Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Launches Academic Travel in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (ATLAS) Program

Program will provide students the opportunity to study abroad as early as freshman year

ATLAS allows students to explore international study abroad opportunities while earning specialized certificates in specific disciplines

Students in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences now have the opportunity to study abroad as early as freshman year

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Students in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences now have the opportunity to study abroad as early as freshman year, with the potential to earn a specialized certificate in a variety of disciplines. The College announced the launch of Academic Travel in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (ATLAS), an international study program that is designed to prepare students for an ever-changing global workplace and allow them to connect with their specific disciplines and majors in exciting new ways.

Through the College’s partnerships with some of the world’s most respected universities, students will be able to earn college credit toward several majors and minors, and in some cases certificates in specific areas of study. Destinations and disciplines include European Politics at the European School of Political and Social Sciences (ESPOL) at Lille, France; Sustainability and Development with the International Center for Development Studies in Costa Rica; and Literature and Theater at the world-renowned Abbey Theater in Dublin, Ireland.  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ faculty have partnered with faculty at these institutions to create programs that will help students extend their global reach and potential. As part of the experience, students will also have the opportunity to explore their destination countries in ways that will enrich their cultural understanding. 

“The ATLAS program will put students on a path that more fully integrates their chosen discipline with study abroad,” said Maria Toyoda, PhD, Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary and Global Initiatives. “Our partnerships are providing the enduring connections and relationships that add value to our students’ global experiences. These experiences and the competencies they promote will make potential employers sit up and take notice of our students.”

At the ESPOL and the University of Lille, Political Science majors will take clusters of courses on European Politics and an integrative course on French language and culture, which will take them to historic sites in Northern France. Those who enroll in the French language program at Lille will also be able to access internship opportunities such as the chance to serve as a tour guide at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and at Vézelay Abbey and the Saint-Sernin Cathedral in Toulouse.

At the International Center for Development Studies in Costa Rica, students will have the opportunity to earn most of the credits required for a minor in Sustainability and Development, and be involved in special community engagement and research projects in conjunction with Villanova faculty. And at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the national theatre of Ireland, students will have an exclusive practicum through the Summer Studio on performance, writing, theatre technology and nonprofit management with the staff of one of the world’s most distinguished theatre companies. 

Other programs in development include Political Science in Prague, Czech Republic; Global Religion in Leuven, Belgium; Intercultural Communication in Copenhagen, Denmark and Shanghai, China; Environmental Studies in Cadiz, Spain; and Literature, Theatre and the Arts in London, England. 

The ATLAS program will allow students to get an early start on their disciplinary majors and to add to both their academic and professional resumes.  In some cases cohorts of 12 to 15 students, assigned by destination, will study and travel as a community, and depending on the program the opportunity will be available as early as their freshman year. 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.