International Program in Communication Arts & Sciences

Summer in ROME 2010



A program of
Penn State University
Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, and
the University Office of Global Programs

Professors Thomas W. Benson and Stephen H. Browne directors


A street in Trastevere


9 credits - 7 weeks

A unique approach to the study of international and intercultural communication and rhetoric -- Roman architecture, urban design, and everyday life as rhetoric; the rhetoric of travel; and Italian cinema.

No prerequisites.

Housing provided.

Courses are conducted in English.


The International Program in Communication Arts & Sciences offers a unique opportunity for students to explore the sights and sounds of contemporary Rome while taking courses in Italian film, the rhetoric of travel and tourism, and the rhetoric of Rome as a tourist destination and center of arts, architecture, and culture.

Classroom work is enhanced by guided and self-guided explorations in Rome, with some long weekends built in for self-guided travel around Italy, so that students may experience for themselves the complex layering of history, art, and culture that has drawn travelers to Rome for centuries as pilgrims and tourists.

Students will visit archeological sites, streets, buildings, piazzas, and museums. The central focus of the summer will be on Rome, where we will study the rhetoric of Rome through its art, architecture, and culture, layered through the centuries, from ancient Roman and Etruscan times through medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, the Risorgimento, twentieth-century and contemporary Rome.

A window in Trastevere

The Colosseum



The program begins on Monday, May 10, 2010, and ends on Friday, June 25, 2010.



Students will enroll in three courses:

CAS 415 (3 credits) Rhetoric of Film--Italian Cinema. An intensive introduction to Italian film, with emphasis on the neo-realist films that emerged in the aftermath of World War II, and the influence of those films on later filmmakers. Most of the films are set in Rome, allowing students to compare their own experience of Rome with the vision of these great Italian films. Film screenings will include, among others, Rome, Open City; Shoeshine; Bicycle Thief; Umberto D; The White Sheik; Mamma Roma. Instructor: Stephen H. Browne.

CAS 499 (3 credits) International Study: The Rhetoric of Travel and Tourism-American and British Writers in Italy from the 19th Century to the Present. Reading, discussion, and student observational writing, in the context of the encounter with Rome. We will study the writings of selected American and British writers from the 19th century to the present who, in encountering what it meant to see and remember Italy, and especially Rome, were also encountering themselves, their own national identities, and the ethics of travel; who were interpreting what they saw with a developing rhetoric of observation; and who were depicting the experience for other travelers who were beginning to follow the path of middle class tourism. Selections from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Henry James, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Tim Parks, and other writers. Visits to sites described in the writings. Instructor: Stephen H. Browne.




CAS 499B (3 credits) The Rhetoric of Rome: Street and Studio. Rome is a treasure of artistic heritage, designed from ancient times to accommodate and express power, wealth, pleasure, piety, and memory. In this course, students will explore the rhetoric of Rome as a tourist destination, learning to see and depict how the design, display, and use of Rome constitute a rhetoric of place and time. Individual and guided visits throughout the city and readings in travel guides and accounts culminate in studio work where students will create web sites describing, mapping, picturing, and interpreting the Rhetoric of Rome. No special technical knowledge is required for this course. Instructor: Stephen H. Browne.

Roman boys playing soccer in a piazza as other Romans pass by early in the evening


Stephen Howard Browne is Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State, where he teaches courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, interpretation of rhetorical texts, and nineteenth century rhetorics of reform.

Thomas W. Benson, founder and co-director for 2009 of the International Program in Rome of the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric at Penn State. He teaches courses and conducts research in rhetorical criticism, political and cultural rhetoric, and film.



Who Should Apply?

The program is designed for undergraduate students in any major. Students who are majoring in Communication Arts & Sciences can use the courses to satisfy department major requirements. The program is also designed for and is open to all other students in any major who are interested in the program and meet the basic requirements. CAS 415 and 499 may be used for humanities credit (GH). CAS 415 and CAS 499 may be used to satisfy required credits in International Cultures (IL). Preference is given to students who are entering the junior or senior year of college; applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

For further information:

Professor Stephen H. Browne
Co-Director, International Program in CAS
Department of Communication Arts & Sciences
Penn State University
234 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802

814-865-1028 (office)
814-865-3461 (department)



Professor Thomas W. Benson
Director, International Program in Communication Arts & Sciences
Head, Department of Communication Arts & Sciences
234 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802




Applications are now being accepted, and will be accepted as long as space is available.

Contact Stephen H. Browne, 2010 program director, at

Program Costs - the costs listed here are for 2009 - we will post 2010 figures as they become available - Education Abroad cost figures here

Summer 2009 Education Abroad at PSU Sede di Roma, Rome, Italy


Tuition ( 9 credits ):

PA Resident = $----/credit* (tuition rate for undergraduate, upper division)


Non-PA Resident = $---/credit* (tuition rate for undergraduate, upper division)


*Note: students will be assessed the standard per credit tuition based on classification, semester standing, and residency status; refer to the tuition schedule on the Bursar's website.

Information-Technology Fee




EA Program Fee (includes administration fee, insurance)



Students are responsible for arranging and paying for round trip air fare, personal items, and most meals. In addition to the air fare (typically $800 or more) these items might cost from $800 to $1000 or more, depending on whether the student often eats in restaurants, or engages in weekend travel.

Other expenses: students should plan to bring a laptop computer with a wireless Internet card, a digital camera (a simple one will do fine), camera-card reader to move images from camera to computer, and a small USB flash drive for exchanging files. Students will pay an estimated $400 housing/utility assessment deposit upon arrival, from which a cleaning fee, the cost of any damages, and the telephone utility assessment will be deducted at the conclusion of the session; the balance to be refunded by the housing agent.

Students should be sure to talk to their parents before applying to the program to be sure that they understand and are willing to support the financial costs of the program. Once a student is accepted and registered, non-refundable fees may be charged to the student's account.

Students will need a current passport, for which they are advised to apply early. Forms may be obtained at post offices. The U.S. State Department has information on how to obtain a passport.

Students may wish to obtain an international ID card.


The program begins on Monday, May 10, 2010, and ends on Friday, June 25, 2010.

Penn State's summer in Rome program is housed in the heart of central Rome's historic district. Student apartments are in or near this neighborhood, a short walk from the Pantheon, the Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona, the River Tiber, the Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum. The program facilities include studio space, classrooms, a small library, a computer lab, seminar rooms, facilities for film showings, and administrative support areas.

Application to the program is made through the Penn State Office of Education Abroad -- applications will open on September 21, 2009, and the department-level acceptances will be made on a rolling basis. In December, Penn State will issue formal acceptances on behalf of the University and the billing process will begin. Please apply early to ensure that there will be room in you for the program, but do not apply unless you are seriously committed to the program--talk with parents and academic advisors, and of course talk with the program directors if you have any questions for us.

Once you have been accepted at the deparatment level, we will add you to our ANGEL web site for the summer 2010 program. We will also update this page and its links from time to time.

Professor Benson's home page | Department of CAS | Penn State home page

Frequently Asked Questions | Application

poster (please print, post, and distribute)