J-Term Programs

A J-Term study away program is held in January, between the Fall and Spring semesters.  These short-term, faculty-led study away programs are intensive academic experiences that are initiated, organized, and carried out by members of the PLU faculty, with assistance from the Wang Center for Global Education.  Each J-Term, students immerse themselves in a new country, culture or discipline that they many have never imagined.

*Students must be registered as full-time in the Fall or Spring semesters to receive J-Term study away credits at no charge.  If students are only registered as part-time, tuition charges will apply in addition to the published J-Term study away program fees.*

J-Term 2016 Course Offerings

Click here and see below for a list of J-Term 2016 study away programs!

Important Dates:

February 20* — J-Term study away application becomes available
March 11 — Study Away Fair (11am-2pm, AUC Regency Room)
March 13 — Global Scholar Award priority deadline
April 1 — Program fees for each course will be finalized
April 20 — Application deadline

*Please note this change from February 4th as previously publicized.

J-Term 2016 Course Offerings

Check back regularly for program updates and course flyers!

The J-Term 2016 Study Away Application is now available on our Documents page.

Deadline: April 20, 2015

International Offerings:

Austria, Czech Republic, Germany (MUSI 101/390)

Music Capitals of the World

Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic are rich with musical tradition.  This one small area of Europe was the central location for many of the finest musicians of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.  This course will experience music in the spaces where many of these great works were first heard.  Students will have the opportunity to contextualize the art and understand their significant historical and social functions.  The great museums and cathedrals of the region will also help our students gain a greater understanding of the times.

MUSI 101

MUSI 390
Consent of instructor.


Faculty Leader
Dr. Edwin Powell, Music


Bolivia and Peru (HIST 344)

Andean History

This course explores the history, culture, and environment of the Andes with a focus on pre-Inca, Inca, Colonial, and modern Andean history.  We will study the lives of the Quechua and Aymara Indigenous South Americans and their relations with colonial Europeans and later with European descendants.  We will also study textile arts (weaving), and examine the multiple uses of land in agriculture, mining, coca, and wilderness preservation.  We will visit Machu Picchu, stay in a colonial hacienda, volunteer in a remote village, stay in an eco-lodge in Madidi National Park, hike through trails to see monkeys, reptiles, and other rain forest flora and fauna, have lecures from a world famous artist, and indigenous political leaders, visit the silver/tin mines, cruise on Lake Titicaca, and much more.

PREREQUISITE: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.


Faculty Leader
Dr. Gina Hames, History


The Caribbean (BUSA 308/489 or ENGL 216)

Principles of Marketing / Literature and History of the Caribbean

This program offers students an opportunity to experience a broad range of Caribbean locations and cultures during a 22 day program.  Students will learn about Caribbean literature or Marketing in diverse cultural environments.  The student experience will include learning about cultures and diversity, engaging in critical reflection and gaining a respect for the people and diverse places of the Caribbean, as well as completing one of two complete academic courses.


PROGRAM FEE ESTIMATE: $3,700 – $4,700
Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leaders
Dr. Nancy Albers-Miller, Business

Dr. Thomas Krise, English

China (CHSP 287 / NURS 287)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Theory, Practice & Policy

This four week course provides a unique opportunity to learn theory and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) from Chinese Practitioners.  It explores the Chinese Health Care System in which TCM is practiced.  This course includes studies in Fundamentals of TCM diagnosis, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, Chinese Massage, and TCM nursing.  This experience will enhance students’ understanding of the healthcare delivery system within China as it compares to healthcare in the United States.  This course is culturally rich by the fact that students will be travelling Xi’an, Chengdu, and Beijing to see famous historical sites and experience activities based in Chinese tradition.


PROGRAM FEE ESTIMATE: $5,500 – $6,000
Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leaders
Dr. Lorena Guerrero, Nursing

Professor Barbara Olson, Nursing


Ecuador (BIOL 366)

Comparative Ecology of Latin America

A comparative study of the structure and function of biotic communities and of the ecological and evolutionary forces that have shaped plants and animals.  Topics include dispersal, natural selection, physiological ecology, natural history, and systematics.  Conservation biology and indigenous rights are highlighted.

PREREQUISITE: BIOL 226 or consent of instructor.


Special Information Preview Program, click here for details.

Supplemental Application: You are advised to complete the supplemental application form between the 25th of February and the 31st of March (If possible, please attend the information session on the 25th of February at 6:00pm in Room 210 of Rieke prior to submitting the application). The date that your supplemental application is received will be used to establish the priority in assigning the cabins on the boat in the Galápagos Islands.

The supplemental application form should be returned directly to Wm Teska, while other application materials concerning study of J-term off-campus should be sent to the Wang Center. It is recommended that you either have your finished supplemental application put in Mr. Teska’s campus mailbox or slid under his office door (Room 143, Rieke).


Faculty Leader
Dr. William Teska, Biology

England (COMA 235/493)

Communication in Professional Settings

This course provides students an opportunity to develop oral and written communication skills within the context of an international business environment.  London is the beating heard of the UK – an economic powerhouse that’s one of the world’s leading financial and cultural centers.  Internationally recognized as a hub for startups, possessing an efficient transportation system, offering graduate education programs, and entertaining through social and cultural opportunities, it is easy to see why London is the destination for many people interested in international business.  Students will develop their writing and presentation skills through sharing their experiences via social media and public presentations.



Faculty Leader
Professor Hal DeLaRosby, Communication


England (PSYC 483)

Psychology of Expertise: London as a case study

What does it mean to be an expert?  What kind of knowledge and skills do experts have and how do they acquire them?  How do contextual factors such as culture or developmental stage influence how we acquire and use expert knowledge?  In this course we will travel to London, England where we will visit sites related to recognized experts who are historically important to psychology such as Darwin and Freud.  We will meet with psychologists, neuroscientists, archivists, and other experts who live and work in London and its environs.  And, we will use ‘everyday’ London events such as navigating and riding “the Tube” to explore our own acquisition of expertise.

PREREQUISITE: Sophomore standing, PSYC 101, and one other PSYC course (or consent of instructors).


Faculty Leaders
Dr. Wendelyn Shore, Psychology

Dr. Marianne Taylor, Psychology


Germany and The Netherlands (MUSI 390)

Churches, Organs, and Art in The Netherlands and Germany

On this study away course we will visit some of the historical buildings in the Netherlands and northern Germany.  For the organists we will see and play some of the most significant historical instruments in that region, hearing the repertoire on instruments for which that repertoire was written.  For the art students we will look at the historical building themselves, as well as at the amazing artworks (paintings, frescos, altar pieces, etc.) that can be found in these buildings.


Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leader
Dr. Paul Tegels, Music


Italy (CLAS 241/341)

Behind the Marble, Beneath the Toga: The Real Lives, Writings, and Remains of the Romans

“Roman” conjures up an image of stern-faced old men frowning down from chiseled statues, centurions marching in lock-step, and dense, dusty tomes – cities filled with marble monuments and towering temples, all in pristine white.  But Rome was also the melting pot of the ancient world, the center of religious and racial tolerance, whose writers celebrated the living pulse of the city.  Crossing the divide between rural Abruzzo and urban Rome, this course seeks to explore the real lives and writings of Roman citizens and to revisit what it means to be a citizen in a civilized nation.  We will visit Rome, Pompeii, Naples, Orvieto, L’Aquila, Roman and Pre-Roman sites, and several small towns.


PROGRAM FEE ESTIMATE: $4,000 – $4,300
Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leader
Dr. Tyler Travillian, Classics


Italy (ECON 215)

Investigating Economic and Environmental Change in Europe

The course uses general principles and themes from economics to investigate how humans adjust to economic and environmental changes brought on by commerce, conquest, technological change and natural events such as earthquakes and volcanoes.  As we travel through many sites in Italy, we explore the functioning of markets, the role of institutions, and the use of its natural resources, such as the Venetian Lagoon, to its ancient, medieval, and model economic history.  By immersing ourselves in both academic literature and visiting important sites, we develop first-hand knowledge of the economic and environmental incentives that induced human beings to alter these environments for thousands of years.

PREREQUISITE: ECON 101 or 111, or consent of instructor. 

PROGRAM FEE ESTIMATE: $4,500 – $6,000
Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leader
Dr. Karen Travis, Economics

Martinique (FREN 241)

French Language / Caribbean Culture in Martinique

Experience the cultural hybridity of this former French colony – once the lucrative (and exploitative) site of sugarcane production, now a full-fledged department of France proud of its heritage, but still struggling to assert its political autonomy.  Classroom curriculum includes the study of the French language through locally produced texts – the popular press, poetry, a novel, and films, as well as lectures by specialists on local history, economy, geography, religious traditions; on-site learning includes hikes through natural habitats, guided visits to important historical locales, and encounters with a variety of Martiniquais, not least through a home stay with a local family.


NOTE: FREN 241; with the approval of the instructor, this course can also provide substitution credit for French majors and French minors toward FREN 201, 202, 301, 302, 310, or 404.

Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leader
Dr. Rebecca Wilkin, French

Tobago (SOCW 325)

Social, Educational, and Health Services in Tobago

In small groups, students shadow and volunteer in community-based settings, including health clinics, hospital, schools, and social service agencies.  In addition, we hear from local speakers on topics relevant to education, health, and social services.  We also participate in a variety of excursions, exploring the natural and social environment of this beautiful island.  In this course, we discuss privilege and power in the context of race, gender, and nationality.  Through our observations, readings, reflections, and debriefing, we explore the meaning of service in another culture, as well as formulating a better understanding of our own ethic of meaningful service.



Faculty Leader
Dr. JoDee Keller, Social Work

Uganda (ENGL 234)

Chimpanzees, Gorillas, and More: Volunteering and On Safari with the Wildlife of Uganda

If you love wildlife and dream of studying wildlife in Africa, this course is for you.  In Uganda, we will volunteer at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center, living on-site and assisting veterinarians and biologists with animals like chimpanzees and lions, elephants and parrots.  It’s a chance for real hands-on experiences with African wildlife.  Then, it’s on safari, trekking for both chimpanzees and gorillas in the wild.  Plus elephants and lions and so much more.  You’ll be awe-struck.  All this while studying wildlife conservation issues, animal intelligence, and our relationship to the creatures with whom we share this beautiful and fragile planet.


PROGRAM FEE ESTIMATE: $9,000 – $9,625
Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.


Faculty Leader
Dr. Charles Bergman, English

United Arab Emirates (ARTD 388 / WMGS 388)

Sex in the Emirate City: Gender and Design in Dubai

This course – as an interdisciplinary combination of the Department of Art and Design and Women’s and Gender Studies Program – examines how physical space and culture participate in the construction and maintenance of gender categories in Dubai.  As an emergent center of commerce, global trade, and innovation, Dubai serves as a rich environment in which to examine how values and beliefs about gender and its intersection with other identity categories, such as race, religion, class, etc., are communicated in a place where traditional values and modern realities intersect daily.  Students will explore Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, analyzing how design informs one’s understanding of gender in a country four decades old yet steeped in thousands of years of tradition.



Faculty Leaders
Professor Jp Avila, Art and Design

Dr. Jennifer Smith, Women’s and Gender Studies

Uruguay (HISP 201, 202, 301, 401)

Intensive Spanish in Montevideo

An intensive Spanish course offered in a Latin American country and geared to students at the intermediate (equivalent to HISP 201 or 202) and advanced (equivalent to 301 or 401) language level.  Course includes four and one-half hours of class per day for a four-week period, a home stay, a service project, excursions, and guest lectures on a variety of topics related to the history and culture of the host country.  Placement at the HISP 231, 331, or 401 levels is determined by the student’s background and experience in Spanish and placement exam.

HISP 201/202
PREREQUISITE: HISP 101/102 or equivalent.

HISP 301

HISP 401

PROGRAM FEE ESTIMATE: $5,000 – $5,500
Program fee will be finalized by April 1, 2015.

Faculty Leader
Dr. Emily Davidson, Hispanic Studies

Domestic Offerings:

Hawaii (RELI 132)

The Religions of East Asia

Students in this course will study the history and modern-day practice of religions important in China, Korea, and Japan by exploring religious sites in Honolulu’s ethnically diverse back streets and mountain valleys.  This course in hands on, and it is also reading intensive, so students should be prepared to spend a good portion of the time we are not in class or on site visits reading primary texts for class.  Note: Much of our travel within Honolulu will be by public bus, and there will be a lot of walking.  This course satisfies both the RG (global religions) and C (cross-cultural diversity) Ged Ed requirements.


NOTE: This course requires a supplemental application form and interview.
To access the supplemental application form and to learn about the interview process, click here.

Faculty Leader
Dr. Erik Hammerstrom, Religion

Holden Village, Washington (PHIL 226)

Environmental Ethics

In PHIL 226, students apply ethical theories to determine what we should do in response to environmental issues and dilemmas such as whether and why animals have rights, what kind of value nature possesses, the proper focus of an environmental ethic, and what ecology has to do with economics and justice.  This J-Term course uses its distinctive setting at Holden Village in the Cascades to tangibly explore the themes of the course.  Holden Village, located on the site of a former mine, is currently undergoing an extensive remediation process, and will serve as a central case study for the class.



Faculty Leader
Dr. Sergia Hay, Philosophy

Neah Bay, Washington (ANTH 190/192/491)

Makah Culture Past and Present

Makah Culture Past and Present examines the archaeology and history of this Native American Tribe and then spends almost 2 weeks on their reservation experiencing contemporary and traditional Makah Culture.  Mornings are spent in a variety of volunteer placements in the community ranging from Head Start to the Senior Center.  Afternoons and evenings focus on traditional and contemporary culture.  Each year is a little different but past classes have included traditional stories by a Makah storyteller, a Makah language class, basket weaving and carving, local foods, hikes in the rain forest and on the beach, tribal government, and the relationship between environmental protection legislation and Makah Culture.  The result is immersion in Makah Culture.

ANTH 190

ANTH 192
PREREQUISITE: Consent of instructor.

ANTH 491
PREREQUISITE: Departmental consent.



Faculty Leader
Dr. David Huelsbeck, Anthropology


Tacoma, Washington (SOCW 175/491)

January Term on the Hilltop

The course explores the interconnection of community, poverty, and thoughtful service.  Students learn about the Tacoma community on campus and explore before the service activities begin, then spend their days volunteering in agencies that address problems of homelessness, hunger employment, and health care.  Speakers and opportunities to debrief as a class are part of each four day week of service.  Students journal and write a final essay about the role of service in their lives.

SOCW 175

SOCW 491
PREREQUISITE: Consent of instructor.


Faculty Leader
Dr. Kathleen Russell, Social Work


Canceled Courses:

Some J-Term 2016 study away courses have been suspended due to curricular/location redundancies and other reasons.  Although the courses listed below received approval, the study away course offerings have been modified in way that reflects our effort to better serve the needs of our students.

The following study away courses have been canceled for a variety of reasons:

  • Arizona, California, Hawaii (ECON 190/388)
  • Denmark and Sweden (BUSA 202/302)
  • England and Scotland (HIST 332)

** Wang Center staff regularly assess the political situations at all PLU program sites in light of student safety and health so that you have a safe and productive educational experience while studying away. **

The Wang Center will support the following MBA International Experience program in 2016:
Please contact the School of Business if you are interested in this program opportunity, 253-535-7244 or business@plu.edu

January 2016 – India
Business and Culture in India
Dr. Gaurav Gupta, Business