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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:

Thank you for your interest in the Columbia-Bogaziçi Summer Program in Byzantine and Ottoman Studies: History, Monuments and Urban Life for summer 2015! The 2015 application materials and program details are not yet finalized. Most program information will be available by the end of fall 2014 term, though there still may some details outstanding. Please click "Start an Application" below to register your interest in the program with the Office of Global Programs and fill out a short Pre-Application questionnaire. Once you are registered with our system, we will notify you via email when all application components are finalized. We will also notify you of any information sessions and/or events with returned program participants.


Photo Blue Mosque 2Columbia University and Bogaziçi University are offering a joint summer program for a select group of advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students which provides a unique opportunity to learn about the history, urban development, and historic monuments of the city of Byzantion–Constantinople–Istanbul through coursework and site visits that allow them to explore and understand Istanbul’s modern topography as an exciting palimpsest of empires, cultures, and religions first hand. A research and fieldwork component adds practical experience in architectural site survey and documentation, still and panoramic photography, archival work, and issues of architectural conservation.

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. No prior knowledge of Turkish is required.

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 S4350. Byzantion – Constantinople – Istanbul: A City and its Monuments
Professor Holger A. Klein, Chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University

Focusing on Istanbul’s Byzantine artistic and architectural heritage, this seminar offers an introduction to the capital’s most important ecclesiastical and secular monuments through a series of site and museum visits and intensive library workshops. Students will acquire a range of research and documentation skills, work with archival holdings and historic photo collections, and contribute to the Istanbul Research and Documentation Project, an open-access, state-of-the-art digital research and documentation platform that aims to provide detailed information on the city’s Late Antique, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments. 

Architecture of the Sultans: Form, Function, and Ideology in the Imperial Mosques of Istanbul
Dr. Ünver Rüstem, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Art Histopry and Archaeology at Columbia University

This course offers a comprehensive survey of the imperial mosques spanning Istanbul’s history as Ottoman capital. Besides tracing the monuments’ evolution as a category, the course will also explore their artistic, social, and political significance, thus situating the mosques in their wider cultural and historical context. Subjects to be addressed include patronage and audience, architectural practice and the building trade, ceremonial and ritual, topography and urban planning, artistic discourses and theory, and the relationship of Ottoman architecture to Byzantine and European traditions.

History S3992. Introduction to Byzantine History (300-1453 CE)
Professor Koray Durak, Department of History at Bogaziçi University

This course is an introduction to the history of the Byzantine Empire. It covers the transformation of the Late Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, the changing fortunes of the Empire over the centuries, and its subsequent collapse in the face of the Ottoman expansion. While the teaching material is structured chronologically along the lines of a political narrative, it is mainly a course on Byzantine civilization emphasizing social, economic, religious, and cultural aspects of Byzantine civilization, as well as political and military developments. Byzantium will be treated not in isolation, but in a broader world-context comprising its neighbors and political rivals, focusing especially on its relations with the contemporary Muslim world, the Western European powers, and the Balkan Slavs. By the end of the semester, students will have a solid perspective on how Anatolia and the Balkans became an officially Greek-speaking, Orthodox Christian Roman Empire and remained so for a period of roughly one thousand years.

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

Calendar 2014 (tentative)

The dates will be confirmed in acceptance materials

Arrive in Istanbul
June 21
June 22
Classes begin
June 23
Depart Istanbul
August 13


Holger A. Klein is the Chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Professor Klein will be teaching the art history course and is the faculty director for the program.
Ceiling Istanbul

He was educated in Art History, Early Christian Archaeology, and German Literature at the universities of Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich, London, and Bonn. His research focuses on Late Antique, Early Medieval, and Byzantine art and architecture, more specifically, on the cult of relics, reliquaries, and issues of cultural and artistic exchange.

From 2004–2007 he served as the Robert P. Bergman Curator of Medieval Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art and continued to oversee the reinstallation of the museum's renowned collection of Medieval and Byzantine art until 2010. His work as a curator includes various international loan exhibitions, among them Restoring Byzantium. The Kariye Camii in Istanbul and the Byzantine Institute Restoration (Wallach Art Gallery, 2004), Medieval Treasures from The Cleveland Museum of Art (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum/The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007–08) and Treasures of Heaven. Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe (Cleveland Museum of Art/Walters Art Museum/British Museum, 2010–11).

In 2011, he received the 50th annual Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching, which honors a Columbia professor for commitment to undergraduate instruction as well as for "humanity, devotion to truth, and inspiring leadership." Most recently in 2012, he received the Columbia University Distinguished Faculty Award, which recognizes faculty who demonstrate unusual merit as teachers of undergraduate and graduate students as well as outstanding scholarship and service to the university.

Koray Durak received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in History and Middle Eastern Studies in 2008. He is an assistant professor at the Department of History at Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey. He has been teaching courses on the history of the medieval Mediterranean region, the Byzantine history, and the history of Byzantine Constantinople. His main areas of research interest include Byzantine and medieval Islamic trade and networks of exchange, historical geography, geographical imagination in the Middle Ages, and medieval imperial ideology. He won the Young Scientists Award of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA-GEBIP) in 2011. Among his recent publications is an article on the contemporary use of archaizing terms in Byzantine literature in Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik (May 2009), and another one on the Definition of Bilad al-Rum (Land of the Romans) in Medieval Islamic Geographies in the Journal of Intercultural Studies (June 2010). He is currently working on a monograph on exchanges and communications between Byzantines and Islamic Near Easterners in the early Middle Ages.

Ünver Rüstem specializes 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 earned from the University of London, were jointly in Islamic and European art history. His PhD dissertation, which he completed at Harvard University, examines the rise of a new, internationally legible style in the imperial mosques of eighteenth-century Istanbul. He has published articles on the reception and use of illustrated Persian manuscripts in the late Ottoman Empire, and on the exportation of carved tombstones from Istanbul to the empire's provinces.



Host Institution

Bogaziçi 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.

To see pictures and learn more about the host instition, please visit their website, but note that none of the academic  information on the website applies to this program.


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: TBD

Full application materials will be available by the end of fall 2014 semester. Generally, 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 content of the courses or your suitability for the program, please contact Holger Klein (

If you have questions about the application process, finances, or other non-academic concerns, 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 03/01/2015 03/22/2015 06/22/2015 08/09/2015
NOTE: Please note that the program start and end dates are approximate based on last year's dates. Please don't use these dates to plan travel. Dates will be updated once finalized in early 2015.