Semester in Scotland


Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Scotland

Program Description

Welcome to the website for GenEd Summer Semester in Scotland Program. Here, you will find all the information about this innovative opportunity, covering academic requirements and expectations, accommodation and excursions and important deadlines.

This unique study abroad program allows students to complete 13 credit hours (four courses in four different clusters) towards their General Education requirements. Experiential learning is a key component of each course. This means excursions and field-trips are an integral part of your coursework. So, be prepared to complete a geological survey in the pouring rain in the Highlands or recite a poem by Williams Burn in a haunted vault below the streets of Edinburgh. Successful applicants will spend four weeks in Edinburgh and four weeks in St. Andrews. If students have already taken one or more of these courses, then alternative credit can often be arranged. The program is open to all majors. Classes are taught by JMU professors and faculty members from the University of Edinburgh and University of St. Andrews, two of the best and most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom.

Program Dates

Summer 2018: June 16 - August 11, 2018


Fletcher Linder,, 540-568-5270

Living in Edinburgh, St. Andrews


 Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one of Europe’s most beautiful and vibrant cities, offering both medieval charm and the cultural amenities of a modern city. Visits around the city include the Castle, the Scotch Whiskey Experience, visits to the National Galleries, St Giles Cathedral and for those who dare, a ghost tour to Greyfriars Cemetery, haunted by the infamous McKenzie Poltergeist. Airports in Edinburgh and Glasgow are major gateways for international travel (with plenty of low-cost airlines operating across Europe).

-St Andrews

The town of St. Andrews is dominated by golf, ancient buildings and the prestigious University of St Andrews, which is currently celebrating its 600th anniversary. Founded in 1413, it is Scotland’s first and the third oldest university in the English-speaking world. Students will be taught by local faculty and use university facilities. From St Andrews, we will be visiting some of Britain’s most beautiful castles, go hiking in the Highlands, have a cèilidh in the local pubs and enjoy Scotland’s great outdoors, which includes kayaking in the North Sea, wild water rafting and competing in our very own Highland Games.



In Edinburgh, students will live in Brea House, which is a self-catered student accommodation ideal for those who want to live close to the heart of the city. From there, student can walk to the city’s historic district and the classroom. The airport is only a short distance away.

-St Andrews

In St Andrews, students are staying in University hall, which is a university owned and run student hall. Originally built as an all-female hall, it was built by the university in 1896. It is centrally located near the university gym, the Old Course and the main shopping area on Market Street.

Accommodations Include:

  • Furnished bedrooms, with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities
  • Communal facilities include a library with a computer room, study rooms, a common room, and two TV rooms with one containing a piano.

For more information about the University of St. Andrews, visit the official web site.


The Semester in Scotland is grounded in the core philosophy of JMU’s General Education program:

The Human Community is the common core academic program of James Madison University in which students come to understand how distinct disciplines look at the world from different vantage points. Courses in The Human Community are organized into five clusters, each emphasizing unique tools, rationales, and methodologies. Taken together, courses in a student's chosen major and The Human Community complement and complete each other.  Both are integral and essential components of a student's full and proper education.” 

 “The program is committed to helping students develop their ability to reason and make ethical choices; to appreciate beauty and understand the natural and social worlds they live in; to recognize the importance of the past and work towards a better future.”

In Scotland, you are taking 13 credits from across the General Education syllabus. *Courses will vary each year but will always be four courses from the four clusters:

  • Cluster Two: Arts and Humanities
  • Cluster Three: The Natural World
  • Cluster Four: Global Politics
  • Cluster Five: Individuals in the Human Community

Each class meets Monday – Thursday for 2 ½ hours. You will take 2 classes in Edinburgh and 2 classes in St Andrews, taught by JMU, Edinburgh and St Andrews faculty member. Excursions, outings and field trips are an integral part of the courses and some even incorporate them into the overall assessment. Participation is mandatory. 

*If students have already taken one or more of these courses, then alternative credit can often be arranged.


ENG 221: Literature/Culture/Ideas: Scottish Literature

Credits: 3
Offered: Summer

GEOL 110/110L: Physical Geology Lecture and Lab

Credits: 4
Offered: Summer

SOCI 110: Social Issues in a Global Context

Credits: 3
Offered: Summer

HTH 100: Personal Wellness

Credits: 3
Offered: Summer


Visits, tours and excursions are planned across Scotland and will complement the courses. Excursions will include visits to Stirling (Castle, Wallace Monument, Bannockburn), Glamis Castle, Falkland Palace and Lomond Hills. Pack your waterproof boots for a  hike in the Borders Region, Trossachs and a visit to Melrose Abbey, Loch Ness, Lin and the Highlands, Linlithgow Palace (birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots). Field trips for the Geology course at the University of St Andrews include the Highland Boundary Fault, Siccar Point and numerous breathtaking sites across the Highlands.

As part of your Scottish Literature course, your Scottish professor will take you to many of the sites and figures you are reading about.

Sites to visit in Edinburgh:

Calton Hill: A hill in central Edinburgh, Scotland, just to the east of Princes Street and is included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Views of, and from, the hill are often used in photographs and National Gallery of Modern Art.

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a must-see venue for modern and contemporary art and is home to fantastic sculpture parks. See 3 exhibitions, 17 displays, and exceptional must sees. There are also 12 events to attend.

Chambers St Edinburgh: Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultu­res, art and design, science and technology and Scottish history, all under one roof at the National Museum of Scotland.

Museum of Edinburgh: The Museum of Edinburgh is the City’s treasure box - a maze of historic rooms crammed full of iconic ob­jects from the Capital’s past. Find out about the his­tory of Edinburgh from the earliest times to the present day. Discover more about the city, its people, crafts and trades and the beautiful objects they created.

National Gallery: The Scottish National Gallery is in the heart of Edinburgh and houses one of the best collec­tions of fine art in the world. See 4 exhibitions, 26 displays, and exceptional must sees. There are also 26 events to attend.

Museum of Childhood: The Museum of Childhood is a fun day out for the whole family. Young people can learn about the children of the past and see a fantas­tic range of toys and games, while adults enjoy a trip down memory lane.

International Film Festival: Established in 1947, the Edinburgh International Film Festival is renowned around the world for dis­covering and promoting the very best in internatio­nal cinema - and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking

Edinburgh Castle: Edinburgh Castle dominates Scotland’s capital city from its great rock. Its story has helped shape the nation’s story. Battles and sieges were fought over it, royalty lived and died within its walls, and countless generations have been and inspired by it

The Scott Monument: The monument was de­signed by George Meikle Kemp (1795 - 1844) who was inspired by the architecture of Melrose Abbey and Roslin Chapel. It is over 200 feet (61 metres) high, with 287 steps to four levels from which you can have spectacular views.

Holyrood Palace: The Palace of Holyroodhouse is The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. It stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile against the spec­tacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat and is closely associated with Scotland’s rich history.

Literary Pub Tour: Join the intrepid duo, Clart (as in muck!) and our clean-hankied intellectual McBrain, who will lead you on a brilliant and witty dramatic romp through the wynds, courtyards and pubs of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town. Every day at 7.30pm, outside at The Beehive Inn, in Grassmarket

Ghost Tour: There are many ghost tours in Edinburgh, here is just one example with Mercat Tours.  The best way to enjoy our grim, grisly and ghostly past is to hear it as our ghoulish ancestors…the in­famous ‘Edinburgh mob’ loved the ‘entertainment’ of blood, guts and gore. And there was plenty pro­vided, especially at the Mercat Cross.

You are free to leave on free weekends after all classes and scheduled events have ended. You are required to return for Monday’s classes. You should leave an itinerary with the JMU professor in Edinburgh or St Andrews, and if possible, contact information (names and phone numbers) so we can contact you in case of emergency. Students are advised to take the JMU professors’ telephone numbers when they travel, and keep an emergency money supply for the last day/night of the trip.


Semester in Scotland (Summer 2018)

Tuition and fees for the Summer Semester in Scotland include University tuition for the required number of credit hours (13 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. 


Virginia Resident

Non-Virginia Resident

Undergraduate Tuition  (13 cr)



Study Abroad Program Fee:



Semester in Scotland Cost:



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

Summer 2018: Program Closed.

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 Semester Abroad Program application consists of the following components:

  • General Applicant Information

  • Essay - Pick one of the three essay topics and answer it in 500 words. 

    • 1. How would you describe Britain's role in the world?

    • 2. What do you see as Britain's greatest gift to the world? 

    • 3. Which living or dead Briton (i.e. Welsh, English, N-Irish or Scot) stands out to you/ do you most admire? 

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

  • Non-JMU students are required to submit an Official Transcript from their current unversity. 

apply now 


Fletcher Linder,, 540-568-5270

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