Madrid and Córdoba, Spain
3 credits in GVPA 591
3 June – 18 June 2017
$1,600 + airfare + applicable VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Dr. Damian Pitt
1 April 2017
The Global Education Office and the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, in conjunction with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Universidad de Córdoba (UCO), are pleased to offer an innovative summer study-abroad program that offers students the opportunity to learn how environmental planning is approached and conducted in Spain. Participants will explore general aspects of planning and environmental challenges in Spain, as well as additional topics such as energy planning, water management and conservation, or urban revitalization. Students will collaborate directly with their UPM student counterparts to evaluate environmental and urban planning conditions in a designated neighborhood in Madrid and develop recommendations for improving those conditions through local planning measures. The program also will include a number of site visits and tours to introduce students to Spanish culture and history more generally, including tours of the Museo del Prado in Madrid and La Mezquita in Córdoba.
Course and credit options
- GVPA 591 Sustainable Urban and Regional Development in Spain (3 credits)
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.
The Sustainable Urban and Regional Development in Spain course will focus on two regions of the country – Madrid and Córdoba (Andalucía).During much of the course, students will work with students and faculty from the host institution, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM, the Technical University of Madrid), to explore environmental and urban planning issues through an analysis and planning exercise for a case study neighborhood in the Madrid region.
The program will take place primarily at UPM but four days will be spent in and around the city of Córdoba, to which we will travel by high speed rail. The University of Córdoba (La Universidad de Córdoba or UCO) is one of VCU’s international University Strategic Partner institutions. Classes and excursions, organized in conjunction with colleagues at both universities, will relate to a number of environmental issues and concerns in urban and regional planning, such as neighborhood revitalization, bicycle and pedestrian planning, water and energy conservation, and rural development.
The course is open to both graduate and upper division undergraduate students. Graduate students must be enrolled in Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental Studies, Public Health, or similar program at VCU or another university. Undergraduate students should be upper division (junior or senior) and have at least two college courses in urban/regional studies & planning, environmental studies, or equivalent. Student applications will be subject to instructors’ approval.
An academic letter of reference is not required. This program is open to non-VCU students.
Accommodations and meals
Accommodations include rooms in a hotel within walking distance of the UPM campus and in central Córdoba. Meals will be purchased individually in restaurants and in student cafeterias when on the university campuses, with the exception of three group dinners that will be covered as part of the program.
Dr. Pitt is a professor of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning at VCU. He focuses on environmental planning, particularly as it relates to energy and climate change. He is the co-founder of the Environmental Planning in Spain program, and was the co-instructor of the course in the summer of 2016. In the summer of 2014 he assisted with the VCU-VERDE study-abroad program at the Universidad de Córdoba, and traveled to the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in both 2014 and 2015 to develop the framework of this course. He speaks Spanish and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May 2017.
Please note: While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time