bordering Emilia-Romagna (the culinary capital of Italy) and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to the west, Abruzzo and Lazio to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Except for river valleys and the often very narrow coastal strip, the land is hilly. Adriatic beaches are a mere 23 miles away. In the nineteenth century, a railway from Bologna to Brindisi linked the Marche along the coastline of the entire territory. Inland, the mountainous nature of the region, even today, allows little communication north and south, except by rough roads over the passes.


The university was founded in 1506, and currently has about 20,000 students, some of whom are from overseas. The university has no central campus as such, and instead occupies numerous buildings throughout the town and in the surrounding countryside. The University of Urbino has traditionally given precedence to studies in the humanities, and is especially renowned for its courses in Italian language.


Shaun Wright | | Media Arts and Design

David Wang | | Media Arts and Design


Students will live in a University of Urbino dorm (Collegio Studentessa or Collegio Colle) in a single or double room. Our classrooms and the main piazza (Piazza della Repubblica) are within walking distance.

Laundry facilities are also on the premises. Sheets, towels, and a pillow will be provided.

Three meals a day will be provided via stipends and Urbino University's campus cafeteria.

Additional Items to Consider

There will be a three-day travel weekend for students to do as they wish. Students often make plans after arrival in Urbino and then travel in groups to places like Florence, Venice, or Bologna. Some decide to stay in the area and enjoy the beaches or just soak up the local Urbino scene. The town has an active nightlife and the main piazza is filled with dynamic people at all times of the day and night.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in all majors

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 
  • Attend Info Session
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

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

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


SMAD 305-1: Special Topics in Media Arts and Design: Multimedia Storytelling (3 credits)

SMAD 305-2: Special Topics in Media Arts and Design: Documentary Filmmaking (3 credits)

SMAD 398: Italian Cinema, Media, & Culture (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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