Build your Semester


The BUILD-YOUR-SEMESTER program is open to all students and allows for maximum flexibility when choosing courses at the Institute. Students may freely choose from the curricular offerings and must enroll in a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 17 credits per semester and include one course in the Italian language. Students with advanced proficiency may alternatively choose an elective course taught in Italian.

For students who are uncertain of their proficiency in Italian, select the course that you feel is suitable for your course selection form. The Institute offers Italian at all levels from beginner to advance. Upon arrival, ISI Florence Italian faculty will administer a placement exam to ensure that you are in the appropriate level.

Once the appropriate Italian course is selected, students may choose freely from the wide variety of elective courses available. See our COURSES OFFERED pages for an up-to-date list.

Sample Curriculum
A typical semester for a General Studies student may look as follows:

  • ITAL XXX The Florence Experience – 4 credits (required)
  • Elective One – 3 credits (required)
  • Elective Two – 3 credits (required)
  • Elective Three  – 3 credits (required)
  • Elective Four – 3 credits (optional)

Maximum Total: 16 credits

Independent Research

For students pursuing an area of study that is not offered in our curriculum, ISI Florence has created the option of choosing an Independent Research course (3-6 credits). The Independent Research course is a student-centered learning experience that provides a deeper academic understanding of a specific topic. The course engages students in advanced research based on their interests with the support of a faculty mentor. As such, it is ideal for those who have previously studied a particular topic and would like to explore a more focalized aspect through individual research. For a modest additional fee, a unique independent study course in your chosen subject can be added to your course load.  Contact us to discuss independent research options.

Curricular Concentrations

Students may design a program centered on a particular field of research by creating a thematic study plan. If interested in this option, students should consult their advisors at their home institutions to develop a customized curricular concentration in line with their unique needs and interests. Presented here are a variety of curricular concentrations with a list of courses that would be appropriate to each.

Art History Concentration

The Art of Florence: Exploring Visual Culture

Architecture in Italy: History and Preservation

History of Italian Design

Leonardo da Vinci: Unconventional Genius

Michelangelo: The First Modern Artist

Contemporary Art: Visualizing Colonialism, Gender, and Globalization from 1945 to the Present

History Concentration

History and Politics of Modern Italy: The Twentieth Century

The History & Culture of Food: A Comparative Analysis

Florence: The Story of The City

Ancient Rome: Civilization and Legacy

The European Union

Sports History and Culture

History of the Jews in Italy: Renaissance to the Present

Women’s History and Gender Equality Policies

Italian Studies Concentration

Identity and Culture in Italy: A Comparative Approach

Family Business in Italy

History and Politics of Modern Italy

Florence: The Story of The City

Special Topics in Italian (taught in Italian)

The Art of Florence: Exploring Visual Culture

Leonardo da Vinci: Unconventional Genius

Michelangelo: The First Modern Artist

Landscape Architecture: The Villa and the Garden

Studio Arts Concentration

Drawing: The Human Figure

Introduction to Photography: Portfolio of Florence

Beginning Oil Painting: Imagery of Florence

Street/Travel Photography

Special Topics in Italian (taught in Italian)

Introduction to Digital Photography

Create your Own

Review the course offerings each semester with your academic advisor to:

a) ensure the smooth transfer of qualifying credits for your degree

b) develop a specialized plan of study that inspires and engages you

c) strategically choose courses that match your particular focus.