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UVA Architecture: Germany: Landscape Studies Initiative
Bad Muskau, Germany; Berlin, Germany; Dessau, Germany; Potsdam, Germany (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year, Graduate student Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Hotel, University dormitory Language Courses Offered: No
Language of Instruction: English
Program Type:
Faculty led, Field Study/ Experiential
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Margaret Walter
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
Architectural History, Architecture, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, German, History, Landscape Architecture, Urban and Environmental Planning
Program Description:
ARCH Germany Lead Photo

UVA Architecture: Germany: Landscape Studies Initiative


This course will focus on two areas: the history of cultural landscapes and applied analytic skills in the digital and spatial humanities. Students will develop field work competencies related to landscape history, including site analysis and archival research, to produce data that will be synthesized as the foundation for an interpretive digital platform integrating text and media. The combination of immersive spatial experience, data collection, textual analysis, and comparative observation among sites will equip students with complementary perspectives for interpreting the cultural history of landscapes and the layered meanings of place.

The itinerary immerses students in German cultural and environmental history through the lens of place making. By including designed landscapes that span the 18th through 21st centuries, the course invites students to consider a long historical arc that speaks to contemporary issues such as urbanization, infrastructural planning, environmental remediation, and the complex interplay of cultural identity, politics, and place.

This multi-disciplinary, non-credit-bearing program is open to students from across the University, particularly from the Schools of Architecture and Engineering, or students in the College interested in German Studies, Environmental Thought & Practice, and History.


Location IconLocation

The program will travel to Berlin, Bad Muskau, Dessau, and Potsdam, visiting several historically significant parks and estates—including Park Muskau, Wörlitz, and Sanssouci—to explore regional planning, environmental tectonics, and aesthetic ideals through on-site comparative analysis.

Babelsberg First Circle Muskau Castle Second Circle

Courses Iconacademics

The Muskau Pilot Project is the first phase of the launch of the UVA Landscape Studies Initiative (LSI). Two weeks of travel combines field work at Park Muskau - one of the most significant 19th-century designed landscapes in Europe - with a study tour of several contemporaneous cultural landscapes in Germany that provide important points of comparison. Participants will meet with several German hosts during the course, including the directors of three historic gardens and a professor of landscape history. The pilot project will produce the initial data for an ensuing 3-credit seminar course during the 2018-19 academic year, which in turn will support the buildout of the first phase of the LSI digital plat form. This platform will provide an interface for texts, maps, narratives, and experience of significant cultural landscapes that will not only advance scholarship within the field of landscape studies but also provide new, digitally-based pedagogical resources for UVA faculty and students.


  • Students will learn fieldwork protocols for systematically collecting (and tagging) visual, audio, and material samples that incorporate automated geolocation, enable thematic collation, and are formatted for comparative, digital compositions.
  • Students will learn analytic approaches for interpreting cultural landscapes that synthesize historical images, narrative texts, and immersive experiences on site.
  • Students will learn critical theoretical frameworks for reflecting on a regionally specific set of historic landscapes both comparatively and in relation to larger geographies.

The itinerary provides many opportunities for learning about German cultural history through the   focused lens of place making. The inclusion of 20th and 21st century sites invites students to consider our primary focus on 19th-century landscapes within a longer historical arc that speaks to contemporary issues such as urbanization, infrastructural planning, and the complex relation of place to cultural identity  and politics.

Faculty IconFaculty

Michael Lee |

Reuben M. Rainey Professor, History of Landscape Architecture


Accommodation and MealsAccommodation and Meals

Students will stay in centrally located hotels or lodges in each location, with breakfast included.

Cost and funding

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships and scholarships.

Muskau Park Third Circle

Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. This program includes significant time (6-8 hours) spent walking or standing daily, as well as multiple tours by bike. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program. International students should consult for visa and entry requirements, and meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office for information about re-entering the U.S. at the conclusion of the program.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.


This program is currently not accepting applications.