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Summer Sessions

Summer Sessions

The Maymester, first session, and second session course schedules will be available in YES. Please note that course offerings are subject to change. In rare instances courses are canceled due to a variety of factors, including insufficient enrollment. See the Summer Sessions calendar for additional important dates.

Maymester Abroad
Jan 12, 2023 by 4:00 p.m. Deadline to apply for Maymester scholarships 
Jan 31, 2023 Deadline to apply for a Maymester course* 
Feb 15, 2023 Deadline to complete the Commitment to Attend form 
TBD Deposit fee assessed to Student Accounts invoice 

*The application deadline is only for off-campus and abroad Maymester courses. Online course registration for on-campus Maymester and summer courses will take place TBD.

Students must submit all application materials, including personal statement and academic references, by January 31. A link to each course’s application is available in the Courses section below. Professors will accept students on a rolling basis. Additional requirements will apply after acceptance.

Once students have been accepted into a Maymester course, they must confirm their acceptance by signing a virtual “Commitment to Attend” by February 15, 2023. This commitment will appear on the student’s GEO application once she or he has been accepted into the course.

Students are strongly encouraged to sign this document as soon as possible in order to accommodate waitlisted students. If a student fails to sign this document by the February 15 deadline, his or her position in the course may be made available to waitlisted students.

Please note: Under-enrolled courses may be cancelled. Students who have applied to such courses will be notified at the earliest opportunity. Students who have financial holds or are on social or academic probation are ineligible for Maymester courses. Acceptance into a Maymester course is also contingent on the instructor's approval.

If a student withdraws from the Maymester course after the February 15 commitment deadline, he or she will forfeit a $500 deposit fee.*

The deposit fee will be assessed directly to your Student Accounts invoice, and will be billed on or around June 1. The deposit fee applies only to those who withdraw after the specified deadline. Those who withdraw before the deadline will not be assessed the fee.

Vanderbilt University charges a deposit fee in order to get an accurate count of participants to plan our programs effectively. Students who back out of a program after committing may jeopardize both the planning and the pricing of the program, which affects other students. We impose a monetary penalty on those who withdraw after the deadline as a way of ensuring that we count only those who are serious about attending.

*Vanderbilt reserves the right to bill students for any unrecoverable costs, even if these costs amount to more than the $500 base withdrawal fee.

Vanderbilt will provide, on a competitive basis, scholarships to help undergraduate students pay the costs of studying abroad during the summer, including the Maymester courses. The Global Summer Fellows Program will provide university stipends that can be used to offset the costs of Vanderbilt-approved, credit-bearing, summer study and Maymester programs. These are competitive awards based on the student's essay, major, and letters of reference, and are linked to the student's financial need.

Read more about the scholarships and access the scholarship application.


ANTH/EES 2114: Above and Below the Surface: The Caribbean between Climate Change and Tourism

This course takes place on the Caribbean Island of Utila, Honduras. Students will explore island life both above and below the surface. As part of this course students will be trained and certified in scuba diving, learning about the underwater world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, its ecological role and endangerment, as it pertains to tourism, colonialism as well as global warming. Above the surface we will be exploring the islands historical and socio-economic settings as their relate to its ecology. To complicate our views of Caribbean Island life we will apply a historical lens, exploring how colonial systems have extended into the present, including the tourism and the ecological crises it carries with it (energy, waste, habitat destruction), always moving back and forth between above and below the ocean’s surface.

Students will learn how to scuba dive in a responsible and safe manner, applying these new skills toward exploring the effects of human activities (including global warming) on the ocean’s most productive bio-systems -coral reefs. As such, students have described this course as life changing: Learning to scuba dive and literally see the world from a different perspective and angle. The Caribbean constitutes a fragile and threatened environment, home of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. Through their long colonial histories, islands such as Utila became part of the historical imaginations of “The West,” inspiring the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” while becoming one of the most important tourist destinations worldwide. Yet, these islands are threatened by environmental degradation, natural disasters such as hurricanes, caused or exacerbated by some of the same activities that provide for their current economic survival -tourism. Experiencing the wonders of these ecosystems above and below the surface first hand, interacting with local scientists and activists will shape student’s awareness of the fragility of our world, including what it means to be human. Students will be scuba diving, swimming with wild dolphins, hiking, and kayaking through mangroves. They will help clean up beaches, explore the waste management system of the island, learn about the provision of goods and energy, as well as investigate affiliated issues of social inequality and environmental degradation and endangerment. Through this course, students will gain a greater appreciation of the diversity, complexity and fragility of life on our planet. Additionally, they will gain a better understanding of theirrole as a consuming and producing human amidst a complex ecological system.

Check out this youtube link for a past experience:

Approximate total cost: $12,629




ASIA 1480 - Discover Korea

Discover South Korea: the home of BTS, BLACKPINK and Twice, the country behind ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Parasite’, and the origin of Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motors, etc. A dynamic and innovative country, South Korea has captured the hearts of countless enthusiasts around the world with its popular culture. Superstars such as BTS, BLACKPINK and Twice are at the forefront of the K-Pop sensation, while works such as ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Parasite’ have brought K-Drama and K-Movie into the international spotlight more than ever before. Moreover, South Korea has undergone remarkable economic transformation over the past few decades, turning into one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies. Today, South Korea is one of the US’s largest trading partners and is a global leader in IT technology. South Korea also has a storied history and lies at the center of one of the world’s most complex geopolitical situations. The security alliance between the US and South Korea is notable for its longevity and key role on the Korean peninsula. This program offers one week of basic Korean language education, as well as various cultural and business excursions such as K-pop dance class, cooking class, famous site visits in Seoul, three-day overnight trip, day trips, etc. Students will be able to further develop a fresh perspective and appreciation for South Korea and its culture, history and economy through a uniquely immersive experience. For more information about the excursions, please visit or contact Dr. Seok Bae Jang at

Approximate total cost: $12,738




ASIA 1781: Sacred Space in India

India is a nation rich with religious diversity. The birthplace of Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Sikh traditions, home to one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, and the site of the only non-European Catholic Basilica, the country is a model of both harmony and tensions between religious communities. This dynamic manifests in both landscape and architecture. Holy sites boast of inclusive spaces and syncretic architectural forms while at the same time bearing the scars of communal conflicts and competing claims to sacred space. This course is an investigation into the construction of sacred space in India through architecture, ritual activity, and social understanding. The course asks, “What marks a place as sacred?” and “What are the social dynamics of marked sacred space in a secular and religiously diverse nation?” Of particular interest are the sites that people understand both as place of worship and places of tourism, where we ask, “How does official tourism development of a sacred site interact with the practices of religious people there?” The course will travel to India to observe the spaces and practices. We begin with modern buildings in New Delhi before travelling through Kurukshetra, the site of the delivery of the Bhagavadgita, en route to the famous Golden Temple of the Sikhs. These sites, with oscillating histories of conversation and violence, set the backdrop for travel into Rajasthan and Western Uttar Pradesh where students will observe Fatehpur Sikri, a site famous for the emperor Akbar’s attempt to cultivate religious tolerance, the neighboring sacred sites of Ajmer and Pushkar, juxtaposing Muslim and Hindu claims to space, and the temples at the Royal Palace of Jaipur. To gain exposure to an even greater sense of India’s diversity, the course will make its way to South India. Stopping to visit the famous rock-cut temples and monasteries at Ajanta, Ellora, and Elephanta, home to medieval Hindu and Buddhist communities, the course travels to Chennai to observe South Indian Hindu temples and compare them with those in the north, to observe Christian spaces in urban settings, and to explore the ancient sites of Mahabalipuram and Kancipuram. 

Approximate total cost: $12,273




BSCI 3228: Corals, Koalas, and Cassowaries: Biodiversity of Australia

Come swim with the turtles in the Great Barrier Reef, hike the Red Center of Australia’s outback, hug a koala, and explore the lush tropical rainforest. Australia is considered a megadiverse country; it is home to a huge variety of unique organisms: from the koalas to the cassowaries. It is surrounded by three oceans and holds some of the most diverse ecosystems. Experiencing the marvels of these ecosystems and participating in field research, learning about local and indigenous conservation will heighten your awareness of the oddities and fragility this continent. You will be snorkeling, hiking, canoeing, learning about the Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime, canopy surfing, living on the largest sand island on the Great Barrier Reef, and flying from islands to island all to uncover the wonders of the world down under. 

Approximate total cost: $13,703




CLAS 3700: Uncovering Greek Religion: Cults, Festivals, and Sanctuaries in the Ancient World

This course introduces students to the history, archaeology, art, and architecture of ancient Greece from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman Empire by studying these subjects through the lens of ancient Greek religion. At its very heart, it will analyze the development and diversity of the Greek religious experience: its gods, its rituals, its temples. Nevertheless, we also will evaluate the significance of Greek religion in other aspects of ancient Greek society, including social and political themes, especially as no division between church and state existed. We also will study other areas of Greek culture deeply affected by religion, including the economy, the military and athletics. We will study how Greek religion both changed and held on to its past links, from the Mycenaean period through the Classical Age to the early years of Christianity, a fascinating continuity of religion for millennia.

Approximate total cost: $11,870




CLAS 3730: The Roman to Medieval Near East - The Caesarea Excavations, Israel

From the earliest years of the Roman Empire through the fall of the Crusader Kingdom in the Holy Land, Caesarea on the north coast of Israel was a thriving hub of power and innovation. One of the largest ports on the eastern Mediterranean seaboard, Caesarea was a booming harbor that received frequent traffic from throughout world. It was the shining creation of Herod the Great, the capital of the province of Judaea, a hotspot for Jewish resistance to Roman rule, a destination for St. Peter’s mission and a Late Antique center for Christian scholarship, a major marketplace under the Islamic caliphates, and a formidable fortress for western knights. Caesarea was thus a microcosm of the dramatic changes that swept through the region over fourteen centuries and define our world today. 

Approximate total cost: $11,726




CMA 3891: Special Topics in Film Production: Non-Fiction Storytelling in Costa Rica

A short drive north of the Costa Rica-Panama border, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is wedged between the Caribbean Sea and the inland mountains that are home to the Bribri Indigenous Reserve. Formerly a small fishing village cut off from the rest of Costa Rica by mountains and jungle, it is now a vibrant mix of Indigenous Costa Ricans, Afro-Caribbean descendants, European immigrants, and visitors who come for the nearby national parks, unique Caribbean culture, and the famous Salsa Brava surfing waves. The water is beautiful, the beaches are lush with palm trees, iguanas, and other natural life – and in either direction along the coast sits a gorgeous national park. In this course we will explore nonfiction storytelling as a method to tell engaging, character driven stories highlighting changemakers who are working on environmental and cultural conservation initiatives impacting the surrounding Costa Rican communities. Students will learn practical media production skills with an emphasis on the documentary mode of production - its forms, history, and styles - and the potential this filmmaking approach can have as a tool for social impact on a global stage. Significance will be placed upon exploring the various Costa Rican landmarks and terrain, immersing ourselves in the community and culture of the region, and ultimately creating socially-conscious film/media projects highlighting changemakers and community leaders in Puerto Viejo. No pre-requisites or prior filmmaking experience is required. 

Approximate total cost: $11,699




EES 3865: Field Investigations Brazilian Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Threats, Challenges and Sustainable Practices

We are currently amidst a global biodiversity and climate crisis, while demands for natural resources and lands continue to grow. Brazil is one of the world’s most biodiverse nations, and its natural ecosystems provide important ecosystem services, including carbon storage, on a global scale. It is also a country of large social inequalities, and with an economy still based on the exploitation of natural resources and lands. How are Brazilian governments, NGOs and local stakeholders working to reconcile the protection of Brazil’s biodiversity and ecosystem services with economic development and social justice? In this course, students will take advantage of Prof. Jorge’s 20-year expertise on Brazilian biodiversity and environmental issues, and explore those questions while visiting Brazil’s capital, Brasília, and three major Brazilian biomes: the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest and the Pantanal. Students will visit Environmental Agencies, NGOs, National Parks, ecotourism facilities, and agricultural settlements, to talk to people and learn about Brazil’s biodiversity, ecosystem services, threats, challenges and actions proposed and implemented to reconcile environmental preservation, social justice and economic development.

Approximate total cost: $13,723

Course website




EUS 2260:  Migration, International Health, and Social Justice, Geneva, Amsterdam, Florence, and Rome

In this Maymester, Professor Robert Barsky will invite students to study international law, migration, international trade, public health, medicine and human rights. We will have meetings with top officials from all of the major UN and NGO offices located in Amsterdam, Geneva, Copenhagen, Florence and Rome. 

In Geneva, the students will be introduced to the international legal and non-governmental organizations that uphold international laws, notably the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations, UNICEF, the International Labor Organization, the World Trade Organization, Doctors Without Borders, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Students will meet with high-ranking officials from those organizations, and witness firsthand the kinds of work that is directed from the Geneva offices.

We will then travel to Amsterdam and The Hague, which hosts many UN and NGO offices that are of interest for this course ( Students will also be invited to meet with professors at the VU Amsterdam’s migration and Ethnicity unit.

From Amsterdam we travel to Copenhagen, to work with researchers in human rights and refugee law.

From Copenhagen we travel to Florence, for meetings with the International Organization for Migration, and UNICEF, IRC and the Innocenti Research Centre of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

We will complete our work in Rome by returning to refugee and migration studies, and we’ll be introduced to the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, the International Organization for Migration Rome office, the Migration, Asylum and Social Integration Center, IFAD, WFP, IDLO and other migration organizations in the country that is at the flashpoint of the current crises.

Approximate total cost: $15,457




SPANISH 3302: Spanish for Oral Communication through Cultural Topics

This Maymester course is taught in Alicante, Spain. This gorgeous coastal city is the capital city of the beautiful Costa Blanca, located on the eastern coast of Spain. Few other cities can boast such exciting and famous festivals, beautiful miles of sunny beaches, quaint old- world Spanish boroughs, and a richness of early architecture. The main objective of this class is to increase the Spanish level of oral proficiency in Spanish through the study of Spanish cultural, political, and historical events. As a conversation class, the students will be graded on several activities that will serve as catalysts to develop their oral proficiency. These activities will stimulate students to analyze, discuss and present different arguments from the material covered in class. Furthermore, in order to take advantage of the location of this course, students will be asked to interview Spaniards using information from a variety of   authentic materials ranging from written news, radio and television broadcasts, documentaries, and feature films studied in class to prepare for their weekly presentations. By the end of this course, students should have greatly improved their oral proficiency, their knowledge about Spanish culture, and their strategies for effective oral communication.

Approximate total cost: $10.340




SPAN 3325: The Way of Saint James

Leave behind your everyday life. Become aware of yourself, of your own limits, and go beyond them! Pilgrimage to Santiago has deeply influenced the spiritual and physical landscapes of Spain and has remained until today as a major heritage site that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year for diverse reasons. Having this is mind, this course explores, from a multidisciplinary point of view, the origins, development, and influence of The Way of Saint James in the life, and culture of Spain. Through a close examination of the religious and political discourse, history, art, literature, and films, students will learn how the cult of Saint James and the route itself has contributed to shape Spanish national identity, and to dynamize Spanish modern economy.

The program will take place in Spain during 4 weeks (May 8 th to June 3 rd) and it will include a walking trip along several sections of the medieval route known as the French Way, more than 200 miles in which students will have to immerse themselves in the culture of the Way. Additionally, students will visit several major Spanish cities relevant to the history of the route (Pamplona, Burgos, León, and Santiago) and Madrid. In total, we will cross four autonomous communities and experience first-hand the revitalization of northern Spain thanks in part to this pilgrimage route.

During the course, the physical route will be the classroom where we will discuss the socio-cultural significance of this millenary tradition. In addition, at the end of the walking route, students will participate in a cooking workshop with a local chef to learn how to prepare some of the local culinary traditions. 

Approximate total cost: $11,830




SPANISH 3330: Cultural Studies in the Andes

Cultural Studies in the Andes will offer students an interdisciplinary course of study tailored to Vanderbilt’s curricular needs and the specific characteristics and interests of the students attending it. It will also offer students the opportunity to study and live in a small city that is both an ancient cultural capital and one of the most active tourist destinations in the world. In this course students will explore different forms of cultural production in the Hispanic world, with a focus on the Andean region and a strong emphasis on hands-on learning. Some of the issues discussed will be the lessons of cultural anthropology and archaeology to explore the past and understand the present, popular and elite art production, the importance of festive culture in the region, as well as questions of gender and society.

Approximate total cost: $11,600




THTR 3282: Theatre and Performance in the U.K.

London, Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. These cities anchor a diverse range of cultural performances in which students of this Maymester course will immerse themselves. As spectators for theatrical plays and musicals, sporting events, pub entertainment, and site-specific tours, students will contemplate the cultural roles played by spectators and cultural knowledge gained through engaged spectatorship. How does live performance introduce a city to its visitors, and how do performances envelop visitors in local communities and shape their perceptions of the host city and its inhabitants?

We’ll engage these questions and many more while attending:

  • London’s West-End musicals and plays
  • Fringe offerings at London’s Royal Court and Kiln Theatres.
  • State-funded performances at the National Theatres of London, Scotland, and Ireland.
  • Sporting events like soccer at Wembley Stadium, hurling in Ireland, and a Highland games festival in Scotland. 
  • Evenings of traditional storytelling, music, and dance.
  • Exhibits at institutions like the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and British Library, and the National Museums of Scotland and Ireland.
  • Themed walking and bus tours of famous sites like Hampton Court and Edinburgh Castle and natural wonders like the Cliffs of Mohr and the Giant’s Causeway.
  • A visit to the famed Harry Potter film studio near London.
  • Dedicated free time to explore each destination.

See Trailer and Blog for more details.

Approximate total cost: $13,063


For questions related to any of the specific Maymester courses listed above, please consult the professor for the course. If you are seeking general information about Maymester courses, you may contact either Dean Roger Moore or Dean Carrie Russell, College of Arts and Science, 350 Buttrick Hall, or the GEO staff in the Student Life Center.