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  • Locations: Naples, Italy; Pompeii, Italy; Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Winter Break
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Campus Housing, Hotel Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Geography and Geoinformation Science, Honors, Anthropology, Geology, History, Integrative Studies Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0 Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Rise of Roman Civilization in Rome & Pompeii

Italy, Winter 2020

Roman Images
What is Rome really made of? What conditions favored her fortune? What interplay of territory (natural processes, climate, and resources) and culture contributed to the rise of Roman civilization? By taking this interdisciplinary course in urban geology/geoarchaeology, students will discover how Roman civilization took advantage of a series of favorable geological events that shaped the landscape and provided the raw material to grow and flourish.  The rocks formed by volcanoes (tuffs) and deposited by water (travertine) were transformed by the ingenuity of the Roman engineers and architects into buildings and infrastructures. Likewise, the waters resources of the nearby regions were harnessed in the most developed system of aqueducts capable to bring water to over one million people who lived in ancient Rome during the heights of the empire. What was not readily available was brought in from the provinces.

Program Highlights

  • Interdisciplinary course in urban geology/geoarchaeology: Discover how Roman civilization took advantage of a series of favorable geological events that  shaped the landscape and provided the raw material to grow and flourish.
  • From Naples to Rome, visit important cultural and historic sites, many of which are not open the general public and require special access permits. 


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University. 

Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.


Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.

Course Options

  • Anthropology - ANTH 300: Civilizations
  • Geology - GEOL 315: Topics in Geology II
  • Geography and Geoinformation Science - GGS 398: Selected Topics in Global Change
  • History - HIST 388: Topics in European History
  • Honors - HNRS 240: Reading the Past
  • Anthropology - ANTH 670: Regional Studies in Archaeology

Program Dates*

Early - Mid January 


Sample Itinerary 

Day 1 Arrive in Naples. Meeting with course director Optional visit to downtown Naples. Welcome dinner.
Day 2 Visit to the sites of Pompeii and Oplontis
Day 3 Vesuvius hike; Visit to Herculaneum
Day 4 The Phlegrean Fields volcanic area. Pozzuoli and the Piscina mirabilis. Arrive in Rome at night.
Day 5 Free Day – National Holiday
Day 6 The volcanic Roman Province:  Nemi Emissary, the lake and the temples
Day 7 Land use planning 1: the beginning of Rome and its territory. The Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Private tour of Augustus and Livia’s house.
Day 8 Building for entertainment: the Colosseum, undergrounds and the upper third ring, the Ludus Magnus. The Imperial Fora through time.  Domus of Palazzo Valentini.
Day 9 Roman hydraulic engineering: the baths. Caracalla’s bath  and Diocletian Baths. Visit to the National Roman Museum of Palazzo Massimo
Day 10 Local buidling materials: Quarries underneath the podium of Claudius’ temple.  Afternoon: the Catacombs. Visit to the Jewish Catacombs.
Day 11 Land use planning – The City and the River. Campus Martius (field of Mars). Pantheon. Crypta Balbi Museum.
Day 12 Free Day
Day 13 Ostia: the port city of ancient Rome
Day 14 Roman Aqueducts – On the footsteps of T. Ashby. Field trip inside the aqueducts  Anius Vetus and Marcio.  Optional visit to Horace’s Villa and the Fons Bandusia. End of course banquet
Day 15 Students depart for the U.S.

* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Winter 2019: $3,083

Winter 2020: TBD

Included: Tuition for 3 credits, accommodations (university dormitory in Rome and hotel in Pompeii), all breakfasts and some additional group meals, guided tours and field excursions as described in itinerary, transportation to all program sites, international emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, personal spending, required textbooks and/or course materials. *Note: Participants must arrange their own airfare once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by October 20, 2019 in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by November 10, 2019. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Refund and Cancellation Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Refund and Cancellation Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:



GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:


Application Opens:

May 2019


Application Deadline:

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  Kysar-Mattietti Headshot
Name Dr. Giuseppina Kysar Mattietti
Phone 703-993-9269

GEO Program Officer

Name Andrew Miller
Phone 703-993-5013

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter Break 2020 10/06/2019 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.