Baltimore Urban Studies

A Campus for Reconciliation and Transformational Learning

The Baltimore Urban Studies (BUS) is a “study away,” experiential learning program, designed to teach, mentor, and train college students in spiritual formation and public health while providing urban global health internships.

Danté Upshaw and Micah Hughes have been close friends and spiritual family since 2001. Now, after two decades of Danté Upshaw working in spiritual formation and pastoral ministry and Micah Hughes working in global health and higher education, their paths have come together again to establish the BUS.

Our nation continues to battle the challenges and effects of this global pandemic that illustrates a disproportionately devastating effect on the health and livelihood of African-American, Latinx, Native, and urban communities. We believe there is an increasing need for Christian practitioners in all areas of healthcare practice and social justice work to have a deeply formed inner life as they seek, with wisdom and compassion, to positively impact individuals and communities. We are grateful to partner with churches, clinics, agencies, and community leaders of Baltimore and Washington D.C. to provide transformative learning experiences for college students from across the United States.


Summer 2022

May 16 - June 3, 2022

Fall 2022

August 22 - December 9

Spring 2023

January 9th - April 28

Baltimore Courses:

Christian Theology: Personal and Social Transformation
3 credits

An investigation into the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith, with special attention to their implications in the urban context, the relationship between church and world, and how theology informs, guides, and facilitates personal and community transformation and reconciliation. *Required Course

Introduction to Public Health and Epidemiology

The Baltimore Urban Studies (BUS) semester starts with an intensive 3- week hybrid course; combining online, in-person, and field learning experiences to prepare students for the BUS semester with an introduction to the foundational concepts of public health and epidemiology with a particular focus on the public health applications of Biblical social justice.

Urban Public Health Practicum
1-3 Credits

This course provides seminar-based learning and academic framework around 120 to 180 hours of internships and practicums in community health clinics and agencies in Baltimore, MD. Students will process and gain constructivist learning from their three months of individualized internship experiences through academic readings, seminar discussions, and reflective writing assignments. *Required Course

Justice and Bioethics
3 Credits

This course will provide an overview of the major areas of clinical biomedical ethics. Participants will gain familiarity with the terminology, resources, and major frameworks of ethical analysis in biomedical ethics. Issues that will be examined and analyzed include problem solving methods, the theory, and practice of informed consent, end of life decision making, physician-assisted suicide, pediatric ethical dilemmas, spirituality in clinical encounters, the injustice of health care disparities, and the role of ethics committees. Extensive use of case discussion and analysis will help to develop the participants ’ethical problem solving skills.

Nutrition Theory with Public Health Nutrition Laboratory
4 Credits

This course examines and evaluates food assistance and safety net programs in the United States and Global contexts. Students will explore the policies, history, and complexities of urban access to healthy food and gain an introduction to the physiological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors that affect eating behaviors. This course includes international urban case studies and experiential learning with opportunities for safe walking, biking, and volunteering at Baltimore food pantries, visiting urban agriculture programs, and learning from nutrition experts in the field.

Medical Spanish
3 Credits

This course is designed to integrate foundational principles of healthcare into Spanish language acquisition, with the aim of students becoming better equipped to listen, understand, and communicate with Spanish-speaking patients and community members. One of the goals of this course is to increase awareness of language learning and the need for translation services. Additionally, this course will increase student understanding of diverse cultural issues related to the care of Spanish-speaking populations in Baltimore.

Christian Theology: Personal and Social Transformation
3 Credits

This course will introduce the inseparable link between emotional health and spiritual maturity, and with critical reflection on Peter and Geri ScazzeroScazzero’s thesis that it is not possible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. The course will examine the contemplative rhythms of Jesus ’life and an overview of historic contemplative practices. Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice emotionally healthy discipleship skills with the goal of developing a “Rule of Life” that prioritizes sabbath, delight, and other healthy rhythms.

Psychology Elective: HIV Applied Principles of Community Psychology
3 Credits

This course will provide a specialized psychology course designed for multi disciplinary health science majors. The disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS in global cities coupled with a decrease in HIV mortality and morbidity have created an opportunity to apply principles and values of community psychology to help guide our understanding of the complex interplay of environmental and individual-level drivers that influence HIV primary prevention and care for persons living with HIV. Community psychology, the study of person-environment interactions, offers a unique perspective on how social structures, neighborhoods, and individuals shape HIV prevention and care delivery particularly for communities living in urban poverty. Specific theories of participatory action research, multi-level community interventions, structural dimensions of HIV stigma, HIV syndemic framework, and public health policy implications will be critically examined and discussed in this course.

Global and Urban Epidemiology with Laboratory
4 Credits

This course is designed for multi-disciplinary health science undergraduate students. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and illness in human populations with application of methods of understanding disease dynamics and improving health outcomes. This course introduces students to the history, basic principles, and methods of epidemiology with a focus on global and urban case studies. This course includes epidemiology laboratory learning with applications of the methods used to measure disease frequency and the association between exposures or risk factors and health outcomes; epidemiological study designs and sources of study error and bias; screening; outbreak investigation; and assessment of causality.

History of Baltimore
3 Credits

This course covers the history of Baltimore from its founding in 1729 to the present. The course includes an analysis of the history of the city from documented historical church sermons, community meetings, and public hearings. History of racialized spaces, history of rich and poor spaces, and urban and suburban dynamics. Students will be encouraged to undertake research projects in areas of their own interests.

New Testament Survey
3 Credits

This course will be an overview of the New Testament with emphasis on the themes, purposes, and historical context of each book. Students will examine the different literary genres, key persons, and events. One of the goals of the course is the practical application for students to learn to live a deeply anchored life that's sustained by The Spirit and God’s Word.

Microbiology with Laboratory
4 Credits

This course covers the essential principles of microbiology and the impact microorganisms have on human communities and the environment. Topics include the various groups of microorganisms, their structure, physiology, genetics, microbial pathogenicity, infectious diseases, immunology, and selected practical applications of microbiology in urban public health settings of Baltimore and other diverse global environments. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and skills including microscopy, aseptic technique staining, culture methods, and identification of microorganisms.

Notes on course offerings: 
* The Semester Away includes three required courses:

1) Introduction to Public Health and Epidemiology
2) Christian Theology: Personal and Social Transformation
Urban Public Health Practicum (also known as 'Internship')

In addition to these three required courses, students can select from the offered electives for a total of 12-18 total credits.

All courses are offered during both the Spring and Fall semester.

WHY Baltimore

and Washington, D.c.?

After 21 years of global education, Living and Learning International is responding to the many challenging questions of our time by establishing a domestic experiential learning campus in Baltimore, Maryland. This program provides Christ-centered transformational learning in global community health and social justice.

For three months, Baltimore and Washington D.C. will be your classroom as you take an unforgettable journey into the complex realities of the public health, social, political, and spiritual challenges of this country. You will learn from expert educators and clinicians while being mentored in spiritual formation and contemplative practices, so that you can gain a perspective that is anchored in the hope of

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Program Leadership

Rev. Danté Upshaw

Executive Director

Rev. Upshaw has more than 30 years of experience as an urban and multicultural pastor. He is passionate about teaching spiritual formation, emotionally healthy leadership, and theology to college students and public health practitioners. He served as the Assistant Director of the Office of Christian Outreach at Wheaton College, he is ordained with the Evangelical Free Church of America, and served as the denomination's National Director of African-American Ministries, and was the Dean of Students at Hope Academy in Minneapolis. Rev. Upshaw now provides leadership and oversight of all Baltimore community partnerships, internships, and is the pastor and spiritual director of all programs, faculty, and staff of the Baltimore Urban Studies. Danté and his wife Beverly live in Baltimore and have three children.

Dr. Micah Hughes

Academic Director

Dr. Hughes, has 28 years of international and multi-cultural experience. He co-founded The Mango Project with his wife Avrey Hughes, he founded and directed the Global Health Perspectives program at Denver College of Nursing, and worked with the leadership of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and the Uganda Studies Program to establish and Coordinate the Global Health Emphasis at Uganda Christian University. He earned his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies of Anthropology and Biology from Wheaton College, his M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Rush University, and his Ph.D. in Education from Ashford University. As the Academic Director and Associate Professor, Dr. Hughes provides student mentorship, instruction, academic leadership, and curriculum oversight for the Baltimore Urban Studies.


Depending on the program you select, you will need to check with your college or university for exact costs. However, in most cases if you are a student at one of our partner schools a semester in Baltimore will not cost you more than what you are currently paying for school!

Cost Includes:

  • Tuition for 14 - 18 credit hours
  • Arrival and departure airport transportation from Baltimore Washington International Airport
  • On Campus Housing (12 - 14 weeks)
  • Weekly Program Meals
  • Full-Time onsite staff and support
  • Public transportation pass for travel in Baltimore and Washington DC
  • Multiday education excersions to Washington DC and New York city
  • Select museum and excursion fees when part of a class learning experience.

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Meals when not with program
  • Personal expenses like shopping, personal needs or personal travel.

If you are not currently enrolled in a college or university and would still like to attend, contact us.


These Q&A will help you get all of your details in order and plans in place.

How do I apply?

Students may apply directly at Applications will be accepted through June 18th, 2021 on a rolling basis until all spots are filled. After registration is completed, student participation will be locked in once a $100 deposit is made. For further questions feel free to contact us at

When is my deposit and final payment due?

A $100 deposit is required to confirm a participant’s spot on the program after registration. The remaining balance will be due with a firm deadline of June 18th OR immediately upon acceptance if a student is formally accepted after the June 18th date.

What am I expected to pay out of pocket?

Not included in the overall cost is roundtrip airfare in/out of Baltimore (airport code is BWI), some dinners, and any additional excursions or souvenirs purchased during the students free time.

How much does it cost? What is included?

The program cost is $2,800 which includes accommodations, all lunches, all breakfast, and most dinners. Program costs cover group excursions, 24/7 support staff, and tuition for 3 college credits.

How will COVID-19 impact the overall program and student safety?

Student safety is the utmost priority in all programming details. Prior to arrival, all students will be required to provide a negative Covid test within 72 hours before departure for Baltimore. Each morning a symptoms questionnaire will be electronically sent to students and a temperature check will be given prior to starting class. Additionally, students will be asked to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer whenever entering/leaving the students accommodations. Hand sanitizer stations will be provided throughout the student housing.

How many staff members will be on site?

Each course has one dedicated professor and program host to assist in all program needs. The program host will be housed in the same building as students and be available 24/7 should students need assistance. Overall, a minimum of four faculty and staff members will be coordinating the experience for students.

What fun excursion can I expect on this program?

The program will hold a balance of group excursions as well as free time for the students to complete homework assignments and explore Baltimore and Washington D.C. on their own. There will be a Group excursion in Washington D.C. that will include a public health and social justice Field Learning experience, an overnight stay at a hotel, and a free day for sightseeing and touring museums. All group excursions are subject to availability and may be changed/cancelled due to Covid regulations should the need arise.

What will a typical day on the program look like?

On a typical day, students will wake up and have breakfast. then submit a symptoms questionnaire prior to joining the rest of the students, and come to class early to receive a daily temperature check. Throughout the day students will engage in both classroom instruction from their professor as well as on-site and in-field instruction from expert speakers and community leaders. Lunch will be provided each day for the students either catered in or at a local Baltimore restaurant. After on-site and in-field instruction has wrapped up, daily debrief time will be conducted collaboratively for both classes. Students will have most evenings free to explore the city, do homework, or join a group excursion.

How will I get to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.?

Students will be responsible for booking their own flight to and from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI). Upon registration, students will receive a suggested flight itinerary and arrival and departure window in which they will need to book their flight.

What are the program dates?

The in-person experience will start on July 26, 2021. Students will arrive on Monday, July 26 and depart on Saturday, August 7. One week of online instruction (7/19 - 7/23) will occur the week before the in-person experiential learning calls will happen in the weeks leading up to the program.

How will the credit transfer back to my home institution?

Credit for these courses will be offered through College of the Ozarks. Students will need to meet with their academic advisor and Registrar office on their home campus to ensure all are aware they will be bringing in transient credit. At the end of the two week course a final grade will be administered and a transcript will be sent directly to the student’s home institution.

Why should I register for this program?

The Baltimore Urban Studies is aligned with pressing issues we face in today's society. Students will have the opportunity to address topics they are passionate about such as social justice and public health while studying near our nation’s capital. Whether taking one of the courses as a major core credit or a meaningful elective, students will enjoy an intentionally catered itinerary that confronts difficult topics while hearing from a wide range of spiritual, academic, and community leaders.

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