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If you have questions about this program, email the program leader listed below.

The Splendor of Madrid under the Habsburgs

The arrangements for the travel, housing, meals, excursions and course content of this program have been made by the leader. Questions about this program can only be answered by the program leader listed below.

Program Type Departmental
Program Location Madrid, Spain
Course # SA 11003
Duration Summer
Upcoming Program Dates
Summer 2022 05/15/22 to 06/11/22

Program Leader

Name Silvia Mitchell

Due to COVID-19, programs may be altered or adapted with little notice

Program Description

Taking place entirely in Madrid, this Study-Abroad Honor program focuses on the city’s historical, artistic, and architectural development under the Habsburgs, the dynasty that ruled the Spanish monarchy as a global empire. While delivery of the curriculum is fully integrated, students will register for two, 3-credit Honor Courses: “HONR 299—Madrid: Court and Capital of Spain’s Global Empire” and “HIST 302H—The Spanish Habsburgs, 1500-1700.” Our journey begins with an exploration of Madrid’s medieval Arabic foundations and follows with understanding its development into a fully Renaissance city when the Habsburgs adopted it as their permanent residence in the sixteenth century. Then, we will delve into the Madrid that became the paragon of baroque culture in the seventeenth century and experience it through the eyes of the rulers and inhabitants of the past. We will walk through the same areas in a city famous for extreme fashion styles, popular festivities, and aristocratic carriage-drawn outings in the parks, and recreate some of the most common activities that Madrid residents—madrileños—adopted, such as consuming new and fun foods like chocolate in the Plaza Mayor. All of these activities took place in today’s paradigmatic tourist destinations and have been immortalized in the magisterial art left behind by the likes of Rembrandt, Titian, and Velazquez. Visits to the Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor, the Plaza del Oriente, the Retiro Park, and the Casa del Campo as well as finding art in the most important museums, such as the Prado, but also in less visited churches and buildings sprinkled in the old areas of the city, will be the lens through which we will appreciate the artistic, cultural, and power structures that helped make Madrid one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the time. The course includes day trips to nearby cities—Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, and Aranjuez—to provide additional perspectives and points of comparison. Adopting Madrid as a classroom, this course provides a unique experience of the Habsburgs’ splendid artistic, cultural, and historical legacy. 

The Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park

An example of a "classroom": The Retiro Park, one of the most popular destinations for anyone visiting Madrid was initially built by Philip IV as a pleasure palace; although the initial building did not survive, the gardens continue to provide an illydic setting for an afternoon stroll, sightseeing, and a host of fun outdoor activities. For us, it will also be an opportunity to think about how inhabitants of the city experienced it. 

Program Video

Please contact program leader for more information: Silvia Z. Mitchell,

Professor Mitchell is a leading expert of the history of the Spanish monarchy in the seventeenth century and the royal House of Habsburgs. For more information about her research and publications, clicke here: Silvia Z. Mitchell


Academic Credit

While delivery of the curriculum is fully integrated, students will register for two, 3-credit Honor Courses:

HONR 299—Madrid: Court and Capital of Spain’s Global Empire

HIST 302H—The Spanish Habsburgs, 1500-1700



Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA to be admitted to the program. 

Program Cost

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss.

estimated $5,500 (excludes airfare)

  • Tuition
  • Logding:

Espasahotel Plaza de España—Central location in the city, walking distance to all places we will be visiting.

Free internet.

Double rooms with Kitchenette and small fridge.

Free continental breakfast.

  • Transportation from airport to hotel on arrival (departure on public transport or share taxis).
  • Entrance fee to four major museums in Madrid:

Museo del Prado

Palacio Real

Museo Reina Sophia

Museo Thyssen

  • Transportation to and from, dinner, and entrance fee to landmarks to the following cities:

El Escorial





Application Deadline

Priority Deadline is December 1st, 2021. After that, applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Financial Aid

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.

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