Brown in Cuba/CASA Program

At a Glance
City: Havana, Cuba
Partner: Casa de Las Américas and University of Havana
Housing: Student Guest Residence
Language requirement: HISP 0600
Calendar: Fall or Spring semesters
Accepts non-Brown students: Space-available basis


Beginning with the spring 2015 academic term, the Brown in Cuba program will transition to the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad Program (CASA-Cuba) in Havana. 

One of the longest running socialist experiments in history, Cuba is at a critical crossroad. Cuba’s political and economic spheres have long been subjects of interest and debate providing fertile ground for exciting academic inquiry. Havana, the captial city, was founded nearly 500 years ago, and due to its location, became a center of ship-building in the Caribbean and a strategic stopping point in the Spanish colonial empire. Today it is a sprawling metropolis, home to 2 million residents, and a mix of European, Latin, and American influences. Historic Old Havana, with its diverse architectural styles, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) is a collaborative initiative involving seven U.S. universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, and the University of Pennsylvania.  Each CASA member institution reserves the right to participate in a given CASA Divisional Program.  CASA's Divisional Program in Cuba (CASA-Cuba) provides students with a unique opportunity to have direct access to Cuba’s leading institution of higher learning, the University of Havana, and to Casa de Las Américas, the Cuban government’s premier research institution  – since its founding in 1959 – on Caribbean and Latin American studies, Cuban culture and the arts.

CASA-Cuba, the University of Havana and Casa de Las Américas have worked together to develop a program of study that will challenge you to achieve a critical understanding of the key issues facing Cuba today and enable you to interact with some of the country’s leading academic experts in the social sciences, arts and the humanities.  You will immerse yourself in Cuba, taking in credit-bearing lectures from recognized experts in Spanish on key issues facing the country and interacting with peers who share your intellectual curiosity about Cuba’s past, present and future.   Your courses will be complemented throughout the semester with special seminars and guest lectures by respected experts from other key research centers, including the Centro de Estudios Demográficos (CEDEM), Cuba’s premier research organization focusing on demographic studies and social research, the Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana and the Centro de Investigación de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello.  In addition, interested students will be encouraged to carry out focused research projects that will engage them with recognized Cuban experts in given disciplines and connect them with local archives, museums, and key cultural organizations.  


The program begins with a one-week on-site orientation that introduces students to the city of Havana, as seen through pre- and post-revolution lenses. This orientation helps students understand basic social, political, and cross-cultural elements that inform everyday life in the city. Visits to different parts of Havana orient students to the city's geography. Additional excursions beyond the city are integrated into the academic calendar.


Students will have an opportunity to enroll in up to four courses taught in Spanish in either of the following combinations:


  • Combination of courses offered through Casa de Las Américas and direct-enrollment courses through the University of Havana

Courses will be delivered by a group of carefully selected faculty, recognized experts from Casa de las Americas and the University of Havana. Individual courses will meet for 60 hours per semester. 

Courses Offered through CASA

CASA-delivered courses are taught by a group of carefully selected faculty, including CASA’s Academic Director in Cuba, recognized experts from Casa de Las Américas and faculty from the University of Havana.  Each course meets for a total of 60 hours, the equivalent of four semester hours.  Visit the CASA-Cuba Program of Study for individual course descriptions.

  • Cuban Public Health Past and Present
  • Cultural History of Cuba
  • Gender, Race, and Inequalities in Cuba: Visions from Cuban Scholars
  • 21st Century Cuban and Latin American Literatures

University of Havana Courses

Students can choose from courses in literature, the arts, Afro-Caribbean studies and music at the University of Havana’s Faculty of Arts and Letters, or courses in Cuban history, philosophy and religion, political sociology, and Latin American thought through the Faculty of Philosophy and History.  See  departmental course offerings and descriptions: History, Philosophy, Sociology and Arts and Letters.

In addition to the academic program, the Cuba study center will arrange special topics-based lectures, exhibitions, recitals, and local field visits to expose students to the tremendous cultural mosaic of the country.

Academic Calendar

NOTE: The academic calendar below is an approximation. Specific dates may vary.

Fall Semester - Late August to mid-December

Spring Semester  -  Late January to mid-May

See Fall 2015 calendar for specific program dates.


Students share living accommodations in various residences. All residences are safe, clean, and secure, located in the Vedado district, within walking distance to Casa de Las Americas and the University of Havana. Students share ample rooms that are air-conditioned, with modern toilets and showers, and are provided with breakfast and dinner each day.  Washing machines are available and bottled water is provided. 

Application Instructions

Apply by the deadline using Brown's online application system via the "apply now" and "return to application" buttons on the right side of this page.  Applications typically require faculty recommendations so it is important to begin the process early.