Dr. Kimberly Urban
21 April 2017
The Global Education Office and the VCU Wilder School of Government and Public Policy are pleased to offer a unique opportunity to explore the special relationship between British and American intelligence in a summer study abroad program in the United Kingdom.
In this British-American Intelligence course, you will be opened up to new intellectual and social horizons and new points of view, both through conversations with your course professors, and with other international students.
There is no other place like it. Once you have lived and studied at Oxford, it will be part of you forever. The City of Oxford with its inspiring architecture along High and Broad streets, the shops on Cornmarket Street, Blackwell’s bookstore, Magdalen Bridge and the Botanic Gardens, punting on the Thames River that winds its way through the city and colleges are some of the things that you will come to remember.
We will all be embarking on a new VCU intelligence course at Oxford that will foster continuing and productive relations between the UK and US in the future. Many of you will be working in the US Intelligence Community. I will be there to support and guide you. I look forward to sharing my passion for the intelligence mission with you. As an Applied, Cultural Anthropologist I look forward to returning to the UK and visiting places in and around Oxford, London and other sites in England that are so rich in historical and intelligence significance. Though the Oxford Summer School course work is demanding, you will also have the opportunity to do some additional exploring beyond the university.
*This course is not officially affiliated with Oxford University.
Course and credit options
HSEP 391: British-American Intelligence: An Overview and Examination of the Special Relationship (6 undergraduate credits), taught by Dr. Urban
HSEP 692: British-American Intelligence: An Overview and Examination of the Special Relationship (6 graduate credits), taught by Dr. Urban
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.
This course will provide an overview of the form, function, purpose, and general capabilities of British and American Intelligence Communities. We will focus on how each organization helps its policymakers make informed national security decisions and how each has succeeded and failed in supporting national security and British-American interests.
Dr. Kimberly Urban (VCU), British professors, and current/former intelligence professionals will provide real world insights into a variety of intelligence topics and facilitate discussions and case studies that will reinforce key course learning outcomes. Students may also have the opportunity to engage an intelligence simulation competition with other universities. Graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to apply for this Oxford course. The students will gain valuable, practical insights into intelligence work. We will discuss and analyze intelligence issues by applying various tools and techniques while developing critical thinking skills through a critical thinking tool used by intelligence analysts widely in the US Federal Government. This course also incorporates excursions to relevant sites including London for a spy tour, Bletchley Park, (used in filming The Imitation Game), and Churchill’s War Rooms. (At this time, this course is not affiliated with a particular Oxford College, but will be held at Wolfson College.) Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former Head of NSA and the CIA endorses this course.
Students must be enrolled in a university either in the US or abroad at the undergraduate or graduate level. This program is open to all students of all majors. Students must be at the sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student level. Students must complete a letter of intent with their application materials.
An academic letter of reference is required. Please submit this with your application materials after submitting the online form. This program is open to non-VCU students.
Accommodations and Meals
Accommodations include housing in Oxford, England. Students will be responsible for their own meals.
Kimberly A. Urban’s career in private industry, academia, and the federal government has been devoted to applied social science and intelligence analysis, R&D and training/teaching. In 2015, Dr. Urban developed and taught this new British-American intelligence course at Oxford with guest lecturers from Oxford University, Brunell University, British intelligence, and military officers. This marked the first time an intelligence course had been taught at Oxford. Simultaneously, Dr. Urban initiated and led an intelligence-law enforcement simulation competition focusing on Mexico violence. Dr. Urban also developed and taught a new Italian-American Intelligence course in lovely Sorrento, Italy in summer 2016
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.