Florence: Graphic Design in context
6 credits in Graphic Design
21 May – 21 June 2018
$4,250 (includes tuition) + airfare. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
1 March 2018
Graphic Design in Florence has reached capacity and is no longer accepting applications
. Graphic Design students interested in studying abroad this summer are encouraged to explore the following program options:
The Global Education Office and the Department of Graphic Design, in collaboration with Santa Reparata International School of Art, are proud to present a month-long program in Florence, Italy. Students will have the wonderful opportunity to inspire and fuel their creativity in design, culture and art.
Course and credit options
- GDES 491: Italian Design: Florence Fieldwork Studio (3 credits)
- GDES 417: Interdisciplinary Team Design (3 credits)
Students will receive transfer credit for all coursework completed in this program, eliminating the need to pay VCU’s per-credit tuition rate and the Arts tuition differential. This saves an in-state Arts student more than $3,000 for a six-credit summer program.
In order to receive credit, students must earn the equivalent of a C or better.
GDES 491: Italian Design: Florence Fieldwork Studio (3 credits)
Direct observation & documentation, analysis & interpretation of the Western letterform, particularly the Roman alphabet in its country of origin, to gain insight into the patterns and implications of historical as well as contemporary design environments. Daily exercises, critiques, lectures, discussion, demonstrations and direct engagement with typography and letterforms in Florence’s legendary urban fabric will guide creation of a comprehensive sketchbook—a record of observations, realizations, and experiments in various media.
GDES 417: Interdisciplinary Team Design (3 credits)
A cross-disciplinary survey of current Italian design practices, concepts, and theories, consisting of guest lectures, site visits and presentations by faculty from the departments of Interior Design and Graphic Design. Through Interdisciplinary projects, students will develop an awareness of group problem solving techniques; achieve an understanding of the role of the designer in relation to the community; and learn to define, organize, and manage complex design problems as a team. A series of Interdisciplinary project challenges students to synthesize and apply lessons from the field as members of cross-disciplinary teams.
Students must have a 2.0 GPA and be a rising junior or senior. Applicants will be contacted by the program director for an interview once their application is complete. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the deadline.
This program is only open to VCU students.
An academic letter of reference is not required.
Accommodations and meals
Students will reside in shared, fully furnished apartments with kitchens that are equipped with necessary cooking implements. Meals are not included.
- Housing coordination and assistance are available 24 hours in case of emergency.
- A housing coordinator will assist students with questions and concerns related to their housing before and after arrival in Florence.
- When students arrive at the Florence airport or SRISA, a staff member will be waiting to accompany them to their apartments.
- Welcome packets, which include a few essentials to get each student through the first day or two, are included at each apartment.
Nicole Killian is a designer and artist who focuses equally on commercial projects, personal endeavors and teaching. Nicole’s work investigates the structures and surfaces we communicate with through mobile messaging, the internet, and pop cultural objects and is very active within the Net Art community. She is 50% of the studio Hot Sundae with Amelia Irwin in Brooklyn New York. Hot Sundae is about hard work and hard fun. Nicole’s clients include Brooklyn Academy of Music, New Art Dealers Alliance, Nike, LOGO, Sony/BMG, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Brooklyn Museum, Hurley, the We Are the Youth project, Intel, Boys of Uganda In Leadership Development and many others.
Nicole has been recognized and featured in numerous publications and exhibits including International Design magazine, i-D magazine, AIGA, Tight Artists Net Gang, Promax BDA and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has lectured at North Carolina State University, ATypi Dublin, Rochester Institute of Technology, Maryland Institute College of the Arts, Pratt Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Minneapolis College of Art + Design (MCAD). Nicole was recently a featured designer on Sight Unseen and UK’s Waterfall >> Art Zine.
From 2011-2013 Nicole served as the Visiting Faculty in Graphic Design at MCAD in Minneapolis Minnesota. Nicole received at Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004, finishing at the Bauhaus in Dessau Germany and holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2011.
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 one charge to their student accounts for this program reflecting the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee). This bill will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: 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.