Spring Quarter in Rome: "Writers in Rome"

Collage of Roman scenes
Program Dates: 
April 2, 2013 to June 7, 2013
Application Deadline: 
January 11, 2013

Program Information


Go Where All Roads Lead

We invite you to join the English Department’s spring quarter in Rome, Caput Mundi, head of the world. Enjoy ten weeks of concentrated exercise, reflection, educated sightseeing and literary conversation in and about this Eternal City. As readers, we’ll review the words and thoughts of an array of brilliant novelists and poets who got there before us. As writers, we’ll put ourselves in their shoes, walking the cobbles daily with notebooks in hand. We’ll take constant advantage of the city, its cultural and sensate onslaught. Here history and geography, art and architecture, language and literature, the color and vagary and flavor of daily life all constellate in the literary imagination. Writers are interested in everything: this is a good way to experience foreign study.

Led by English Department faculty Sydney Kaplan and Richard Kenney, the program offers 15 credits in English literature and creative writing (see course descriptions below). This disciplinary partnership permits students to thumb both sides of the literary coin, so to speak, before flipping it over their shoulders into the Trevi Fountain, dreaming (as we will) their quickest chance to return.

We welcome all students. No experience in literary analysis or creative writing is presumed. Classes will held at the University of Washington Rome Center at the 17th-century Palazzo Pio, situated in the vibrant center of the city’s historical district, as well as out and about in the city itself. A number of field trips, museum visits, and excursions will also be included in the program fee. Housing will be in shared apartments arranged by the UW Rome Center.


  • Pluck and good humor: we value verve, adaptability, and a spirited willingness to suffer minor inconveniences in the interest of the greater adventure.
  • Good shoes and a fit constitution: this program is physically vigorous, involving a lot of walking over stones in a busy urban environment.
  • Intellectual and imaginative commitment: Frost said Poetry is play for mortal stakes, and that’s how we see what we do in Rome. Don’t sign up for Roman Holiday. Do sign up for the experience of a lifetime: joyful, serious, intense in every way.
  • No knowledge of Italian is presumed or required. Some language instruction will be offered during the course of the program.

Students in the program will maintain their University of Washington residency and any financial aid eligibility they have already established. Credits earned will be recorded on students' UW transcripts and will apply directly to UW graduation requirements. Credits earned in English courses may be used to satisfy requirements in the English major.


The Spring Writers in Rome program values diversity. UW students from any campus, including students in the Evening Degree Program, are eligible to apply to the program. We try to provide as much information as possible on this site and in our printed materials, but that is no substitute for human interaction. We strongly recommend that interested students attend an Information Session or meet individually with Bridget Norquist or the program faculty.

Enrollment will be limited to 30 students.

Application Process

To apply, please use IPE's online application.

Application Deadline: Rolling Admission. Open until filled (or January 11, 2013).

The application includes

  • personal statement;
  • three short-answer questions;
  • two faculty recommendations**;
  • electronic signature documents related to University policies and
    expectations for study abroad.

**If you are a new transfer student (particularly if this is your first quarter @ UW) we will accept letters from faculty from your transfer school(s) in lieu of (or in addition to) UW Faculty recommendations. If you have any questions about this or any other part of your application, you are more than welcome to contact Bridget Norquist or Professors Kaplan or Kenney.

Following the online application process, students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview.

Depending on the number of applications submitted, we may maintain a waiting list for the program. Students who are invited to participate in the program will be required to return a signed payment contract and risk form before the deadline indicated in their acceptance email.

Contact Information: 

Bridget Norquist
Academic Adviser

Professor Richard Kenney
Program Director

Professor Sydney Kaplan
Program Director

Program Status: