Duke in Rome

Duke University’s Departments of Classical Studies, Art and Art History, and History, together with Duke University’s Global Education for Undergraduates, offer a four-week, one-course summer program in the city of Rome and on the Bay of Naples in Italy.

The program invites participants of all backgrounds to discover and explore monuments and other material remains that embody ancient Roman history and culture and to reflect on the influence of the ancient Roman world on later periods of European history, literature, art, and architecture. Although some background in Latin, Roman history, and/or Italian art and archaeology is a plus, the course is designed to give any student a firm understanding of Roman civilization and its role in shaping fundamental aspects of Western culture.

Most teaching and learning will take place at archaeological sites; museums; re-purposed ancient buildings, such as churches; and “restored” classical monuments. We begin in the Bay of Naples, so as to investigate Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other cities famously “buried” in the eruption of Vesuvius. The second part of the course is based in Rome itself. Day trips may include Naples, Cuma, Paestum, Tarquinia, and Tivoli. A main goal of the program is the joint study of the multiple layers of history and culture reflected in major monuments from overlapping eras and cultures, from antiquity to the present.



Course and Credit


Rome: History of the City

This course examines the history of the Roman city, especially the city of Rome, from the earliest times to the present day. Rome is prominent as one of the supreme centers of urban culture in the western world. Here, as nowhere else, one can read a continuous record of the successive rises, declines, and re-emergences of the city in its Italian context and as a central expression of our civilization. In this course, the students will experience the history of the city directly and personally through walking lectures and guided tours of major sites, monuments, and museums. Visits to other ancient sites in Italy help students visualize Roman urban realities and ideals. The sites themselves function as "text"; we experience and analyze Rome and other cities in a "hands-on" fashion that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. This hands-on approach allows us to think about the lives of everyday Romans as we not only view the monuments built by and for the wealthy but also walk among the bars, taverns, bakeries, and public toilets that were part of the everyday lives and routines of the non-elite.

We begin our trip in Latium and Campania, for we cannot understand Rome without seeing other sites that convey the contributions of Latin, Greek, and Etruscan cultures to it. The fortified hill towns Ferentinum and Teanum exemplify Rome’s indigenous background. In Campania we encounter Greek sites that influenced Rome (Cumae, Paestum). Here we also find Herculaneum, Pompeii, and other cities whose catastrophic burial by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 has preserved striking evidence of Roman daily life. Proceeding to Rome, we explore the city itself and some of its important environs: the Etruscan sites of Tarquinia and Cerveteri; the Latin hills; and Roman dependencies like Ostia and Tivoli. These locations convey the central theme of the course: The emergence and development of Roman civilization, the impact of other cultures upon it, and the endless fascination this “head of the world” (caput mundi) has evoked in visitors through the centuries. Attention will be given to the idea of Rome as it emerges in the literature and propaganda of various periods, from antiquity to the present. We will also spend some of our time looking at religious practices, voluntary associations, and economic life in the Roman city, noting in particular the place of Christianity in Rome from its earliest centuries to the emergence of a Christian empire after Constantine. Taught by Prof. Ross Wagner. One course credit.



To explore and understand monuments and other material remains substantiating ancient Roman history, culture, politics, religion, and daily life, and to reflect on the influence of the ancient Roman world up to the modern day. Students should finish the course with a firm understanding of Roman urban life and its significance to Western (and US) culture.


By the time they finish the course, students should be able to:

  1. Present orally and with a handout a monument or site so that it is intelligible and interesting not only for itself, but also as it illustrates and intersects with other sites, time periods, and regions.
  2. Respond to a presentation, querying it and amplifying its points by reference to other pertinent presentations, readings, and information from the course or elsewhere.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the larger history of Rome and Roman civilization and the dynamics of everyday life in the ancient city.
  4. “Read” an archaeological site. This will involve learning basic types of Roman buildings, construction techniques, and materials and decoration, developing the skills to interpret the chronology of an archaeological site (the chronological relationships among the various buildings and materials on the site) and imagining how people moved through the spaces created by Roman engineers and builders.
  5. Name and identify on a plan and/or in situ the main elements of a Roman city. These include the political center—forum, “senate” building, assembly ground; religious structures—temples, shrines, other sacred spaces; urban infrastructure—roads, aqueducts, sewers, gates, arches, city walls, storehouses; social structures—theaters, amphitheaters, circuses, other spectacle spaces; evidence of daily life and death—apartment buildings and houses, funerary monuments, bars, shops, latrines, bath buildings.
  6. Describe at least two objects from a museum collection (this entails really “looking” at a piece for at least 15 minutes) and explain how those objects relate to the purpose of the collection as a whole.
  7. Recognize in later works (esp. paintings and architecture) references to ancient Rome and interpret the significance of these allusions.
  8. Relate their own experience discovering the ancient and more modern “Roman” world to the experiences of others, especially those whose works we will have read during the course.


Summer 2017

Please see below for the tentative itinerary for summer 2017. Please note that this itinerary is not final and is subject to change.

Duke in Rome Itinerary



See below for meals and accommodations on Duke in Rome summer program.

In Rome, students stay at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (Centro), Via A. Algardi 19, 00152 Roma, Tel. 011-39-06-581-7036; Fax: 011-39-06-580-9306.

The Center includes classrooms, an excellent library and slide collection, email, and other facilities. It is located in the relative cool and quiet of the Janiculum Hill, but frequent bus service connects it with every corner of the city. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included, Monday-Friday.

In Campania, students will stay at the Villa Vergiliana, Via Cuma, 580, 80070 Bacoli, Naples, Tel. and Fax: 011-39-081-854-3102. In Campania, students have all meals included in the program fee.
While in Pompeii, students will be housed at the Hotel Villa dei Misteri, Via Villa dei Misteri, 11, 80045 Pompeii, Naples. Tel.: 011-39-081-861-3593, Fax: 011-39-081-862-2983. In Pompeii, breakfast and one other meal will be provided. For other meals, students will be aided in finding good, inexpensive restaurants.


All participants must have a valid passport. For instructions on how to get a passport, you can go to the U.S. State Department website. The U.S. Department of State recommends that those traveling ensure that their passport has at least six months of validity beyond their dates of international travel to avoid unintended disruptions. No visas are required of U.S. citizens. Non U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visa restrictions are in effect.

International Student Identity Card

An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional for this program. Students may purchase this card for $25 through the ISIC website. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. Please order your card well in advance of your departure.



Summer 2017

Estimates are based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $3,291 $3,291
Program Fee $4,659 $4,659
Transcript Fee N/A $40
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $10,875 $10,915


Program Fee

Included in Program Fee

The program fee for this program includes: 

  • Accommodations
  • Some meals
  • Program transportation
  • International SOS coverage
  • Program-sponsored activities and excursions
  • Orientation program

Not Included in Program Fee

Use the following list to assist with budgeting for expenses outside the program fee. This list contains common examples but should not be considered exhaustive. 

The program fee does not include: 

  • Airfare
  • Airport transportation to/from program site
  • On-site accident and health insurance policy
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Immunizations
  • Visa and/or residency permit
  • Passport
  • Textbooks and class materials
  • Internet usage
  • Mobile phone
  • Laundry
  • Independent travel and entertainment
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Incidentals

Personal Spending

Personal expenses can fluctuate greatly depending upon habits and preferences of the individual. It’s also wise to budget for unexpected expenses such as medical emergencies.

Cost-of-living comparison

Payment Due Dates

Step 1: Within 2 weeks of acceptance to the program, submit the Summer Participation Agreement found in your MyGlobalEd application to confirm your enrollment. A parent/guardian’s co-signature is required. This form takes the place of a deposit.

NOTE: If you withdraw after March 31, you will be charged a cancellation fee of $1,500 for this 1-credit program.  

Step 2: Summer invoices will be sent via email to your Duke email address and home email address. Remit payment to the Bursar per due date and address indicated on your online statement. All financial arrangements involving Duke University must be completed prior to departure for the program.

Duke Bursar’s Office

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving financial aid are eligible for aid for this program (work-study funds must be converted to loans). Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid and the Bursar. Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information. 

Duke Financial Aid Office


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:



For further information about this program, contact the Duke Global Education Office for Undergraduates at 919-684-2174 or contact the faculty director:

Ross Wagner

Associate Professor of New Testament

Susan Pratt

GEO Asst. Director & Regional Manager


Apply Now

Students applying to the Duke in Rome summer 2017 program should submit the following to the Global Education Office, no later than February 1:

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate on this program
  4. Academic letter of recommendation (one)

Non-Duke Applicants:

Non-Duke students must be degree-seeking students in good standing at an accredited college or university. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in study abroad on Duke’s programs.

In order to transfer credit for the courses, they must consult their advisor and/or registrar.

Summer program and scholarship applications, as well as financial aid information for Duke in Rome will be accepted on a rolling admissions basis with a final deadline of February 1.

Applications received after February 1 will be processed on a space-available basis.


GEO policy for graduating seniors who wish to apply for a Duke summer study abroad/away program:

Students must be active, matriculated students in order to participate in any Duke-in summer programs, including Duke’s domestic summer programs. All program courses must be taken for graded credit. If seniors plan to graduate in May of the year they plan to study abroad in the summer, they will not be eligible to participate on any of our summer programs unless they receive approval from their academic dean at Duke to delay their graduation until after the summer program has ended.

Non-Duke students planning to graduate in May in the year they plan to study abroad in the summer must provide approval to delay their graduation until after the summer program has ended from the appropriate official at their home institution. Such approval must be furnished in writing to GEO before the student will be allowed to participate in the summer program. This approval may be sent via email to the appropriate program assistant at GEO.  

Duke students who defer their graduation to participate in study abroad should consult with their financial aid advisor in the Duke Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid to determine whether they are eligible for a summer aid package and/or a GEO summer scholarship.