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Florence, Italy

Program Site: Syracuse University campus in central Florence and the University of Florence

Eligibility: Minimum cumulative USC 3.0 GPA and at least two semesters of college-level Italian with a B average or above at the time of application. Some options require four or more semesters of Italian. The Italian courses taken to meet the language requirement for program eligibility must be taken for a letter grade. Students applying to the Studio Art program must submit a portfolio of their work.

Description: To live in Florence is to spend every day in an active and breathing museum. With a population of about 500,000, the city is large enough to always find something to do, yet small enough to discover one’s own personal Firenze

The Syracuse program is one of the oldest U.S. study abroad programs in Italy and welcomes about 300 students per semester. Its campus contains five buildings including the Villa Rossa, constructed by a noble family in 1892.

Academics: The Florence program offers a wide selection of courses in areas such as anthropology, art history, classics, drama/film studies, economics, fine arts, gender studies, history, Italian, literature, political science and religion. Most courses include site visits in Florence and guest lectures by visiting or local scholars. The Arts & Sciences academic program is divided into various options:

  • Florence Center: Students take Italian language at the intermediate or advanced level and choose from a wide-variety of courses taught in English at the SU Florence Center. 
  • Florence Center & Intensive Language Program: Enroll in an intensive language and culture program with other international students at the Centro di Cultura per Stranieri of the University of Florence as well as two to three courses at the SU Florence Center. Students interested in this option should complete four semester of Italian or the equivalent before going to Florence.
  • Florence Center & Direct Enrollment at the University of Florence: Students take two to three corsi singoli at the University of Florence alongside Italian students in selected disciplines. Because of differences between the Italian and U.S. university systems, most students take between one and three corsi singoli in combination with courses offered at the SU Center in Florence or at the Centro di Cultura per Stranieri. All courses at the University of Florence are conducted entirely in Italian; including oral and written reports, examinations, and research papers. Direct enrollment students are assigned a personal tutor in their field of study, which fulfills contact hour requirements for each corso singolo. Advanced proficiency in Italian required.
  • Florence Center & University of Florence courses taught in English (fall only): This option offers students the opportunity to take English-taught courses in political science and economics at the University of Florence. Additionally students take Italian language and English-taught courses at the SU Florence center. This is a nice option for students not proficient in Italian to study alongside Italian students. Depending on the University of Florence’s calendar, this option may require students to spend an additional week in Florence.

Fine Arts majors can enroll in the Studio Art Program and take drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking at the Syracuse center. Students may also be placed in Florentine studios where they can work with local and international students. Placements in studios are available in fiber arts, metalsmithing, printmaking, painting restoration and surface pattern design. A gala art show celebrates student work at the end of the semester.

Sample Syracuse courses:
- Great Works of Italian Literature in Translation
- Italian Cinema: 1945 – present
- Late Medieval Art and the Black Death
- Family and Gender in Contemporary Italy
- Government and Politics in Italy
- Introduction to Antique Painting Techniques and Restoration

Course Load and Credit: Students take 5 courses per semester, one of which must be Italian language, for a total of up to 18 units.

Activities and Other Program Features: In addition to course-related field study, there are a number of ‘all school’ field trips that give students the opportunity to appreciate the history, art, and culture of Italy. Past trips have included the Etruscan archaeological sites, Rome, Pisa, and Assisi. Syracuse also has a guest lecturer program and sponsors cultural events such as concerts and art exhibitions.  

Students may also choose to participate in Syracuse’s internship or volunteer program. Placements are available in a wide variety of settings, including municipal organizations, museums, NGOs, schools, and small and large businesses. USC credit for internships is not guaranteed; please click here for more info.

Accommodations: Students live in homestays with Italian families throughout Florence. Continental breakfast is served daily with five evening meals provided during the week. 

Dates: Fall, Spring or Year. Fall semester runs from late August to mid December (Italian university classes are in session until late December). Spring semester runs from early January to late April (Italian university classes are in session until mid June).

Estimated Semester Cost: 

Additional Expenses*........$14,972

Cost Updated: 5/28/15
Text Updated: 8/3/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

Syracuse University Florence
Course Listing
Università di Firenze
USC Department of French and Italian
Italian Consulate in Los Angeles