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  • Locations: Florence, Italy
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Auburn University Faculty-Led Program College/School: Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
AU Faculty Leader(s): Michael Zabala, Click here for a definition of this term Undergraduate GPA Requirement: 2.25 (Undergraduates), 3.0 (Graduates)
Applicant Requirement: AU & Non-AU students may apply Attendance Requirement: 100% Attendance Is Required
Program Description:

Biomechanics & Engineering in the Arts - Florence, Italy

PROGRAM OVERVIEWGoogle Map of Florence, Italy

This course, taught in Florence, Italy (the “Cradle of The Renaissance”), will educate students on the biomechanics and engineering associated with multiple forms of art such as the playing of musical instruments, painting, Renaissance architecture, and dance. Students will also learn about key historical figures of the Renaissance that held major influence on the origins of biomechanics as a field of study as well as modern-day Western art, engineering, and architecture.
Sample lecture topics include:
1) Science and Engineering in The Renaissance
2) Leonardo da Vinci
3) The Biomechanics of Ballet
4) The Biomechanics of Bowed/String Instrument Playing
5) Giovanni Borelli (“The Father of Biomechanics”)
6) Architecture and the Human Body.

A number of the lectures will have corresponding “Experiences” that students will be expected to attend such as the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, the Galileo Museum, Accademia Gallery (home of the “David”), an opera, a ballet performance, and the Santa Maria Del Fiore (Duomo Florence)

Click here to view the Biomechanics in Arts video

ballerina and Dr. Zabala



Participants should be able to navigate bus and train transportation, extensive walking, and stairs.


This program is open to all Engineering majors. Non-Engineering majors will be considered based upon their experience in relevant fields (e.g. Kinesiology or Physics). Non-Engineering majors are encouraged to meet with the program director to discuss participation in the program.

Students will be selected based on both their academic record (minimum GPA of 2.25 and 3.0 at 
time of application for undergraduates and graduates, respectively) and the ability of the individual to meet all objectives, participate in all activities, and evaluate all related tasks.
Group to the OperaStudents will be advised of all pre-departure considerations upon registration. Students should be able to easily travel using mass transit (trains, busses, etc.). A passport is required.


  • 01 February 2020: Program application deadline.
  • 07 May 2020: Program begins in Auburn, AL
  • 16 May 2020: Arrival day in Florence
  • 13 June 2020: Program ends. Students may depart for US.


Program participants will take one course for three credits. This course, offered during the first summer mini-semester, counts toward technical elective credit in the Department of Mechanical Engineering or as a study abroad elective course for non-Mechanical Engineering majors

  • MECH 5970/6970 (3 Credits): Biomechanics and Engineering in the Arts

Class Picture Combo


The program fee is $5,500 which includes the cost of course credit (3 credit hours), double or triple occupancy housing in student-shared apartments, educational and cultural activities, program orientation, cancellation insurance, and the Auburn University International Insurance (through CISI Insurance). This does not include the Auburn Abroad Fee of $691.

For a complete description of charges and estimated expenses, download a copy of the Estimated Student Budget 2020.


  • 06 Dec 2019: Non-refundable confirmation deposit of $200 due to eBill.
  • 07 Feb 2020: First payment installment billed to eBill.
  • 28 Feb 2020: Due date for first payment installment. Withdrawals after this date will incur a $1,000 penalty.
  • 06 March 2020: Second payment installment billed to eBill.
  • 03 April 2020: Due date for second payment installment. There will be no refund after this date.


Students will live in double or triple occupancy rooms in student-shared apartments located in the historic city center, within walking distance of many must-see attractions. Housing assignments are communicated prior to arrival in the form of a housing information sheet and are designed to match the needs and expectations of each program participant. This housing documentation will detail the housing, amenities, occupants, location, description of the neighborhood and a distance chart to local points of interest. 

During overnight excursions, students will be provided housing in double or triple occupancy rooms in three-star hotels. All placements have WiFi access and include reasonable use of utilities. 


Florence, Italy

The treasure that is the city of Florence has attracted visitors from every society, from Roman to modern times. Though Florence is an ancient city, the focal point today is its Renaissance art and architecture, which have contributed to it frequently being named one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, its streets present a stunning reflection of the birth and development of modern society, which shifted importance toward the individual and creativity. This extremely walkable city (closed to traffic except residents, taxis, and busses) is also a busy center for art and design, home to top fashion, architecture and culinary delights



Students will participate in a variety of afternoon activities designed to enhance their learning and appreciation of engineering and the arts as well as 
Indoor Opera
local culture. Activities include:
  • Welcome Dinner and Florence Walking Tour upon arrival
  • Florence Artisan Tour
  • Leonardo Da Vinci Museum visit
  • Accademia Gallery Museum visit
  • Uffizi Gallery Museum visit
  • Santa Maria del Fiore (il Duomo) visit
  • Galileo Museum visit
  • Opera performance
  • Ballet performance
  • Winery visit, including tastings and group lunch
  • Cooking Class including dinner
  • Farewell Dinner

Day Trip Excursion to Bologna:
Approximately 100 km (62 mi.) from Florence lies Bologna, Italy. This relatively quiet, medieval town has been described as charming, historic, and fun to explore. This day trip will begin with a professionally guided tour of Museo dell Specola (Observatory Museum). Following this tour will be a group lunch. In the afternoon, students will attend a professionally guided tour of the Anatomical Theatre of Archiginnasio, a stunning anatomical theater carved from spruce located in the oldest existing university in the world, The University of Bologna; this is where live performances of human cadaver dissections were given to teach the new anatomical discoveries of the time.

Overnight Excursion to Rome:
Approximately 275 km (171 mi.) from Florence lies Rome, the capital of Italy and the location of Vatican City. Students will begin the day in Florence by attending a lecture on either the “Biomechanics of Ballet” or “Biomechanics of Acoustics of Singing/Voice”. Following lecture, students will embark upon a trip to Rome where that same night they will attend either a ballet or an opera (depending upon availability at venues within the city).


If you DO NOT have a PASSPORT, please check for the nearest local passport office at Auburn Abroad recommends that you apply for a passport as soon as possible. If you already have a passport: Please check the expiration date. Passports should be valid for at least 6 months following your scheduled time abroad.


  • This program does NOT require a student visa for U.S. Citizens.
  • Non-U.S. Citizens should verify visa requirements


Contact Michael Zabala ( with any program specific questions.


This program is currently not accepting applications.