The Umbra Honors Program 

The Honors Program at the Umbra Institute welcomes students with a desire to combine high academic standards, extensive study in the subject area, community engagement, and additional contact with instructors. Honors students further enhance their learning beyond the classroom by living with international and/or Italian students.

Honors students conduct original research in an area of their choice, working one-on-one with a faculty advisor. The research culminates into a traditional research paper or a creative project, approved by the faculty advisor. Prior to departure, students may also select a home institution faculty member who would approve the particular research topic and correspond with the student throughout the semester. 


“The Research Project I conducted through the Honors Program provided me with a unique opportunity as an undergraduate student. Not only was I able to engage in direct ethnographic research—it was in a global setting. Working directly with a faculty member mentor exponentially improved my academic writing skills, while interviewing locals helped me pick up Italian quickly.”

Gabriella Paiella, Northeastern University

Honors Program, Fall 2010



Umbra Honors Program Curriculum:

ISRM 400: Research Writing & Methodology (2 credits)

ISIR 499: Research Project (4 credits) for a total of 6 credits for the Research project;
IT XXX: Italian Language or an advanced course taught in Italian (3 -6 credits);
Elective Courses: INIT 350: Academic Internship and Seminar, Honors Course (if available), or approved related courses.


Independent Researchstudying-in-the-library
The Independent Research option is designed to provide students the opportunity to complete a significant research assignment in a topic of their choice as one component of their study abroad experience. Many colleges and universities require undergraduates to culminate their studies in a research paper or senior thesis. With this option, students can engage in independent research, using the experience as a platform for their thesis project at their home institution.


This track is intended to be a serious exercise in the organization and presentation of written material. Similar to the Honors Program, the Independent Research project is typically a research paper; however, with the faculty advisor and/or home institution approval, a creative project may be undertaken. Each student will be assigned a research advisor from among the Umbra faculty. Students may also choose to select an advisor from their home campus, gaining approval from that advisor and arranging correspondence prior to participation. 


Examples of past research projects include: The Importance of Minority Language in Constructing Regional Identity; Elementary Education and Construction of Gender Roles; Adult Education and Second Language Acquisition – the case study of the Università per la Terza Età; and The Study of “Otherness” – an archaeological investigation of ancient sculpture and myth. 


Admission Requirements

Students accepted into the Honors Program should exhibit maturity, responsibility, and an interest in work that will challenge them to move beyond the standard levels of academic inquiry in pursuit of a richer study abroad experience. Students should have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and provide a letter of recommendation. Prospective Honors students should also indicate their interest on all application forms.


Learn More and Apply

For more information about the Honors Program or Independent Research, please contact [email protected].