Civil War Era Studies Camp

Prof. Isherwood on Gettysburg battlefield with students Civil War Era Studies Camp provides rising high school Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors an immersive experience into Civil War history.

The 2020 camp will be held from July 5th to July 10th.

Contact information:


Applying to Civil War Era Studies Camp

Complete the online application.

If accepted, we will send information about submitting payment as well as request information regarding medication, allergies and/or special dietary needs.

Camp Director

Jack Ryan is a graduate of New York University and Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of John Sayles, Filmmaker 2ed (2010). He has also published articles in Isle: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, Creative Screenwriting, and Aethlon: The Journal of Sport and Literature. He serves as Vice Provost and Dean of Arts and Humanities. Professor Ryan contributes courses to the College's First-Year Seminar program, Civil War Era Studies minor, Cinema and Media Studies, and the Department of English. He is an academic advisor, a Garthwait Leadership Center leadership coach, and an advisor to a number of student organizations. Professor Ryan also coordinates the Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges, a national organization committed to diversifying the professoriate.

Camp Goals/Overview

The goal of Civil War Era Studies Camp is to provide a window into the history of the American Civil War. What are some of the major questions of the Civil War? Campers will get hands-on experiences that introduce them to research in Civil War in a fun, challenging, and engaging environment. Campers will not simply learn about the Civil War, they will be on the actual fields, in the archives holding original diaries, letters, and photos. Perfect for students interested in history and the Civil War, this camp gives students an insider view of the field as well as preparation for college studies.

Details at a Glance

Where: Gettysburg College Campus
When: July 5 to July 10, 2020
How Much: $1,350 for lodging, meals, and activities
Who: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors
Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling until the camp is full. We sometimes receive applications from more qualified applicants than we can admit to our camp especially as the camp fills. Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance. In making admissions decisions, we carefully review applicant statements and sometimes contact teacher references. We will notify applicants as soon as possible after a decision has been made, but we note that it may take us several weeks after an application has been submitted to send a notification.

Role of RAs/TAs

Campers will live in a college residence hall with resident advisors, current or recent Civil War minors at Gettysburg College. Resident advisors are selected based on their expertise in Civil War and their maturity and experience. Resident advisors will work with students in and outside of class to support the goals of the camp and all aspects of the campers’ experiences.

Sample Day

Time Event
8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Events leading to Gettysburg
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Lunch with roundtable discussions
1:30 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Special Collections – Introduction to Primary Sources
Digital History
4:45 p.m.-5:45 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Gettysburg Movie Part Two
8:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. S'mores under the Stars
9:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Free Time
10:00 p.m. Curfew


Registration and Logistics

When is the camp?
The camp will take place from July 5th to July 10th.
How much does it cost to attend?
The camp fee is $1,350. This includes lodging, meals, and activities. The number of admitted campers is limited to facilitate close contact with camp director (professor) and additional faculty, resident advisors (current and former Gettysburg College students), and guest speakers. Campers are assigned to groups of 20 to 25 and attend classes in these groups.
When is the application deadline?
Applications will be accepted until the camp is full and will be considered on a rolling basis. We sometimes receive applications from more qualified applicants than we can admit especially as the camp fills. Once admitted, campers will receive instructions for completing online registration. When the camp is full, registration will close.
What is the refund and cancellation policy?
Full refunds will be issued before June 1. From June 2 to June 9, there will be a 50% refund. After June 9, no refunds will be offered.
What is the contact information for the camp?
Civil War Era Studies Camp
300 North Washington Street
Campus Box 413
Gettysburg, PA 17325
The email address is
Who is eligible to attend Civil War Era Studies Camp?
Civil War Era Studies Camp is designed for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
My camper will be arriving by plane/train/bus. How do they get to campus?
Transportation is not provided as part of Civil War Era Studies Camp. However, campers who need transportation to/from airports and train stations (e.g., Harrisburg Amtrak or BWI) can pay an additional fee to receive transportation from the Gettysburg College Transportation Department. Accepted campers will receive information on how to pay and register for this transportation. Please note that Civil War Era Studies Camp personnel do not schedule or coordinate this transportation.
Does my camper need to do academic preparation for the camp?
No. We welcome campers with varying levels of knowledge from no knowledge to extensive knowledge.
What does my camper need to bring?
We will provide linens and towels for each camper (a pillowcase, 2 towels, 2 flat sheets, and a blanket). Each room also has a micro fridge. We recommend that campers bring washcloths, toiletries (e.g., toothpaste, hair dryer, feminine products, shower soap, etc.), any relevant and parent-approved over the counter medication (e.g., antacids, Tylenol, etc.), comfortable walking shoes, an umbrella, a refillable water bottle, and money for souvenirs. Campers may also want to bring their own blanket or comforter and drinks and snacks to keep in their room if they would like.
Dress for the week is very casual (jeans, shorts, etc.). You may want to bring a sweater or light jacket to wear in the seminar room; sometimes it is a bit chilly. The battlefield tour guide asked us to emphasize the need to wear long pants and good walking shoes. You may also want to bring sunscreen, insect repellent and your own water bottle for the tours. Also, be prepared for inclement weather, WE TOUR RAIN OR SHINE!
Where is check-in and check-out going to be?
Check-in and check-out will be in a residence hall. Check-in time is from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on July 5 and check-out time is at 9:00 a.m. on July 11. Although we know this can be difficult for campers traveling from far away, we urge campers and parents to make every effort to ensure arrival by 4:00 p.m. on July 5 as camp activities will begin that afternoon. Additionally, our staff need to clean the residence halls for the next occupants so we would appreciate departure no later than 9:00 am on July 11.

Camp Life

What are the accommodations for campers?
Campers will live in residence halls. Campers will room with one or two other campers and will share bathrooms in typical dormitory style.
Who will be living with my students?
Campers will live in a college residence hall with resident advisors, Gettysburg students involved in the College's Civil War programming. Resident advisors are selected based on their expertise in Civil War and their maturity and experience. Resident advisors will work with students in and outside of class to support the goals of the camp and all aspects of the campers' experiences.
Can my camper have a cellphone?
Yes. However, campers will be asked to turn off cellphones and other portable electronic devices during class sessions.
Does my camper need to bring a computer?
Campers are encouraged to bring a computer to camp. Computer will be provided to students who do not bring one. Wireless access is provided in the residence hall and throughout campus.
Can my camper drive themselves to camp?
Campers are not allowed to leave campus during camp. We do not encourage campers bringing a vehicle and request that they are dropped off and picked up at the beginning and end of camp.
What does a typical day look like?
See a sample day at Civil War Era Studies Camp.
How much money should I send with my child?
All camp-related meals and expenses are covered by the camp registration fee. Campers may want to bring additional money for bookstore purchases, snacks, or souvenirs.
Can I send mail to my camper?
Yes. Please send mail to:
Civil War Era Studies Camp at Gettysburg College
300 North Washington Street
Campus Box 413
Gettysburg College
Gettysburg, PA 17325
In addition, Dining Services has special “spoil-em-long-distance” packages available if you want to send your camper a special treat. More information about the packages.
How do I know my child will be safe and secure?
The dorm is locked at all times. Resident advisors live with the campers and will do a bed-check each night at curfew (10:00 PM). Gettysburg College public safety officers are on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week. More information about Gettysburg College Public Safety.

Health/Medical Concerns

What if my student has food allergies or special dietary needs?
No problem. Gettysburg College dining services can accommodate many special dietary needs (e.g., food allergies, vegetarian, vegan), though the dining services cannot do completely kosher or completely organic. Campers will be asked to complete a special food allergies form so please let us know about any accommodations at that time.
My camper is on prescription medicine. How is that handled?
As part of the registration process, fill out a medical release form. Depending upon parent/guardian instruction, campers will administer their own medications or resident advisors (chaperones) will keep medicine locked at all times and will administer it as needed.
What if my child gets sick?
Parents/guardians will be contacted in case of illness to discuss how each individual situation will be handled. The nearest hospital, Gettysburg Hospital, is just 2 miles down the road (147 Gettys Street.) Gettysburg College Public Safety officers will ensure safe transport to the hospital if necessary.

College Preparation

Will my child have the opportunity to have a campus tour?
Yes. Actually the campers will have two tours of campus. One tour will be centered on the academic focus of Gettysburg College and the other will be on the historical background, such as use of Penn Hall as a Field Hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Will this camp help my child get into college?
Civil War Era Studies Camp is designed to give your camper an insider view into the Civil War and a glimpse into what college life is like. Our curriculum is designed not only to increase your camper's knowledge of the Civil War, but to experience college life. While any one experience is not a guarantee of admission to an institution, we do believe that this camp can be a great part of a comprehensive college preparatory experience.