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UConn Water Systems of Rome: Ancient to Modern, Rome, Italy (Summer) (Faculty-led)

The Program

This foreign study field course is designed for Natural Resources and the Environment, Geoscience, Physical Geography, Environmental Science; Environmental Engineering, and Civil Engineering majors interested in water resources. Students in Environmental Studies and other fields of Science and Engineering are also encouraged to apply and will be considered on a space available basis.

The major objective of this course is to enhance students’ understanding of human interactions with the environment in the development of modern municipal water systems. The development of modern municipal water systems, going from private sources that provide water to a few, to large scale public sources that gather water from huge watersheds to satisfy the thirst of millions, perhaps best exemplifies the major concepts of environmental history.  That is, the study of human interaction with the natural world over time.  The science, engineering, and architecture of most modern municipal water systems are founded on principles developed in ancient Rome. Although we often think of resource protection, management, and sustainability as modern concepts, many have their origins in ancient Rome.  Only in Rome can you easily view the 2000 year history of municipal water resource developments. Upon completion of the course students should be able to articulate the contributions the Romans have made to water resources management and water system technology and have a better understanding of the factors that enter into designing a sustainable water system.

 The Academics

Students will receive 3 credits for NRE 3693 Foreign Studies in Natural Resources. Prerequisites: NRE 2215, GSCI 1050 or equivalent, OR permission of the instructors. *Course may be converted to honors credit with approval*

This is a field course. It will entail excursions to museums, surface water bodies, local springs, ancient wells, geological features, aqueduct ruins (both above and below ground), and ancient baths in Rome and in Ostia Antica, Tivoli and Pompeii. We will also visit elements of the modern water system including fountains and one of the major spring sources of water.  Each day will consist of a field trip, lectures by faculty and other experts while onsite, followed by students conducting water related field exercises including making observations, measurements, mapping, calculations and assessments to reinforce learning objectives.  The field exercises are designed to reinforce skills and concepts in our water resources programs. Skills include practical applications of GPS, GIS map making for defining watershed boundaries and delineating hydrologic properties of importance, and the use of spreadsheets for data management and computation. Concepts to be reinforced include: 1) the relation of geology and climate to groundwater quality and resource availability; 2) factors needed in successful water resource management; 3) major hydraulic principles; and 4) water budget computations for evaluating water needs and sustainability.

Pre-Departure: Three 2 hour evening preparatory sessions during the spring semester.

Tentative 2018 Schedule:
May 8 Tuesday – Fly to Rome
May 9 Wednesday – Orientation Tour
May 10 Thursday – History of Rome: Roman Forum/Coliseum
May 11 Friday – Geography Field Trip, Piazza Navona, Largo di Torre Argentina
May 12 Saturday – Hydrogeology Field Trip
May 13 Sunday – Underground in Claudia and Marcia aqueducts
May 14 Monday – Aqueduct Park
May 15 Tuesday – FREE DAY
May 16 Wednesday – Porta Maggiore aqueducts
May 17 Thursday – Baths of Caracalla and Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs
May 18 Friday – Pompeii/Vesuvius
May 19 Saturday – Villa di Quintili Appian Way/ Catacombs
May 20 Sunday – Peschiera area, Velino Valley in the Apenines
May 21 Monday – FREE DAY
May 22 Tuesday – Ostia Antica
May 23 Wednesday – Underground Vicus Caprarius tour,/Trevi fountain/ Baroque distribution system
May 24 Thursday – Fly home

The course will be taught by Dr. Gary Robbins (gary.robbins@uconn.edu), Professor of Geology, and Dr. Glenn Warner (glenn.warner@uconn.edu), Professor of Water Resources, in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. Please email either professor for information about the program.  There will also be guest lectures by faculty from U. Roma Tre and other Italian experts.

Learn about what the students who took the course in 2016 think of it.

The Experience

The course runs from May 8 to May 25, 2017  (includes two days of travel to and from Rome, and two free days).  Each day will consist of a field trip, lectures by faculty and other experts while onsite, followed by students conducting water related field exercises.  Field excursions will take place in Rome and vicinity, Tivoli, the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, Pompeii and near Naples. Daily field exercises are conducted in teams and include making observations, conducting field measurements, mapping, performing calculations and assessments to reinforce learning objectives.

You will be housed in double rooms in a hotel near the historic center of Rome. We will travel in the city by public transportation, take excursions by charted bus, and hike and climb over, in and through ancient Roman ruins.  During the course you will have plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in modern Roman culture and take advantage of all that cosmopolitan Rome has to offer, including its wonderful food, shops, entertainment, sights and sounds. You will also have an opportunity to meet Italian students from U. Roma Tre, one of the major Universities in Rome.

The Finances

Please note that financial aid, other than certain scholarships, cannot be applied to the cost of this 3-credit program. Students must be enrolled for at least six credits during the summer to be eligible for summer financial aid. Click the link below for this program’s budget sheet.

Budget Sheets: Summer
The Details

  • Location: Rome, Italy
  • Terms: Summer
  • Homepage:

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 02/20/2018 02/27/2018 TBD TBD

Fact Sheet:

Class status: 2nd Year, 3rd Year, 4th+ Year Academic area: Sciences
Language of instruction: English Prior language study required:
Open to non-UConn students: Yes Required GPA: 2.5