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Global Positioning Studies

School of Art & Design students are encouraged to engage the world around them. Global Positioning Studies is an interdisciplinary visual art and design initiative that positions students at the crossroads between a local sense of place and a global understanding of that place in the world.


Through direct experience, Global Positioning Studies (GPS) courses encourage students to engage the world as a fertile ground for creativity and critical research. GPS courses are open to all students and some majors are required to take at least one GPS-designated course.

19th-Century Art History in France

This spring-break study abroad art history course examines a variety of geographical locations and types of landscapes, artistic schools and a wide selection of artists, through the media of painting and photography.

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The Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

This course provides an opportunity to look closely at Wright’s life and work and place it in the context of developments in modern architecture.

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Art and Environment

Art and Environment is a multidisciplinary graduate and upper division undergraduate studio/seminar course open to Art, Art History and Art Education majors.

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Art and Environment: Coastal Maine

This is a four-week, indoor/outdoor field course for artists. The focus of the course will be to study and discuss the notion of place as it pertains to the unique microenvironment of Coastal Maine.

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Art and Environment: Hawaii

Art & Environment: Hawaii is a semester-long, outdoor field course. Study and discuss the notion of place as it pertains to the to the unique microenvironment of the Hawaiian Islands. This is done by engaging water, natural resources and recreational adventure as means to explore the larger environmental and cultural issues that form and shape the area.

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The Art of Andy Warhol

The Art of Andy Warhol is a three-credit GPS course that provides an overview of the ground-breaking and controversial art of Andy Warhol (1928-1987). We look closely at Warhol’s life and work putting it in the context of both the Pop Art movement and American history of the second half of the twentieth century.

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Ceramics in China

West Virginia University has a unique linkage with the famed ceramic city of Jingdezhen. The WVU ceramics program has teamed with the Pottery Workshop to offer a study and travel program in the Peoples Republic of China where students will have the opportunity to study with some of China’s most prominent teachers and ceramic artists.

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Disegno Italia

Join us in this four week, six-credit hour summer study abroad program in Italy!

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Jackson Hole Photography Workshop

The Jackson Hole Photography Workshop explores the diverse and remote region of northwestern Wyoming, including Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

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Painting in China

The international Painting in China program provides an opportunity for tudents to study landscape painting in Chinese ink style in Nanjing and Tangka (scroll painting in Tibetan) in Tongren, Qinghai Province with extensive traveling to major historical and cultural sites throughout China.

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Photography in France

West Virginia University’s GPS-Photography in France course is a Spring semester field course that explores the landscape and culture of France. Daily excursions exploring this stunning region are complemented by digital work sessions, critiques of work in progress, lectures and numerous gallery/museum visits.

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San Gemini Preservation Studies

The San Gemini Preservation Studies GPS course is a four-week, 6-8 credit hour course in San Gemini, Umbria, Italy. This program is a series of courses, field projects and media and place-based experiences aimed at fostering the preservation of cultural heritage. The program offers students both theoretical knowledge in the class- room and hands-on skills on field projects and workshops.

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Space: Atacama

Space: Atacama is a six credit, four-week multimedia, adventure art course that will take students into the remote, northern desert region of Chile to investigate themes of perception, space, positioning, self-awareness and environmental appreciation.

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Award Funding

Student award funding is available to help fund full-time outstanding School of Art & Design students to take a GPS course. Funding preference is given to those planning to attend off-campus courses with greater travel expenses.

Learn more and apply now for a GPS Award

Passport Application

West Virginia University maintains a passport acceptance facility on the Downtown Campus located in Purinton House (1505 University Ave.), room 102 (at the main entrance). The facility is open to WVU students, faculty, and staff, as well as the general public for passport application services and passport photo services.

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