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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: January Term
  • Restrictions: St. Thomas applicants only
  • Program Cost: January Term
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Minimum GPA: 2.0 Subject Areas: Engineering
Program Sponsor: UST
Program Description:

UST: Roman Engineering, Structures & Society in Italy (ENGR 271)

St. Thomas: ENGR 271: Photo

Program Highlights

  • Curious about the intersection of Italian design and the role of culture in engineering design? Here's your chance to dive into an exciting study of the confluence of engineering and Italian culture in Rome, Pompei, Naples, Florence, Tivoli and Lazio. Site visits include the Coliseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Roman Forum, Castel Sant'Angelo, Sistine Chapel, the ancient city of Pompeii which was buried by the 79 CE eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Michelangelo's David, Brunelleschi’s dome in Naples, traditional Italian villages, and contemporary engineering across the country.
  • Intrigued with understanding the origins of engineering and design? Learn about Italian engineering including Roman engineering of stadiums, aqueducts, roads, bridges, the origin of concrete as well as engineering in the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci's advancement of engineering, transportation, early construction, materials, structural components (foundations, arches, domes), water supply, sewers, sustainability, and contemporary development in high density areas.
  • Learn about Italian culture as a comparative system for engineering design. Participants will utilize Italian language skills and develop new cultural competence as they immerse themselves in the Italian experience.
  • Fulfills: Global Perspective Flag. Mechanical, electrical and computer engineering major elective. Civil engineering may petition for the course to fulfill the fine arts elective with request prior to November 15.  
  • Prerequisites: none 
Academic Overview
Course Description
How has engineering evolved to the discipline that it is today? In this course, students will explore the reciprocal influences of structures, engineering, culture, and society. Learners will discover how people and large-scale projects influence each other, and how a community's environment, history, and values shape an engineering project at every level. In this course, students travel to Italy to study and directly experience the interplay between people and large-scale engineering projects. Rome will serve as the hub of the course, with topical trips to Naples, Florence, and Tivoli. 
Course Objectives
Students in the Roman Structures, Engineering & Society course will:
  • Learn to analyze large scale engineering projects systemically, in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context. Extend this analysis with by examining the interconnections of design, construction, maintenance, craftsmanship, history, and culture.
  • Further develop an ability to communicate and act appropriately and effectively across cultural differences.
  • Reflect on how cultures and their values manifest in all phases and scales of engineering projects, from conception and functional considerations, to individual and group engagement, to acknowledgement and embracing of the projects as common points of personal and cultural identity
  • Practice empathetic listening, observing, and thinking to gain an understanding of how individuals and groups interact and act in accordance with the perceptions and values at all levels of a large-scale, public civil engineering project
  • Imagine and describe ways to apply the lessons from the millennia-long pairing of engineering and civic society in Italy to new and ongoing projects in other countries and contexts
20%     Homework
20%     Collaborative Team Presentations
20%     Learning Journal/Blog
20%     Course Participation
20%     Research Portfolio
Locations and Tentative Dates
January 6, 2022           Depart MSP for Rome
January 7 through 25   Rome with trips to Naples/Pompeii, Florence, Tivoli 
January 26, 2022         Return to MSP                
The total cost breakdown can be viewed on the budget worksheet, linked above. This program has a School of Engineering Dean's Scholarship which covers 50% of the cost of program tuition. Additional need-based scholarships are available for this program, more information will be shared after you have been accepted to the program.

Housing and Meals
Double-occupancy in apartment style accommodations. A welcome dinner and farewell dinner are included, all other meals are at student expense. 

Application Procedures & Deadline
  • Select the Apply Now button at the top to start your online application.
  • Log in using your St. Thomas username and password.
  • Complete all application materials by the application deadline. Students are encouraged to apply during the priority enrollment period, April 1-10, 2018. Applications will be accepted after April 10 for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2018.
  • Download and read Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures. You are responsible for reading, understanding and abiding by its content.

Priority Application Deadline: April 10, 2021
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2021 
Financial Aid/Scholarships
Students studying abroad during J-Term are generally only eligible for additional loans to help finance their study abroad costs. Please review Financial Aid for Study Abroad. Additional aid in the form of scholarships may also be available from St. Thomas and some co-sponsoring organizations. Refer to our Scholarships webpage for details. Review Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures for additional financial aid information.

For more information
On course content, contact: Dr. Deborah Besser at 651-962-7741 or
On application procedures or logistical information, contact:

Office of Study Abroad | University of St. Thomas
Murray-Herrick 212 | 651.962.6450 | |

Sustainability & Study Abroad: CO2 Emissions for This Program
The flights for this program release 1.5841 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, this is equivalent to CO2 emissions from 202,026 smartphone charges. Another way to look at this is that it would take 67.4 bags of waste recycled instead of brought to a landfill OR 60.2 incandescent lamps switched to LEDs to offset these CO2 emissions. We encourage students to make decisions to offset their carbon production from studying abroad. Check out the CoolClimate Network’s carbon footprint calculator to identify and quantify specific behavior changes that can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

This program is currently not accepting applications.