The Academic Programs

The Institute offers a number of program options in a wide range of subjects. Courses are designed to integrate the local resources and immerse students in the Florentine environment through on-site learning and a variety of co-curricular activities such as field trips, museum visits, academic tours, and artistic performances. These rich cultural offerings serve to deepen and enhance classroom instruction.

 

General Studies Program

The ISI Florence General Studies Program is widely recognized for its diversity and excellence. All students are required to take Italian language for a total of four credits. The General Studies Program is ISI Florence’s most popular program, allowing students the greatest degree of latitude in course selection. A number of elective courses taught in English (three credits each) are available in various subject areas—for a current list, see Courses.

 

Architecture Programs

The history of design holds many inherent contrasts—old versus new, traditional versus innovative, private versus public. Through time, these features merge into layers until even the gilt of antiquity becomes the dynamic scaffolding for contemporary architecture.

The ISI Florence Architecture Program (five credits for each studio class) takes students on a semester-long journey into the heart of this ongoing dialogue. Through a combination of challenging academics and pre-professional experience, RWU students explore the relationship between creation and conservation, aesthetic concerns and technical excellence, and national and international perspectives.

The Architecture Program was established in 2001 in cooperation with the Roger Williams School of Architecture, Art, and Historic Preservation. In 2011, a second ISI Florence-sponsored program was established with Marywood University School of Architecture and is open to all students majoring in this field with quality for admission.

All architecture students work alongside practicing Italian and European architects, skilled instructors who liaise with local communities and institutions in their own unique urban context. Designed for qualified students who have completed at least two years of architectural studies, the program aims to inspire and stimulate intellectual growth while also equipping them with practical skills that prepare them to pursue a professional career in architecture. ISI Florence is a place where intellectual brio meets practical know-how—a compelling milieu for any aspiring architect.

 

Sustainable Food & Environmental Systems Program

The SFESP is an excellent fit for undergraduate students of agricultural sciences, environmental studies, nutritional sciences, economics, business administration, sociology, and history, as well as anyone generally interested in food and sustainability studies. The program invites students to explore the sustainability dimensions of how food is produced, transformed, distributed, prepared, and consumed in Italy. Students learn directly from Italian farmers and producers, sales and marketing professionals, and world-class chefs. Field experiences and tours of the countryside range from one to four days, including:

  • Emilia Romagna: Visit dairy and livestock farms to learn how cheese and meat products are made.
  • Chianti: Experience life on typical Tuscan farms and learn about organic winemaking at top wineries.
  • Florence: Delve into the fascinating Florentine food system, including the mouthwatering bistecca alla fiorentina—Florentine steak.
  • Maremma: Explore biodiversity in a splendid Tuscan natural reserve by the seaside.

 

Summer Program

The Summer Program consists of a variety of elective courses (three credits each) selected from our General Studies Program. While students are not required to study Italian language, they spend an intensive six-week period exploring the other class options available, all of which are recognized for their highly qualified professors and challenging academic content. For a complete list of summer courses, click here.