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Program Locations


Academic Program



Language Prerequisites



NOTE: Preference will be given to students with additional language study.


All students, including native speakers, are expected to demonstrate their level of language ability (writing, verbal and reading) by providing results of a recent language placement test or previous coursework. Please set up an appointment to speak with Pat de Castries at the Stanford Language Center.

Fulfilling the Florence Program’s On-site Language Requirement:

All students are required to continue their study of the Italian language once in Florence. Our on-site language requirement can be fulfilled as follows:

  1. Students who have not completed the second-year language sequence via Stanford course work or placement test must enroll in either OSPFLOR 021F (completed 3, 2A or 21): Accelerated Second Year Italian Part A, or OSPFLOR 022F (completed 21A or 22): Accelerated Second Year Italian Part B while in Florence. Course enrollment will be determined according to students’ placement level or previous coursework. These courses are offered in Fall, Winter and Spring and the grading basis is Letter Grade Only.
  2. Students who have completed the second year language sequence via Stanford course work (22A or 23) or placement test must enroll in OSPFLOR031F: Advanced Oral Communication (if offered*) or in one of the many content courses conducted primarily in Italian offered at the Center every quarter. Students who have completed the second year language sequence and are staying in Florence for at least two quarters may also fulfill the on-site language requirement through a directed reading primarily in Italian, a class at the University of Florence, or an academic internship (for no less than four units of credit and for a letter grade).

    *OSPFLOR031F: Advanced Oral Communication is part of our curriculum in Fall, Winter and Spring but will only be offered if a sufficient number of students, who have successfully completed the necessary prerequisites (the second-year language sequence via Stanford course work or placement test), choose to enroll.

We recommend that all students, regardless of level, maximize their use of Italian while they are in Florence, both in and out of class. A language-resource person is available to help students work individually and in groups on bettering their oral and written skills.

As part of the language program, students are encouraged to take part in a number of extra-curricular language activities. Students can choose to participate in the Language Partner Program (i.e. a language exchange with University of Florence students), public service activities, and in thematic workshops and tandem meetings that are part of the Language Activities course. All of these activities represent excellent opportunities to meet locals and improve language skills in an authentic context.

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Directed Reading

Directed readings are advanced one-on-one academic research projects for students who have prior relevant preparation in a given field of their interest. Conducted in English or in Italian, directed readings are very rewarding academic experiences which many students in the past have turned into the core of their honors thesis. Directed readings must be on topics that are site-relevant to the Program and Italy, must be taken in addition to 12 units of Stanford credit and are available only for second quarter students. Directed reading mentors are usually local scholars or Stanford faculty members.

In developing these projects, students should work closely with their academic advisor and the Florence Program Director or with the Stanford faculty who will conduct their work. A Directed Reading Proposal (downloadable form) must be submitted to the Overseas Studies office and to the Program Director at least one month prior to the quarter of intended study.

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Course Credit

All courses at the Florence Program grant credit toward Stanford graduation. Most classes also count toward an undergraduate major and fulfill a particular GER. Students must enroll in a minimum of twelve units from the courses offered through the program (local university courses, directed readings and internships are not included). For a list of all classes and information on which ones earn departmental credit or fulfill General Education Requirements, students should consult the BOSP course database or Axess.

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Local University Coursework

Students who stay two or three quarters and have sufficient language skills--usually two years of Italian--may opt to take classes at the University of Florence. A challenging academic experience, it is also an excellent opportunity to be exposed to a different university environment, and to improve language skills and culture literacy.

University of Florence units count as general credit toward graduation, they are not automatically counted as departmental credit toward a major. Upon return to Stanford, students must submit completed coursework to the appropriate academic department for evaluation.

If you are planning to take a course at the University of Florence, you must notify BOSP immediately at the time of application and well before your visa for the program is issued by the Consulate General of Italy. Permission to study at the University of Florence requires an extensive application process and issuance of a special visa. As you cannot hold two visas (one for Stanford in Florence and one for the University of Florence), if you plan on taking classes at the University of Florence you have to work with the BOSP staff in order for the proper visa to be issued.

Following is a list of the information that you will need to present to the Consulate General of Italy (This list is subject to change at any time at the sole discretion and authority of the Consulate General of Italy):

  1. Request for admission addressed to the University of Florence, indicating the University of origin (Stanford University) and the courses you intend to follow;
  2. Document issued by Stanford University, stating your qualifications (university enrollment/degree certificate), translated and authenticated by the Italian diplomatic delegation;
  3. Two signed photographs, one of which needs to be certified by the Italian consular authorities, stating date and place of birth, nationality and permanent address.
    For more information please refer to the University of Florence website and contact the Stanford in Florence Center:
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Studio Art Program

Florence is the ideal location for art students. In each quarter, the Program offers at lest one course in Studio Art and one in History of Art to which the Stanford Department of Art and Art History awards credit.

Approved coursework taken at the Accademia delle Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) will also receive Art Department credit (see special instructions).

Special Instructions for Accademia delle Belle Arti

Students wishing to take classes at the Fine Arts Academy must follow a procedure whereby they submit a series of documents to the Italian Consulate in San Francisco in order to be able to take the entrance exam for enrollment in the Accademia delle Belle Arti. Interested students will need to be in contact, via email with Prof. Campani and Fosca D'Acierno, as soon as possible and no later than the Spring Quarter prior to their Autumn Quarter arrival in Florence.

Since enrollment takes place in September and admissions exams are given in September and October of each year, only students arriving in Florence in the Autumn Quarter and staying for the Winter Quarter will be able to take the necessary entrance exams.

Should all of the documentation be cleared by the Italian Consulate in San Francisco, upon arrival in Florence, students will be given complete and updated information pertaining to exam times (usually exams take place from September 1st-30th), content and enrollment fees. Two separate exams may be taken: one is for admission to take any course at the Accademia (painting, sculpture, drawing, etc.); the other is for admission to the Scuola Libera del Nudo (drawing with live nude models). The exams, in the past, have consisted of an oral exam to establish the student's level of Italian and general cultural background and free hand drawing to demonstrate student's artistic level. Stanford students will take these exams with Italian and international students who are trying to gain admission into the Fine Arts Academy. The exams will be evaluated exclusively by Fine Arts Academy professors.

Exam results will be posted at the Fine Arts Academy approximately one week after the exam date.

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Cultural Events and Trips

Interaction with local culture through group events, on-site classes, and field trips is central to the academic program in Florence. Our classes have traditionally included field trips to the Italian Parliament, to Cinecittà, or to Venice. Art History classes are usually held in churches, in museums or on top of Brunelleschi's dome; photography often meets in the streets of Florence while studio art brings the students to the artists' studios. Special guest speakers are often invited to our program and students are encouraged to conduct field research in the city.

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Bing Cultural Enrichment Program

The Bing Cultural Enrichment Program offers a special set of extracurricular activities to all participants. They vary from year to year on the basis of course offerings and events of interest taking place in a given part of Italy at that time. Some of our past activities have included: a weekend in Venice, a private tour of the Sistine Chapel, a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, a trip to Sicily with a performance at the Greek theater in Siracusa, and a trip to the Amalfi coast and Pompeii.The calendar of activities is distributed during orientation each quarter.

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