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Academics

Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering 

Immerse completely in Italian academic culture in beautiful Bologna! The top-ranked University of Bologna, Europe's oldest, offers a modern academic and social experience with its renowned faculty and international student body.

Enrolling directly in the university, you can choose courses taught in Italian from a wide range of disciplines to accommodate your UC major. If you’re new to Italian language, you can also access a limited selection of courses taught in English. 

Unique Study Opportunities

  • Learn alongside local and international students.
  • Develop a research project with an Italian professor for academic credit.
  • Access exclusive art courses at the Academy of Fine Arts during the spring or year term.
  • Participate in class excursions and trips throughout Bologna and Italy.

Language

Language of Instruction: Italian, English

Italian Language Study: Required

Courses are available in English and Italian. If you have two years of university-level Italian before departure, or equivalent, you can take some or all of your courses in Italian. On-site language study plus immersion in daily life in Italy accelerates your language skills and makes taking courses taught in Italian both feasible and rewarding.

Intensive Language Program

The program begins with a mandatory Italian intensive language program (ILP) to help prepare you for Italian university courses. The ILP is a lively and fast-moving course taught by experienced instructors at the UC study center. It lasts four weeks and includes advanced training in speaking, reading, and writing Italian at a level that will ensure you succeed in your courses. It will introduce you to life at a major Italian university as well as the history and culture of the city of Bologna. The class is structured around numerous activities outside the classroom, including a daylong field trip to Ravenna. Classes meet for three hours, five days a week.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four to five courses with a total of 22 quarter/14.7 semester UC units. During the fall semester only: Four courses with a total of 18 quarter/12 semester UC units.
  • You can take one course and one internship per semester pass/no pass.
  • Complete the ILP course for a total of 6 quarter/4 semester UC units. You must take it for a letter grade and earn a B or higher. A grade below a B will require consult and planning with on-site staff and instructors to be approved to continue the program.
  • Individual instructors may or may not require attendance at their classes. However, all UCEAP students are required to attend class by policy.

Current Program Courses

Local staff in Bologna will help you choose your classes upon arrival. The study center provides course evaluations and professor recommendations from past students for your reference. One course in the fall is taught at the UC study center by a UC faculty member on a topic in Italian culture, but you’ll take all other program courses at the University of Bologna. Most courses on this program are considered upper division.

In Italian, the University of Bologna offers courses in most UC academic majors and has excellent opportunities for students in art history, communication, Italian, global studies, film studies, history, literature, philosophy, and political science. 

In English, the choice of courses is more limited than the choice of courses taught in Italian. Courses in English are not available in biology, communication, or psychology. Courses are available in literature, international relations and political science, history, Italian studies, legal studies, digital humanities, economics, business, statistics, and selected areas in engineering and science. Most courses taught in English are at the advanced level so you should have a strong academic background in the fields you wish to study in Bologna. Advanced level economics courses are especially challenging. 

Academy of Fine Arts Courses

Art majors with two years of university-level Italian participating in the year or spring options can access courses at the Academy of Fine Arts that include digital photography, engraving, drawing, decorative design, computer graphics, fashion design, sculpture, installation art, and mosaics. You must have a strong background in art to be accepted into courses at the Academy. Advanced level students may qualify for specific courses in the Biennio specialistico program.

Independent Research

Independent study projects for academic credit are available and typically take place in the form of a research paper supervised by a University of Bologna faculty member in a field related to their area of expertise. If you are interested in developing an independent research project, approach your professors to see if they are able to serve as your supervisor. The staff and the UC visiting professor at the Bologna study center are available to assist you with the process. 

Catalogs and resources

  • University of Bologna Courses: Browse the courses offered by clicking on a Scuola and looking at the different Laurea Triennale and Laurea Magistrale offered. Clicking on these links will take you to a list of courses. Usually periodo 1 refers to fall and periodo 2 refers to spring. You can also browse by clicking Insegnamenti and searching for courses using key phrases in Italian.
  • Expected courses taught in English: Fall Semester
  • Expected courses taught in English: Spring Semester
  • Academy of Fine Arts Courses: Review courses available to studio art majors.
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses students have taken on this program.
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

Italian bachelor's degree programs are split into a three-year introductory program followed by an optional and more specialized two-year program. Depending on the level of the courses you take, expectations, prerequisites, and course arrangements can vary widely. Introductory (first- and second-year) courses, especially in popular subjects, tend to have larger enrollments than those in the third and later years. Many advanced degree program courses are structured on a small scale or as seminars.

As a UCEAP student, you have a wide range of choice among courses that reflect your interests and abilities. For example, you can take courses at either introductory or advanced levels. You may also take courses in more than one school or department, something that your Italian counterparts are not allowed to do. 

To identify the course level, look at courses UCEAP students have previously taken as well as the university course descriptions. The study center can offer guidance when you arrive. In the early stages of the term, it may be a good idea to shop around for courses in order to find the ones that work best for you during the add/drop period. 

To be successful in academics at the University of Bologna, you must be dedicated, independent, and resourceful. Professors will expect the same from you as they do of their Italian students. Although very few courses have structured study groups or discussion sections, classmates will often get together to review course material – especially before exams! Make friends with fellow students, share notes, and study together just as you would at home. You will find that, however different the university systems, students in Italy and the US have a great deal in common.

Professor Interaction

Dealing directly with professors in Italy generally involves a significantly higher level of social and linguistic formality than UC, so observe your Italian peers for cues on how to manage such interactions. It is the norm to address professors, in speech and in writing, by using the formal third person singular (and to avoid saying "Ciao!" to them). You will benefit from introducing yourself to your professors at the beginning of the semester and establishing a relationship with them through their office hours. On the whole, professors are readily available to meet, discuss your progress, help with paper topic selection, and provide clarification on course content. Student evaluations and other advice available at the UC study center can provide useful guidance on which professors are especially approachable.

Grades

You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. In the Italian university system, grades are assigned on a scale from 10 to 30. An 18 is a pass. Italian numerical grades are converted into the American letter-based equivalents for transmission to UC.

Grades for the fall semester are typically available by mid-March and grades for the spring semester are typically available by early September.

Exams

Since most classes do not have written assignments throughout the semester, your performance is normally graded solely on a final oral exam. Maintain self-discipline and work regularly, pacing yourself throughout the term. It is impossible to read all the material in the last few weeks of class and cram successfully for the final. Oral exams involve in-person meetings and discussions with your professors. To excel in oral exams, practice organizing your ideas and expressing yourself clearly and concisely in Italian. Work on this throughout your time in Bologna, and consider sitting in on an oral exam session before your own to get an idea of what professors are asking and to see how the Italian students respond. Many Italian students practice this as well.  It is also sometimes possible to arrange to take oral exams in a separate room rather than in a public lecture room in front of others.

A small but growing minority of professors require a final paper, usually of some 10 to 15 pages, in their courses. Help with reviewing such papers before you submit them is available at the UC study center.

Fall Exam Schedule

The fall semester at the University of Bologna extends into January, and many fall courses will only have their exams in January. If instruction also extends into January, early exams are not an option. If you are attending the fall term, you’ll need to coordinate with the UC study center to determine the availability of courses in your field of study that will allow early exams. Leaving at the end of December means taking an exam outside of the official exam period, and not all faculty members may be willing to arrange this. Address this issue with your professors at the very beginning of the semester.

The fall semester exam period ends in late January and the spring semester exam period ends in mid-July. Your grades must first be processed by UCEAP before being sent on to your campus. Therefore, grades for this program are reported to the UC campus registrar later than is typical for a UC quarter/semester. 

Tip: If you intend to put yourself on your campus degree list for graduation while on UCEAP, consult your academic advisors at your UC campus before departure about possible delays in the degree verification process.