Spring Quarter in Rome: "Sacking Rome"

  • Bruno bonfire
Program Dates: 
March 30, 2015 to June 5, 2015
Application Deadline: 
November 14, 2014

Program Information


Sacking Rome: Nature and Culture at the Center of the World

Caput Mundi: Where All Roads Lead

JOIN a band of ink-stained wayfarers for a Mediterranean spring full of walk, talk, and literary comradeship in and about the Eternal City. As readers, we’ll consider the words and thoughts of novelists, poets and sundry quill-drivers who followed that road before us. As writers, we'll put ourselves in their shoes, pounding the cobbles daily, notebooks in hand. As scientists, we’ll explore the natural history of an ancient environment.

If one figures the imagination of the West as a spectrum whose color-bands are the academic disciplines, Rome is the prism before the scatter. Here science and art, language and literature, history and geography, the color and vagary and sensate onslaught of contemporary life all constellate in the literary imagination. All this is fair game for us. Writers are dedicated generalists, interested in everything. Like barbarians, they’re rapacious and interdisciplinary. Like barbarians, they ask what can we carry away? We'll test that question at the point of the pencil, transmute what we see, and so sack Rome.

Led by English Department faculty Richard Kenney and Carol Light, the program offers 15 credits in English and Creative Writing (see course descriptions below).

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.

Rules of Engagement:

  • Pluck, good humor, and a spirited willingness to suffer minor inconveniences in the interest of the greater adventure.
  • Good shoes and stamina: Rome is best negotiated on foot. We’ll do a great deal of walking—occasionally, miles of it—over cobbled streets and occasionally rougher terrain.
  • Intellectual and imaginative commitment: Robert Frost called Poetry play for mortal stakes, and that’s how we see our collaboration in Rome. Not Roman Holiday; rather, 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.

In reviewing applications, we’ll be most interested in imaginative nerve and personal adaptability. As noted, this is an intensive program designed for generalists. That noted, experienced literature and creative writing students will be engaged at an appropriately advanced level.

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 Language and Literature and Creative Writing pathways.


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 25 students.

Application and Deadlines

To apply, please use the online application.

Preliminary Application Deadline: November 14, 2014. (This deadline may be extended if there is still room in the program after November 14.)

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 Professor Kenney.

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

Spring in Rome 2015 Online Application

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.

Questions? Contact Bridget Norquist in English Advising for more information.

Contact Information: 

Bridget Norquist
Academic Adviser
(206) 543-2634

Professor Richard Kenney
Program Director

Carol Light
Program Faculty

Program Status: