Architecture in Venice: The City and the Sea

This 3 week field school examines the history and future of architecture in Venice, Italy, one of the world’s most improbable cities, built almost entirely on and in the water.  The first week of the program will take place on the University of Guelph campus, and the next two weeks will be on-site in Venice, Italy.

This international field school is open to students from all disciplines at the University of Guelph.

Field School Details

Instructor: Dr. Sally Hickson, School of Fine Art and Music

Offered: Summer 2018

Prerequisite: 7.5 credits, 70% cumulative average, permission of the instructor

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Sally Hickson or Allison Broadbent, Acting Study Abroad Manager.

Program Dates

May 2018 - 3 weeks, exact dates TBA


This 3000-level, 1.0 U of G credit course will examine the multi-cultural history of Venice, between east and west; the materials and methods of construction used in public, domestic and religious buildings; the clash of past and present in contemporary architectural development; and the structural relationship between the city and the sea in terms of its urban fabric and built identity.  This is a course that asks you to think about the past, present and future built environment in the context of a highly unique multi-cultural history and urban ecology.  

The travel portion of the course will take place in the middle two weeks of May in Venice, Italy.  Those days will consist of morning lectures, on-site at various monuments in the city, as well as museum visits.  While in Venice, you will spend time doing site visits, observation, analysis and research on your assigned building in the city. 

Prior to departure, during the first week of May, there will be four 2-hour lecture classes intended to familiarize you with the architectural history of the city, one of which will consist of a trip to the Special Collections Library at the University of Waterloo to look at their collection of Renaissance architectural books (the Rosa Breithaupt Clark collection of architectural books) so we can see how the city was envisioned by its early architects. 


Students should budget for the following:

  • Round-trip airfare to Italy
  • Tuition and fees at the University of Guelph for 1.0 credits
  • The Venice Field School fee:  approximately $1900 (includes 2 weeks accommodations plus breakfast in Venice, field trips in Guelph and Venice) Amount is subject to change based on fluctuating exchange rate.
  • Mandatory travel health and emergency insurance through the company Guard Me ($1.65 / day)
  • Personal expenses (food, additional personal excursions, etc) 


Students applying for the program must have completed a total of 7.5 undergraduate credits by the time the program begins in May 2018.

The program is open to students from all disciplines at the University of Guelph, with a maximum of 15 students being accepted to the program. 

Apply to the Italy Field School

Students interested in applying to the Italy field school must apply using an online application. To receive access to the online application you must first attend a Study Abroad Information Session with the Centre for International Programs. Once you have attended an information session you will receive access to the online application.

Please note: You must have a 70% cumulative average to apply to the Italy Field School. 

Application deadline: 26 January 2018