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Columbia-Bogazici Byzantine Studies and Urban Mapping in Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Dates &
Click here to view
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
English Program Type: Columbia Administered Program
Program Advisor:
Lindsey Schram: Eligibility: CU and Visiting Undergrads, Graduate Students, and Postgrads
Summer Program: Columbia Summer Program Discipline: Humanities
Program Description:


Photo Blue Mosque 2Columbia University and Bogazici University are offering an exciting a joint summer program for undergraduate and graduate students which provides a unique opportunity to learn about the history, urban development, and historic monuments of the city of Byzantion/Constantinople/Istanbul.  In situ exploration of Byzantine and Ottoman monuments is complemented by readings and discussions providing context and background to the monuments being visited.  Participants are encouraged to explore and understand Istanbul’s modern topography as an exciting palimpsest of empires, cultures, and religions first hand.  

While previous coursework or experience in history, art history, or archaeology is preferred, the program can accommodate students with varying academic backgrounds who have a strong interest in understanding the evolution of the city of Istanbul through a historical and cultural lens.

Please click on the following links for more information:

Academic Program

Host Institution
  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student in good academic standing. Post-graduates may also apply.
  • Previous coursework in art history or the equivalent is preferred.
  • No prior knowledge of Turkish is required.
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA

The program is open only to a select group of 14 students who will enroll in the three program courses.
Hagia Sophia
Upon successful completion of the full program, paricipants are awarded 9 points of Columbia University credit. No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full program.


All students enroll in the following three courses for a total of 9 points:

Art History O4350. Byzantion – Constantinople – Istanbul: A City and its Monuments. 4 points. 
Nikolas Bakirtzis, Assistant Professor, The Cyprus Institute

From the time of its inauguration under Constantine the Great in 330 CE to its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Constantinople, the former Greek colony and later capital of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire, formed the most important political, economic, and artistic center in the Mediterranean world. While the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed ‘Fâtih’ (1451-1481) brought about the end of the Byzantine Empire, the city itself, renamed Istanbul by the Islamic conquerors, remained one of the most important political, artistic and cultural centers of the Eastern Mediterranean, with Islamic architects drawing heavily upon earlier Byzantine traditions and achievements. 

Art History O4500. Architecture of the Sultans: Form, Function, and Ideology in the Imperial Mosques of Istanbul. 3 points. 
Dr. Ünver Rüstem, Fari Sayeed Visiting Fellow in Islamic Art, Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge University

The imperial mosques of Istanbul dominated the landscape of the Ottoman capital, and remain an integral feature of the city’s urban fabric. This field seminar offers a comprehensive survey of these monuments, from the converted sixth-century church of Hagia Sophia to less familiar nineteenth-century examples. As well as tracing their evolution as a category, the course will also explore the mosques’ artistic and social significance. This investigation will in turn provide a more general overview of Istanbul’s varied architectural heritage.

Art History O4XXX. Istanbul: Heritage and Public Space. 2 points.
Rachel Iannacone.

This course will examine the heritage of Istanbul through the lens of public space. It will tackle aspects of the contemporary city, its public spaces and address heritage issues. On-site assignments and presentations will draw from the monumental past of the city to better understand contemporary Istanbul as a rich cultural tapestry of heritage and use. Students will gain an understanding of scholarship and theory about public space from a variety of perspectives including Geography, Architecture, Anthropology, Urban Planning and Public Policy. Students will conduct on-site observations and surveys of public spaces in Istanbul examining factors that affect behavior in public spaces as well as the experience of heritage such as architecture, landscape, sound, weather, commerce, transportation and traffic congestion.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.

Calendar 2015 (tentative)

The dates will be confirmed in acceptance materials

Arrive in Istanbul/Welcome Dinner
June 20
Program Orientation
June 21
Classes begin
June 22
Classes end July 31
Depart Istanbul
August 1


Holger A. Klein is the Chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Professor Klein is the Columbia Faculty Director for the program.
Ceiling Istanbul

Ünver Rüstem (on-site Program Director) is the Fari Sayeed Visiting Fellow in Islamic Art, Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College at Cambridge University. He specialises in the art and architecture of the Islamic world, with a focus on the Ottoman Empire in its later centuries. He is particularly interested in East-West intersections and interactions, and his BA and MA, both from the University of London (SOAS and UCL), were jointly in Islamic and European art history. He earned his doctorate at Harvard University, where he wrote a dissertation on the architectural transformation of eighteenth-century Istanbul, a project for which he was awarded a Junior Fellowship at Istanbul's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations. Before coming to Cambridge, he was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow and Lecturer at Columbia University.

Dr. Rüstem's research cuts across media and genres. His first article, which in its draft form won the 2009 Margaret B. Ševcenko Prize for the best unpublished article on Islamic art by a young scholar, explores the reception of illustrated Islamic manuscripts as revealed by a group of Ottoman textual inserts added to the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp. His forthcoming publications include an article on the importation of marble tombstones from Istanbul to Cyprus, edited translations of two later Ottoman primary sources on architecture and its ceremonial context, and a coauthored essay about a unique jewelled gun commissioned by Sultan Mahmud I. At present, he is writing a book on Ottoman Baroque architecture, which will be the first major anglophone study devoted to the subject, and he is also working on the Ottomans' use of costume books and clothed mannequins to represent their empire to foreign audiences between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

Nikolas Bakirtzis is an Assistant Professor at The Cyprus Institute.  He  studied Archaeology and Social Anthropology the Aristotle University of Thessalonike in Greece and received his PhD in Art and Architectural History from Princeton University in the U.S. His research and publications concentrate on the material culture, the historic landscapes and the architectural heritage of the Early Christian, Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean. He was awarded a Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellowship, an Honorary Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities and has been a Senior Fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations of Koc University in Istanbul and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology. During the 2008-2009 academic year he was Cass Gilbert Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and Research Associate at the Center for World Heritage Sites of the University of Minnesota. He has been active in numerous archaeological and curatorial projects in Greece, Cyprus and the U.S. Among his research activities, he directs Princeton University’s “Mt. Menoikeion Seminar,” an interdisciplinary educational project in Northern Greece organized by Princeton’s Seeger Center Hellenic Studies, which studies the art, archaeology and anthropology of one of the foremost centers of Byzantine monasticism.

Dr. Bakirtzis was awarded a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant by the European Commission and joined STARC in June 2009 to direct the research project TIEM - Tracing Identity in the Eastern Mediterranean; A Digital Survey of Late Medieval Monuments in the Eastern Mediterranean Islands. In May 2012 he assumed the position of Assistant Professor at STARC where he has been active in various other research and outreach activities such as the collaborative project with the Department of Antiquities for the study and preparation of Management Plans for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Cyprus, the development of the state-of-the-art RTI Imaging facility for archaeological objects and works of art at the Cyprus Institute, and the Antikythera Exhibition in Paphos and Nicosia.

Rachel Iannacone received her Ph.D. from the History of Art Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was trained as a historian of 18th, 19th and 20th century architecture and landscape architecture. Her research interests focus on the study of the built environment within its historical and social context and the ways architectural design and urban planning reflect the intricate networks of public life. Professor Iannacone is working on a book that explores the Small Parks Movement in New York City. She is exploring how these parks were used and, in turn, adapted by their users. An article based on that work recently appeared in Gardens and Cultural Change: A Pan-American Perspective, edited by Michel Conan and Jeffrey Quilter (Dumbarton Oaks, 2008). Additional work also appears in Robert Moses and the Transformation of New York (Rizzoli 2007), edited by Hilary Ballon and Kenneth Jackson


Students will be housed in shared apartments in central Istanbul within easy walking distance of public transportation. The apartments are furnished, with a fully-stocked kitchen, sheets and towels. 

Host Institution

With its headquarters in Istanbul, Columbia Global Centers | Turkey serves as a hub for Columbia programs and initiatives relevant to Turkey and the region.  The Center aims to contribute to the academic and research environment of Turkey across a variety of fields, while also allowing members of the Columbia community to increase their knowledge and explore academic opportunities within Turkey. The Center works in collaboration with local universities, non-governmental organizations and public institutions to design cross-cutting, innovative programs and partnerships with different Schools, Centers and Institutes within Columbia. Ongoing events, lectures and seminars hosted by the Center also act towards building a lively and engaged community of local and international alumni, students and faculty.

Columbia Global Centers | Turkey was launched in November 2011 and became fully operational in January 2012. The Center is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of Columbia University senior administrators, and receives guidance from a University-wide Faculty Steering Committee and the Office of Columbia Global Centers. An Advisory Board composed of prominent academics, public figures and business leaders also provides oversight, ongoing leadership and counsel regarding the Center’s activities. 

University, one of the most prominent universities in Turkey, is located on the east side of Istanbul overlooking the Bosphorus. Modeled on American style univeristies, there are four faculties: arts and sciences, economics and administrative sciences, engineering, and education. Currently there are over 900 faculty and close to 11,000 students. Bogaziçi and Columbia have agreements in place that allow for the exchange of students during the academic year.

Please visit their website to learn more about the institution, but note than none of the academic information applies to this program. 


PLEASE NOTE: Summer 2015 Tuition and Fees should be posted shortly. The fees from 2014 are here as a guideline for costs. 

Summer 2014 Tuition and Fees

The list below is intended to summarize possible charges that could be incurred against a student's account. Certain charges depend upon specific circumstances, as noted.
Program Fee $9,500
Transcript Fee* $105
Withdrawal Fee** $75

*One-time fee for students who have not paid the Columbia transcript fee previously.
**Required of any student who withdraws from program once registered

Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change.

Estimated Expenses
The estimated expenses below are NOT paid to the program. The figures below can be used to plan average meal and miscellaneous costs abroad. However, please remember that each person has individual spending habits and that you must decide for yourself how much to budget. Depending on your personal spending habits, as well as the depreciating dollar, you may decide to bring more than what is listed below.
Roundtrip airfare NY to Istanbul $1,400
Meals $650-$900
Miscellaneous $700

*Please note that all students must have health insurance which covers them overseas.

Financial Aid

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to your study abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia students.

Scholarships Other resources
Graduate students

Columbia PhD students hoping to use the summer tuition credit, must apply directly to GSAS. The instructions and guidelines for this award can be found at the following website:


Application deadline: March 20

The online application includes the following:

  • Application
  • Official Transcript
  • Academic Recommendation

If the button below indicates that the program is not currently accepting applications, please send a message to with your name, school, Istanbul, and term of interest. We will notify you as soon as the application is available.


If you have questions about the program, please contact Lindsey Schram ( in the Office of Global Programs.

All photos © Columbia University, Media Center for Art History

Columbia Dates & Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline/Columbia Clearance Deadline Decision Date & Deadline Note Start Date End Date
Summer 2015 03/20/2015 03/31/2015 06/20/2015 08/01/2015