College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Launches New Academic Travel Program

France Photo

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

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.

Academic Travel in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (ATLAS) is an international study program that is designed to prepare College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students for an ever-changing global workplace and allow them to connect with their 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, in 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 the selected institutions’ faculty 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. 

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 many 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 chance 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 that are in development at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students 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. 

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

For more information about Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ATLAS program, contact

Media Contact

Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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