Where in the world will you go?

The College of Visual and Performing Arts, along with Syracuse University Abroad, offers a range of programs designed to broaden our students’ global perspectives and introduce them to incomparable learning experiences throughout the world. Students who are committed and have a desire to learn will experience tremendous rewards, both personally and in preparation for professional careers.

Domestic Programs

Global Programs

Summer and Short-Term Programs

Other Opportunities

Syracuse University and the College of Visual and Performing Arts offer a number of additional courses during MAYmester and the summer on campus and online. Visit Summer at Syracuse for more information. The University also offers online courses during winter break. Visit SU Winterlude to learn more.

[Above, music student Amanda Zall shares what she loved about studying abroad in Strasbourg]

Domestic Programs

Aerial view of New York City.

New York City


Named for its founder, drama alumna and Tony Award-winning producer Arielle Tepper ’94, the Tepper Semester is a unique program from the Department of Drama that offers undergraduate students in advanced levels of acting, musical theater, design, and stage management the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous artistic training program in the culturally rich setting of New York City. Students work closely with an accomplished faculty of professional artists who nurture the students’ creative, intellectual, and personal growth. The faculty also helps students gain an understanding of the business skills essential for a rewarding and successful career in the industry.

Museum Studies

Museums and Contemporary Practices is a one-week intensive course offered every year during the MAYmester session. Drawing upon the rich resources of New York City or Washington, D.C., this course presents an overview of current museum practice. The course has been designed for highly motivated college and university undergraduates and graduate students who have a significant interest in museums.


The Gilbert Week: NYC Seminar for Music Professions is a week-long immersion program in New York City for students in the Setnor School of Music. Students learn about career opportunities in music by meeting and learning from arts professionals and visiting some of the world’s leading performing arts institutions and organizations. Gilbert Week is held during Spring Break and is generously supported by Dennis ’73 and Nancy Gilbert ’74.

Students pose for a photo in front of the Washington Monument.
CRS students in front of the Washington Monument during a Maymester course.

Washington, D.C.

Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Political Communication: Inside the D.C. Beltway allows students to examine key sites of political image-making, from campaign advertising and lobbying to public diplomacy and policy promotion. After meeting in Syracuse for the first week of the intensive two-week course, the class will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with experts to determine how current practices reflect and/or complicate the prevailing scholarship. Political Communication: Inside the D.C. Beltway is sponsored through the generous gifts of Paul Leibowitz ’84 and Richard McAuliffe ’90.

Museum Studies

Museums and Contemporary Practices is a one-week intensive course offered every year during the MAYmester session. Drawing upon the rich resources of New York City or Washington, D.C., this course presents an overview of current museum practice. The course has been designed for highly motivated college and university undergraduates and graduate students who have a significant interest in museums.

The Hollywood sign.

Los Angeles

Art and Film and Media Arts

Art Week in LA gives M.F.A. students the opportunity to undertake an intensive investigation of art collections housed in the city’s most significant museums, as well as visit galleries and contemporary studios to hear from prominent artists, curators, and gallery owners, many of whom are accomplished SU alumni. An outgrowth of Art Week in LA, the Turner Semester is a residency program for a small cohort of M.F.A. degree students. The program allows the students to experience the arts of the West Coast and to live and work in San Pedro (the Los Angeles Harbor area) during the fall and spring semesters. Both immersion experiences are generously supported by Marylyn Turner ’56 G’57 and Chuck Klaus G’05.

Illustration, film, and computer art and animation majors may travel to Los Angeles for a two-week industry immersion in animation and film. The themes of self-development, persistence, and networking are presented as students visit such studios as Filmworks FX and Method Studios to see their incredible special effects work on productions for major films and commercials. In addition, the Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester (SULA) is an immersive professional development program that provides students with a unique opportunity to work as interns at a Los Angeles media company while taking entertainment industry-related academic courses taught by professionals.


The highly successful Sorkin in L.A. Learning Practicum, also known as “Sorkin Week,” is generously supported by award-winning writer, director, producer, and drama alumnus Aaron Sorkin ’83 H’12. The practicum provides students with a week-long, “hit-the-studios-running” immersion in the heart of America’s film and television industries. Students selected for the practicum meet and learn from alumni and industry insiders for seminars, workshops, and more.

Summer in LA is a six-week industry immersion program held in and around Hollywood and based at the SU in LA campus in Sherman Oaks. Students participate in regular evening classes with working professionals on audition technique and spend their days participating in a professional internship. Previous internships have provided hands-on experience with agents, managers, producers, casting directors, and various other industry companies.

Music Industry

Students in the Setnor School of Music’s music industry program may take advantage of the Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester (SULA) and participate in an internship with a music or entertainment company.

Global Programs

Berlin, Germany

Art and Film and Media Arts

In this semester-long residency, M.F.A. students work with a local resident faculty; have studio visits with local artists, curators, and writers; and have bi-weekly Skype meetings with faculty. Each student engages the Berlin art world as they develop a professional network and professional skills.


The Florence Cathedral at sunrise.

Florence, Italy

VPA students may take advantage of these semester opportunities offered by Syracuse University’s Florence Center:

Studio Arts

The studio arts program in Florence offers studio art majors and minors an extensive curriculum of courses from beginning to advanced levels in drawing, digital photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and Renaissance painting techniques (egg tempera and fresco technique). The SU Florence art studios are located in the historic art district of Florence, with buildings fully equipped for each course, large windows for light, and private gardens. A core element of the program is participating in on-site field studies, which includes visits to the major museums and the Venice Biennale.

Design (Spring Only)

The design program in Florence offers participants the opportunity to take courses in collaborative design and contemporary design history, complemented by studio and academic electives.

Film and Media Arts (Art Photography)

How does one photographically represent the place? “The Constructed Photograph” uses the techniques of tableaux and commercial photography to convey everyday moments with a sense of grandeur normally found in Florence’s art historical masterpieces. Students taking the course have the opportunity to work in a fully equipped digital lab and photo studio. Visits to local museums, field trips to art events like the Venice Biennale and visiting artist lectures round out the curriculum. There are no prerequisites for the course, and all experience levels are welcome.

Westminster Bridge at sunset, London, UK.

London, England

Syracuse University London offers VPA students the following semester opportunities:

Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Communication is an intercultural, international, and multi-modal phenomenon, and London offers exciting possibilities for communication and rhetorical studies majors. Alumni of the program recognize the value of not only studying communication in London, but also of living and experiencing communication in this diverse, urban, European context. London also provides multiple internship and liberal arts course possibilities for CRS students.

Drama (Fall Only)

Each year, the Department of Drama offers 18 performance majors the opportunity to draw upon the unparalleled theater resources of London. In the London Center: Drama program, students participate in regular classes and workshops at the Globe Theatre. Additionally, students attend performances at a wide variety of London venues, including the National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company; take an on-camera acting class; and have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of academic electives that take advantage of London’s social, cultural, and intellectual heritage.

Drama: Rose Bruford College

Stage management and theater design and technology majors may take advantage of Syracuse Abroad’s World Partner Program with Rose Bruford College. Courses provide hands-on experience and training in the technical aspects of theater, including performance sound, creative lighting control, lighting design, stage management, and theater design.

Design (Spring Only)

The London Center: Design multidisciplinary program developed by the School of Design comprises several areas: industrial and interaction design, interior and environmental design, and communications design. This program offers participants the opportunity to take a course in design history, complemented by studio and academic electives in a world capital renowned for its cutting-edge design. By working in a collaborative studio environment and making frequent excursions into the city, students will better understand London and the United Kingdom by learning how design saturates everyday life and defines people’s experiences in an urban environment. A direct placement program with the London College of Fashion offers students specializing in costume design an opportunity to study costume design and technology during their junior year.

Music Industry

London is the largest center for the music industry outside of the United States. The music industry program gives music industry students in the Setnor School of Music an opportunity to grasp the global aspects of the industry and understand what issues are involved in releasing a product in the United States and in other countries. A special feature for music industry majors is a limited number of internship placements in businesses where students go behind the scenes to learn how music is promoted, produced, marketed, and managed on a global scale.

Students film swans in a river.
VPA film students film on 35 mm during the Prague summer program.

Prague, Czech Republic

Syracuse University Abroad’s World Partner Program through CET allows VPA students to study at FAMU, the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts.

Art Photography

FAMU’s Art Photography Program consists of two core courses (“Fine Art Photography and Imagery,” “Ambiguity and Culture”), a required Czech language course, and two to three elective courses from FAMU’s international program. The core courses focus on analog techniques and darkroom developing. The electives specialize in such areas as digital photography, still life, and restoration. All courses are taught in English.


Film majors interested in 35mm filmmaking can pursue a master workshop that includes 35mm film production through the Film Studies Program with FAMU. The program includes language and culture study and an array of electives ranging from film history and film studies across genres to visual theory to practical workshops in acting and directing.

Bicycles in front of the River and Houses in Strasbourg in Strassbourgh..

Strasbourg, France

VPA students can take advantage of these semester programs at Syracuse University’s Strasbourg Center:

Music Performance, Conservatoire Strasbourg (Spring Only)

The Strasbourg program in music performance and composition is your gateway to Europe’s vital and diverse musical life. Advanced music students combine courses in English at the SU Center with study at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, one of only three écoles supérieures for music in France. Music education majors have the additional opportunity of conducting their field observations in schools in both French and German primary and secondary schools.

In April, when the Conservatoire has its spring vacation, the SU music professor leads the music students on a week-long seminar to such musical centers as Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden. Program dates are early January to the end of May. The Conservatoire’s academic year ends in mid-June, with final performances scheduled in the last half of May and first week of June.

Summer and Short-Term Programs

View of Rio de Janeiro from across the water.

Brazil (Music)

The “Culture, Music, and Art of Brazil” course combines on-campus classes (once a week) with a 10-day trip to Brazil, providing a unique opportunity to experience the cultural heritage of Brazil. The main focus of the course is to understand the diversity of Brazil’s culture, ethnicity, historical facts, and educational settings in relationship to the culture of the United States of America. The course will explore intersections of community music, educational settings, and social inclusion through music along with an examination of social practices that are outcomes of European, African, and Native Brazilian heritage.

The Fountain of Neptune in Bologna, Italy at night.

Bologna, Italy (Film)

In Italian Film Studies and Filmmaking in Bologna, you will attend the world’s most famous classic film festival event, Cinema Ritrovato, while immersing in all aspects of film. At the conclusion of the festival, students choose to focus on either film production or film studies, though all students will participate in a course on Italian Neo Realism and its cinematic legacy. Those focusing on film production will work with the “Complete Your Fiction” production group and will be mentored by professional Italian directors, cinematographers, production designers, and sound recording specialists in the creation of a short fiction film. Those focusing on film studies will have full access to the Bologna Cineteca library and archives for their research. The program features a tour of the Cineteca’s Restoration Lab.

View through the gothic rose window on Duomo cathdral in Florence.

Florence, Italy (Art)

The Florence Summer Session allows you to customize your program according to your interests and desire for exploration. To enhance your learning experience, most courses feature field trips and excursions within Florence and to locations outside the city. Internships are also available.

Venice, Italy (Art and Film and Media Arts)

The Venice Biennale Intensive is a ten-day immersion into the global contemporary art scene. The Venice Biennale is arguably the most important visual art event in the world. Established in 1895, it attracted more than 500,000 visitors last year. It is unrivaled in terms of providing students a living portrait of the global art world. Students will also visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Prada Foundation, and some of the many sites of historical significance in the city.

Moscow at night.

Moscow, Russia (Art and Film and Media Arts)

The summer program Portfolio Moscow is an advanced studio and art history/theory class in which students will focus on their development of a creative vision and personal system of production–that of an independent artist.

Scotland (Drama)

The course Edinburgh Fringe Festival (DRA 386) culminates in mounting and performing a production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Students rehearse the production during the spring semester and perform at the festival in early August.

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