The Urban Research Lab

Opening in 2017!

The Urban Research Lab is a study abroad program that offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to delve deeply into meaningful research projects of their own design. Students design, research, and present a substantial piece of work in their chosen area. This process of research and discovery is supported by the Alliance’s network of local experts, including social entrepreneurs, academics, artists, journalists, business leaders, and policymakers – as well as our team of faculty advisors. Based in Istanbul, Turkey, a historic cultural crossroads and modern-day metropolis, students will be exposed to a wealth of subject areas to explore.

Program Terms Fall Semester, Spring Semester
Credit Hours 15
Subjects Offered Art History, Communications, Economics, International Affairs, Political Science, Turkish
Language Pre-Requisites None
Field Components Directed Research
Housing Dormitory with Turkish Roommates
Excursions Two Weekend Excursions
Application Deadlines April 15 (Fall), November 1 (Spring)

All students are encouraged to consider studying abroad for an academic year, whether continuing in their current study abroad program to deepen their understanding of Istanbul, or at a different Alliance program center to experience another place and culture.

istanbul Research Fellowships

Substantial research fellowships of $2,500 are available to students studying abroad at the Urban Research Lab. To be eligible, you must complete your application to the Urban Research Lab program and the fellowship by our application deadline.

The Urban Research Lab program opens the doors for you to design, research, and present a substantial piece of work in your chosen area while using the city of Istanbul as your laboratory. This 15-credit semester study abroad program is centered on a student-driven directed research project, supported by three foundational courses taught in English plus Turkish language study.

Curriculum

DIRR 350 Directed Research (3 credits)

The Urban Research Lab offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to delve deeply into meaningful research projects of their own design. This process of research and discovery is supported by the Alliance’s network of local experts, including social entrepreneurs, academics, artists, journalists, business leaders, and policymakers – as well as our team of faculty advisors. This course involves a minimum of 155 contact hours. For more detailed information, visit the Directed Research page.

SOCI 370 / POLS 370 Islam and Modernity in Istanbul (3 credits)

This course uncovers Istanbul’s many layers through the interplay of religion and secular culture. From early Christian origins, through the rise of Islam and subsequent Ottoman centuries of multi-culturalism and religious tolerance, to the founding of the secular Turkish state, Istanbul has both embodied and struggled with the cosmopolitan coexistence of multiple ethnic and religious groups. This course provides insights into these political, social, and historical currents, and forms an experiential and academic basis for students to pursue their own areas of academic interest.

IAFF 361 / ECON 361 Migration, Trade, and Regional Politics (3 credits)

This course situates Turkey in its regional context, at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East. On one side is the prospect of integration into the European Union and a rich history of immigration, occupation, and influence throughout Europe and the Western Mediterranean. On the other is the Middle East, with questions of Kurdish and other ethnic minorities that span national borders, regional dynamics stemming from the Arab Spring, and conflicts in neighboring Syria. Turkey’s economic ascendance and its burgeoning role as a power player are pivotal on both fronts.

COMM 360 / ARTH 360 Avant-Garde Istanbul: Art, Media, and Culture (3 credits)

Delving into Istanbul’s vibrant art and performance scene, and engaging Turkish media through soap operas, film, and advertising, this course examines the contemporary evolution of Turkish culture – its conflicts, resolutions, European and Middle Eastern influences, as well as its own expanding cultural influence within the Arab world. In addition to exploring the city’s architectural heritage, students attend performances and exhibits through the city, and critically examine content of the airwaves and the print culture surrounding them.

TURK 100 Turkish Language (3 credits)

No previous language experience is required. This course focuses on basics of Turkish language, equipping students to move about Istanbul, engage its population, and converse at a beginning level. Intermediate and advanced instruction is available for students who have previously studied Turkish language.

The Urban Research Lab program offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to delve deeply into meaningful research projects of their own design while studying abroad in the heart of Istanbul. Students design, research, and present a substantial piece of work in their chosen area. This process of research and discovery is supported by the Alliance’s network of local experts, including social entrepreneurs, academics, artists, journalists, business leaders, and policymakers – as well as our team of faculty advisors.  

Students have regular meetings with faculty guides in their subject area to discuss the formation and execution of their research plans. All directed research projects are subject to the interest and availability of faculty and may require prior relevant coursework.

A detailed syllabus for the Directed Research course is forthcoming. We invite you to review our similar Directed Research offering and syllabus in Manipal, India, to better understand how this field-based component may be structured.

Creative student proposals in interdisciplinary areas spanning the social sciences and humanities are welcome. Potential research areas include:

  • Democracy and Human Rights
  • New Media and Contemporary Social Thought
  • Architecture and Urban Culture
  • Migration and the Refugee Experience
  • Multiculturalism and the Arts
  • Turkish Popular and Visual Culture
  • Current Issues in the Middle East
  • European Integration: History, Politics, and Economics
  • Urbanization and Sustainable Development
  • Islam and the West: Bridging the Gap

Istanbul Research Fellowships

Substantial research fellowships of $2,500 are available to students studying abroad at the Urban Research Lab. To be eligible, you must complete your application to the Urban Research Lab program and the fellowship by our application deadline.

Alliance faculty are drawn from across Istanbul’s many prominent academic institutions, think tanks, research institutes, and NGOs. This allows us to select faculty who are among the best in their field, who have experience working with foreign or U.S. students, and who are committed to the high standards of academic excellence for which our programs are known.

Faculty names and CVs will be posted at a later date.

A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience. All Alliance for Global Education courses have undergone a faculty review and approval process, and are transcripted by Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. While in most cases students who have received approval from their home institution to study on an Alliance program can be assured of credits transferring, it is each student’s responsibility to work with the home school study abroad advisor and faculty or academic departments to ensure credit transfer for specific courses.  

Credits and Accreditation

Credits granted for Alliance courses are identified in course listings on the Curriculum page for each program, and appear on the official transcript issued at the completion of a student's term. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time course load they completed while abroad.

All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Butler University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Butler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs approved by the Butler University College of Business—which include the Alliance’s International Business in China Program—are accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Grades

Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course taken while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals may be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Although policies at students' home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi. The grading scale used in determining letter grades is as follows:

Excellent      A 93-100% Acceptable C+ 77-79%
A- 90-92% C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
Good    B+ 87-89% Unsatisfactory D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%
Failing F < 60%

Transcripts

At the conclusion of a program, an official transcript is sent to the participant's home school, with an unofficial copy forwarded to the participant. Please use this form if Alliance has accepted you into a program and you have changed your home, school, or billing address. Federal regulations require official documentation and a signature for address changes.

Because timelines for final evaluation may vary due to respective program calendars or administrative structures of partner universities abroad, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:

  • Fall programs - transcript issued in late February
  • Spring and Summer programs - transcript issued in late September

Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance of program fees or other charge incurred while on the program. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.

Students in Alliance programs from Summer 2014 and beyond can request additional transcripts of their transcripts online at any time from Butler University's online transcript ordering service provided by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization serving the higher education community. 

For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts were issued by Arcadia University. Students enrolled during that time can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please contact your Academic Records Coordinator.

Opening in 2017!

Academic Calendar

  • Spring semester begins in mid-January and concludes in mid-May
  • Fall semester begins in mid-August and concludes in mid-December

Semester Structure

The 16–17 week semester begins with a multi-day on-site orientation. Two long weekends are built into the calendar for Alliance-organized excursions outside of Istanbul. In addition, there are several field visits to various points of interest in and around Istanbul. One week is set aside for independent travel during the semester. The semester concludes with a two-day seminar where research is presented and discussed, and students are prepared for their return home.

Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly activities, and regular field visits, the Alliance strongly discourages study abroad students from hosting visitors until after the end of the semester. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit after the program has ended.

Alliance study abroad students live in student dormitories in centrally-located neighborhoods on Istanbul's European side, a short commute from the program center and just steps from shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and public transportation. Men and women are housed separately and may opt for either Turkish or other international roommates. Dormitories offer WiFi, 24/7 security, kitchen and laundry facilities, housekeeping, and a fitness center.

Meals are not included in the Alliance program fee, although some group meals are provided during orientation and other events. Student-oriented dining facilities are plentiful and relatively inexpensive in Istanbul. Alliance students also have access to shared kitchens in their accommodations.

A distinct feature of our programs in Istanbul is the opportunity to live with a Turkish university student. This allows Alliance study abroad students to get to know Turkish students on campus quickly and to engage in language and cultural exchange with their new friends. Turkish roommates are invited to attend many of the organized activities.

The program calendar is filled with numerous activities in and around Istanbul designed to enhance students’ understanding of Turkish culture. Throughout their term studying abroad, students will explore Istanbul’s many historical sites, visit businesses and NGOs, and participate in arts workshops. All activities are subject to change.

Students may have the opportunity to:

  • Explore Yeşilçam, early Turkish cinema, and attend one of the many international film festivals held in the city
  • Visit the central business district of Levent and see the Sapphire building, Turkey’s first ecological skyscraper and tallest building
  • Get acquainted with Turkish cuisine in a cooking class through making dolma, baklava, and other specialties
  • Learn how to make İznik ceramics and pottery from local artists and artisans
  • Witness members of the Mevlevi sect of Sufism, also known as the whirling dervishes, perform their traditional sema ceremony
  • Sit down with international lawyers and development workers based at key regional offices for Europe, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Rent a bike and explore Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara

Opening in 2017!

What's Included

The program price includes tuition and fees, housing, some meals, pre-departure materials, student visa authorizations, orientation, cell phone, organized activities, excursions, course materials, the services of a full-time resident staff, and medical/evacuation insurance.

what's not included

The program price does not include airfare to Istanbul, most meals, passport and visa fees, local transportation, phone and internet usage, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included.

out of pocket expenses

When making your budget, think about your spending habits – are you a “Just the Essentials” Traveler, happy to cook your meals at home and explore the city on foot or by tram? Or are you more of the “Everything Extra” Traveler, who wants to experience everything – nights out, coffees at Starbucks, and traveling every weekend?

Estimated Out of Pocket Expenses for One Semester

Roundtrip airfare to Istanbul $ 800-1200
E-Visa $ 20
Residence Permit (depending on duration) $ 40
Meals $ 1,500-2,000
Local transportation $ 400
Phone usage $ 50
Internet usage $ 50
Incidentals and personal care items $ 100
Entertainment $ 250-500
Independent travel $ 250-750
Estimated Total $ 3,460 -$5,110

istanbul Research Fellowships

Substantial research fellowships of $2,500 are available to students studying abroad at the Urban Research Lab. To be eligible, you must complete your application to the Urban Research Lab program and the fellowship by our application deadline.

Remember to check in with your home university and visit our Finances pages to learn more about financial aid and study abroad scholarships.

Our program center is centrally situated on the European side of Istanbul and serves as an academic hub where you take classes, consult with your faculty mentors, and meet specially-invited guest speakers. It’s also only minutes away from some of the city’s most interesting World Heritage sites, museums, galleries, restaurants, and cafés.

Two long-weekend trips offer Alliance study abroad students exposure to the geographical, social, and cultural diversity of Turkey. Destinations may include the capital city of Ankara, the geological wonders of Cappadocia, and the Greek-influenced port of İzmir.

 

Take the Next Step

×
×