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Madrid and Southern Spain: Islamic Spain

Madrid & Southern Spain: Islamic Spain

  • Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada
  • TRAVL-UG 9352 | 4 credits | Instructor: Mehmet Darakcıoglu (NYU Gallatin) 
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate, NYU and non-NYU students
  • TRAVEL DATES: May 26 - June 23
    • Round 1: Feb. 15 (priority registration)  | admissions notification by March 1
    • Round 2: March 10  | admissions notification by April 1

Space is limited and some programs close before the final deadline. Early application is encouraged. Students must confirm participation approximately 2 weeks after the advertised dates.

Mosque of Cordoba

From the arrival of the Umayyids in 711 until the fall of the Emirate of Granada in 1492, Muslims created a vibrant and cosmopolitan civilization in Spain where arts, philosophy, science, and different communities of faith flourished. Al-Andalus emerged as a hub of cultural and intellectual exchange amongst Muslims, Christians, and Jews. 

Europe’s relationship with Islam remains problematic as it often involves cultural essentialism and “othering." The arrival of increasing numbers of Muslim immigrants and refugees in Europe in recent decades has reinforced the negative perception of Islam. Islamic Spain offers useful and necessary historical context to explore the deep, productive, meaningful, and less antagonistic exchanges between Europe and Islam. Studying the Islamic past of the Iberian Peninsula will allow us to develop useful insights regarding a complex, multilingual, polyethnic, and pluralistic society.         

The course will be divided into three parts: First, we will study the birth and expansion of Islam with an emphasis on the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Then, we will examine state and society in different periods of Muslim rule in Spain (Umayyad, Almohad, Almoravid, and Taifa). Finally, we will learn about the end of Muslim rule in Spain. The bulk of the course will focus on the second part, which will consider various aspects of politics, society, religion, culture, arts, philosophy, and sciences in Al-Andalusia. We will visit sites of historical importance including Alhambra, Alcazar of Seville, and the Grand Mosque of Cordoba. Since this is a travel course, visiting historical sites features as a key component of our experiential learning. We will enjoy cultural attractions such as a Flamenco Show and contemporary culinary traditions. ¡Vamos, ya!

This course, taught in English, will include visits to many sites of historical importance. Students will spend three weeks in Madrid along with a weeklong trip to the southern cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada.

Gallatin students: This course fulfills four units of the Interdisciplinary Seminar as well as the Humanities, Pre-modern, or Global requirements.

Note: Students who are enrolled in this course cannot concurrently take another course.


  • Undergraduate students of all NYU and non-NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least one full-time college semester before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing
  • Must be matriculated at a college or university during the Summer 2022 term


All advertised fees below will be due according to NYU’s summer billing cycle (typically early May).

*Program fee includes mandatory excursions, some meals, and mandatory international health insurance, which is provided for the program duration. IMPORTANT: the program fee becomes nonrefundable after students confirm participation in the course.

Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Round-trip airfare (students purchase their own tickets and are responsible for their own accommodation for travel beyond the program dates); students will be notified when to book flights
  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Most meals and local transportation

Financial Aid

The Gallatin Dean's Scholarship is available for this program. See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for details on eligibility and additional opportunities.

Important Travel Details

Housing: Students are required to reside in housing arranged by NYU Gallatin. Students who have questions or concerns about accessibility or disability-related accommodations should contact NYU’s Moses Center.

Travel Documents: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, and certain participants might need a travel visa. These documents should be obtained well in advance of the program start date.

Helpful LinksLonely Planet Spain, US State Department: Travel to Spain

Contact Info

NYU Gallatin Office of Global Programs
411 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003
1 (212) 998-7133 phone
1 (212) 995-4265 fax

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