Students in the School of Media Arts and Design have four distinctive international study programs related to the major in which they may participate.  Each one is unique and specifically designed to engage students in the study of media within a cultural context. Each year more than 100 SMAD students elect to study abroad either during an academic semester or summer term.

Semester in London

London is your classroom when you study with JMU. In the Semester in London Program you'll study the great works and examine those great works in context, exploring how history influences the present in Europe's most cosmopolitan city. Our professors take you there, giving you the background and resources to inform your own discovery. Here you will find an extensive resource for students and parents interested in finding out more about our program, as well as helping students in the program prepare for their semester abroad.

Director: Dietrich Maune,

Summer in Urbino, Italy: Documenting a Community

The Urbino, Italy program engages students in a 4-week program where students choose a three credit experience from among multimedia storytelling (writing, photography, & video), magazine storytelling (longer-form writing & photography), and promotional video (video only - primarily for DVC concentrators). Students are together for many classes, but participate with separate faculty for the three experiences. All students will work with JMU professors Steve Anderson & Rustin Greene, along with a team of media professionals, to create a web documentary on the town of Urbino, Italy. Students become immersed in a town and culture by developing a web documentary or webzine on local issues, people or events. 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 also become friends and guides. Students find the Urbino program to be tremendously immersive and enriching. 

See the student work from summer 2019:

Director: Steve Anderson,

Ireland: Media, Culture and Society

Experience Ireland and its culture for six weeks while earning a combined 6 hours of SMAD, SOCI and/or ENG credits. Selected students will visit major landmarks and cities and come to appreciate Ireland’s rich culture and society by analyzing its films, media, and food.

During their stay, students will collaborate on a media based project with the Galway division of the nonprofit organization Foróige in order to examine the perspective of young people in today’s Irish society. Students will also examine the social and cultural impact on Galway and its culinary community by being designated a European Region of Gastronomy. The program will provide students a special opportunity to help document the stories of local youth and food vendors in Galway.

Throughout the trip, students will also document the impact of their own journeys and experiences by creating reflexive content in various media formats. This study abroad program is designed to help develop participant’s analytical, media and cross-cultural skills while gaining a greater knowledge of Irish society/culture and self.

Directors: Shaun Wright, | David Trouille,

JMU in LA: The Entertainment Industry

JMU-LA provides undergraduates a chance to learn about, and participate in, one the most powerful cultural forces in our world today: the entertainment industry. This is a highly competitive 9-credit summer program organized by the School of Media Arts and Design.

Approximately 20 students are selected to participate each summer where they take classes taught by industry professionals and work at internships in the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. Applications are accepted from all JMU students who are rising juniors and seniors.

Director: Talé Mitchell,

Co-Directors: Thomas O'Connor, | Sarah O'Connor, 


JMU/SVA in New York: Write & Direct a Short Narrative Film

This course gives SMAD students the opportunity to spend three weeks in New York at the School for Visual Arts and write, direct shoot and edit a short narrative film in a group.

The first week you will continue to work in a group of four and work on finalizing a draft of a short screenplay.The second week you will work with a cinematographer and the shoots will be scheduled during this week. You will have a teacher assistant from SVA accompany the group during the shoots.The third week you will edit the footage of your film and screen the films at the SVA cinema on 23rd street in Manhattan. You will also have the opportunity to work with professional actors in New York for your shorts films.

The following courses are also cross-listed with the theater department. Students are eligible with financial aid for taking 6 credits over the summer.

SMAD 305: Fundamentals of Film Production (3 credits)
SMAD 251 (OR 490): Introduction to Screenwriting (3 credits)

Director: Imelda O'reilly,

Co-director: Joe Foley,

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