Italy: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Art of the Renaissance

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Note: The early fall 2014 application cycle is now closed. Check back in the fall for information about upcoming study abroad programs.

Travel to Italy to experience the profound transformation of human consciousness in the Renaissance, its antecedents, and consequences in global culture today. By integrating historical, philosophical, artistic and psychological viewpoints, this course provides an overview of the development of human consciousness as revealed through art while applying an in-depth look at the radical transformation in western civilization that occurred in the Renaissance, especially from 1300-1600 C.E. in Italy. Focus will be emphasized on the fine arts in Italy, but will also consider architecture, philosophy and other facets of social and political life.

The course is experiential, both faculty-led and independent, and will be based in Florence with excursions to several towns in Northern Italy concluding with four days in Rome. This authentic encounter of Renaissance art and culture provides a unique opportunity for students to directly experience an historic and unprecedented flowering of human consciousness and the great art it engendered. Simultaneously, through the immersion experience in Italy, students will develop a cultural sensitivity, historical awareness, aesthetic discernment, attunement to stages of consciousness, and the sense of belonging to the emerging global culture in the post-modern world.

Academic contentStatue

The program is organized, directed and taught by UWT Lecturer Lauren Montgomery, Ph.D. Consisting of a 7-credit course, the following topics will be addressed:

  • A brief history of the evolution of human consciousness: China, Egypt, Greece, the Middle Ages, Renaissance Europe, the Baroque, the modern and the post-modern world.
  • Giotto and the Early Renaissance, Massacio, Lippi, Fra Angelico.
  • Humanism, the Medici Court and Neo-Platonism.
  • How to look at, interpret and appreciate fine art, Berensen's concept of tactile values.
  • Techniques of painting and sculpture in the 15th century (Cennini).
  • Basics of drawing as a way to experience art.
  • A survey of Renaissance art, artists and architecture and an analysis of the human consciousness it reflects.
  • A brief history of Rome, the Papacy and its patronage of the arts.
  • The High Renaissance, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Late Renaissance and baroque artists Caravaggio and Bernini.
  • Transition to modern art and the ongoing process of human consciousness initiated in the Renaissance.

Students receive 7-credits for the following course:

  • TIAS 485 - Study Abroad in the Social Sciences (I&S)

Five of the seven credits count toward the upper level course requirements for the psychology major. Students should check with their academic adviser for placement of credits within their degree program.

Program schedule

The program will begin in Florence on Aug. 28th and end in Rome on September 17th. Students will need to leave the U.S. on Aug. 27th in order to arrive in Italy on Aug. 28th. While in Florence, there will be side trips to Assisi and Sienna, and possibly one or two other cities in the north. Because this is a short, yet intensive program, students are expected to participate in all group activities and attend all group events, excursions and field tours. Students should keep in mind that the purpose of the program is academic (consisting of 7-credits) and that they will have the same amount of reading and homework to complete as they would during a regular quarter. Due to the compressed time frame, there will be a considerable time demand on students, but efforts will be made to allow for time to rest and for some sightseeing other than that scheduled in the course.

At least two (possibly three) required informational seminars will be held on campus prior to departure at weekly intervals.

Student eligibilityItalian art

Students from any UW campus and any major may apply; however, a limited number of students will be accepted to the program. Participants are selected on the basis of academic preparation, scholarship, motivation, and financial responsibility.


Note: The early fall 2014 application cycle is now closed. Check back in the fall for information about upcoming study abroad programs.

Applications are due on March 10, 2014 *April 21, 2014. Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until April 21 or until the program is full. Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions on a rolling basis. Please note: Detailed instructions for scheduling and completing the interview can be found on the application. Click the "Apply Now" button below to begin. (*Deadline has been extended.)

Apply Now

Travel documents and insurance

All program participants must have a valid passport in order to travel to Europe. No visa or other paperwork is required for U.S. citizens.

Study abroad insurance coverage is a UW requirement. We recommend students take advantage of the UW Study Abroad Insurance, as an easy and affordable option. Students with personal insurance that covers expenses for emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, injury, illness or death while participating in study or research abroad can petition for a UW Study Abroad Insurance waiver. If the petition is granted, the student will be exempt from the requirement to purchase the UW Study Abroad Insurance Plan. [Additional information...]

Program costItalian statue

The total cost of the program is $4,030.

Included in the cost of the program:

  • course fee (in lieu of tuition) for 7-credits
  • housing
  • in-country transportation for field trips
  • museum and historical site entrance fees
  • full American breakfast each day and welcome/farewell dinners

Not Included in program fees:

  • airfare
  • meals (except as described above)
  • ground transportation (except as described above)
  • costs of travel documents (passport, visas)
  • study abroad insurance
  • personal spending money

Payment schedule

Amount Due
Administrative Fee
$250 upon acceptance to program
Program Fee
$3,780 October 10, 2014

Method of payment: The Administrative Fee of $250 is due upon acceptance to the program. This payment can be made in person or by mail and will need to be paid by personal check, cashier's check, or money order made payable to University of Washington Tacoma. Please write "Italy Early Fall 2014" in the memo line of the check.The Administrative Fee of $250 must accompany your acceptance confirmation and payment contract for the program. Please submit the check along with the appropriate paperwork to our office in GWP 102 or by mail to:

International Programs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

For other methods of payment, please contact Tracey Norris, Study Abroad Coordinator, at 253-692-4426.

The Program Fee will be charged automatically to your student account upon registration and can be paid online through your MyUW account. Please note: Students do not register themselves for this program. The Office of International Programs will register the student once the Administrative Fee and all appropriate program documents have been received.

Financial aid

Students receiving financial aid which they intend to apply toward the program cost should consult with a financial aid adviser before applying to the program. Some sources of funding, i.e. the GI Bill, may not cover the cost of study abroad programs. Check with a financial aid advisor to understand how your funds apply toward study abroad. Please bring the student financial aid budget form with you to your meeting. [Click to view and print]

Be aware that you may not receive financial aid in time to cover initial program costs. You should be prepared to pay your expenses out of pocket until your financial aid is dispersed. The deadline for program payment cannot be waived or postponed.

Refund conditions for fees

Once you confirm your participation in the program:

  1. If you withdraw prior to April 21st, 2014, all payments, less the $250 Administrative Fee, will be refunded to you.
  2. If you withdraw on or after April 21st, but prior to August 28th, 2014, you are obligated to pay 50% of the total cost of the program.
  3. If you withdraw on or after August 28th, 2014, you are obligated to pay the full cost of the program. No refunds will be given for unused accommodations, meals or other fees and services.

Notice of Withdrawal from the program MUST be made in writing and submitted to our office in GWP 102 or by mail to:

International Programs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Changes in costs or scope of the program

In the event of significant devaluations of the dollar, some adjustments to program activities may be necessary. If there are any political events that might compromise the safety of the participants, a rescheduling or cancellation of the program may be necessary. If such changes occur, students will be notified of the changes and options will be presented.

Program cancellation

If viable enrollment is not reached by April 21, 2014, the program will be cancelled. Participants will be notified and the Administrative Fee will be refunded.

Equal opportunity and disability accommodations

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process contact the Disability Support Services Office at least ten days in advance.