Granada: Islamicate Civilizations in Spain

Final App Deadline: 
Monday, January 25, 2021
Language Requirement: 
Lauren Schneider

The Islamicate Civilizations in Spain program is built around the three-course sequence, “Islamicate Civilizations in Spain,” a cross-disciplinary study of how Islamic society and culture shaped Al-Andalus, as well as the Jewish and Christian communities who also inhabited the area, for nearly 800 years. The legacy of the “Convivencia” of the Middle Ages endures to this day in southern Spain’s diverse population, and students will learn how Spain flourished under the rule of the Moors, beginning with the Umayyad crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain in the early 8th century through the Reconquista and the fall of Granada in 1492. The three Civilizations courses will focus on this time period, but will also draw comparisons with modern Spain and contemporary Spanish society. Coursework is supplemented by excursions to sites of interest within and outside of Granada, where aspects of cultural exchange and historical connections between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities can be more fully explored. In addition to the Civilizations courses, students will also take a fourth course in the Spanish language or Arabic language, taught either at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level. It is expected that students devote some free time to exploring Granada, especially those corners of it lying beyond the usual tourist haunts.


Participants in this program are housed in shared student apartments in Granada’s city center, within a 15-minute walk to the classroom facilities. These accommodations feature double rooms with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and living spaces. A Chicago Graduate Assistant will accompany the program and will reside in proximity to the students.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Granada program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: the three courses in the civilization sequence and a language class as a fourth course, either Spanish or Arabic. The civilization sequence meets the College’s civilization requirement. If a student has already met this requirement, he or she may use these courses as electives. Their use, partial or total, in a program of study (major) must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the respective department. The language course will normally count as an elective. Arabic language sections are offered as an option only when a threshold number of students express interest. Otherwise, students will take Spanish as their fourth class, offered at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level. The language courses in Granada are not keyed to Chicago’s Spanish or Arabic language sequences. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.


Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Granada program during the 2020-21 year are listed below:

Spring tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

Granada program fee: $4,950

Program fee includes: Out-of-pocket expenses include:
accommodation  round-trip airfare to and from the program site
instruction transportation on site
student support meals
program excursions course materials
emergency travel insurance (ISOS) personal entertainment and travel
  communications (including cell phone usage)
  health insurance and upfront payments for care
  other miscellaneous expenses

Previous program participants report spending in the range of $150 to $200 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Granada is roughly similar to Chicago, and while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

Eligibility and Application

The Granada program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic standing who are beyond their first year in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the civilization sequence is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take Spanish or Arabic on campus before the program begins.

Because of the considerable demand for the Chicago civilization programs abroad, no student may participate in more than one of these programs. Each application is examined on the basis of the student's scholastic record, personal statement, and academic recommendation. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

Further Information

To discuss the Granada: Islamicate Civilizations in Spain program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Lauren Schneider.

Student Video

Watch a short video by a past participant of the Granada program, Ellen Askey, Class of 2020, which placed first in our 2018-19 Study Abroad in 60 Seconds Video Contest:


What you’ll see: