STUDY ABROAD IN FLORENCE, ITALY

About Us

The International Studies Institute School of Architecture runs both semester and summer study abroad programs in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, structural engineering, and more. Courses are taught by local Italian architects and scholars, all of whom are not only dedicated teachers but also well-established practicing professionals. Our academic programs are open to qualifying students from all universities, and the Institute hosts both faculty-led and customized programs.

Our practicing faculty works closely with the Municipality of Florence and other Tuscan cities, the University of Florence, and Italian architectural firms. This means that ISI Florence architecture students gain real-life immersive experience by working on actual architectural projects in the city of Florence and Tuscany.  

Explore our program offerings, contact us if you would like more information, and if you are in Florence, please come and visit us at our newly renovated facility in the historic center at Palazzo Bagargli, on Lungarno delle Grazie 22, Firenze.

Why Florence?

It’s difficult to think of a more inspiring country for architecture and design studies than Italy. And what better place than the crown jewel of the Renaissance, Florence – home to the magnificent Brunelleschi dome and millennia of urban architectural evolution.

Florence allows architecture and structural engineering students to be immersed in a backdrop that spans across 2000 years, peppered with historic edifices dating back to the Middle Ages and High Renaissance. But it doesn’t end here. Our semester program also takes students to Rome, Berlin, Basil, Barcelona, and other European centers of classical and contemporary architecture. Florence is also the perfect departure point to explore Italy and Europe.

In addition, Florence is a thriving metropolitan hub, which makes it the ideal place to observe and analyze contemporary structures, as well as structural interventions on historical buildings. The city of Florence is our students’ classroom and campus, where they can study first-hand how the Florentine community seeks to marry the city’s growing infrastructural demands with its rich heritage as a European cultural center. Few cities offer both such a depth of character and so obvious a melding of past, present, and future.

Course Accreditation & Recognition

All courses are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) through the School of Architecture and Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.

The Semester Architecture Program

The semester program consists of a required design studio course and one, or more, approved architectural electives, Italian language (all levels available) and free electives from the Institute’s offerings (15-16 credits total). This program is open to architecture students who have completed at least two years of study in the discipline. Admission is selective.

Program participants are required to enroll in the following curriculum:

  • Selected Design Studio or Interior Design Studio Course (5-6 credits)
  • Architecture Elective: Architecture in Context (3 credits) or Survey and Drawing (3 credits)
  • Italian Language: The Florence Experience (4 credits)
  • Free Elective (3 credits)


Dates & Fees
Fall Semester: Late August – Mid-December
Spring Semester: Mid-January – End of April

Semester Tuition & Fees (15-18 credits) $20,370.00

ISI Florence offers scholarships, financial aid, and partner discounts for qualifying architecture students
Contact Us about how to make your experience more affordable


What’s Included:
Tuition (12-18 credits), mandatory course field trips and excursions, personal architecture design table and workspace, studio facilities and resources, pre-departure assistance, airport pick-up in Florence, 2-day orientation program with field trips, fully-equipped shared apartment, end-of-semester apartment sanitizing/cleaning, permit of stay fees, student services help desk, 24/7 emergency phone, Institute smartphone App, optional extra-curricular activities, farewell party, accredited transcript from Roger Williams School of Architecture, ISI Florence alumni membership.

Note: Fees do not include meals, airfares, textbooks, insurance, optional travel, optional extra-curricular activities.


Our Immersive Experience

The studio and elective courses, all taught by practicing architects and academics, are designed to integrate in-class teaching with visits to construction sites and field trips to other relevant destinations. Students sketch on-site and evaluate ideas for a team project—the culmination of the Advanced Design Studio course. The program also encourages mastery and skillful integration of the complex set of variables—artistic, technical, and philosophical—that underlie the successful design of any constructed environment. Students end the program with a team project, drawing from their unique experiences both in the classroom and across the “citywide campus” of Florence.

Summer Architecture Programs

F6 Architecture in Context Program

This program is designed for all undergraduate students interested in architecture. Based within the framework of Florence’s built environment, this innovative and interdisciplinary academic program surveys the city’s extraordinary design, art, architecture, and history. Participants will unveil the centuries-old strata of the city while living its contemporary life as architecture students. The six-week summer session will use sketching as a tool for mapping the architectural and urban development of Florence to interpret and understand its historical context. Students will work closely with their instructors and peers to develop a rich, diversified, and inspirational portfolio. The academic program consists of two courses, the mandatory foundational course and one of the related electives.

Mandatory Core Course (3 credits):
ARCH 470 – Firenze: Urban Form (3 credits)

Choose One Elective (3 credits):
HP391 – Architecture in Italy: History and Preservation
ARCH 430 – The Villa and the Garden
ARCH 330 – History of Italian Design
HIST 310 – Florence: The Story of the City
AAH 214 – The Art of Florence: Exploring Visual Culture.

There are no prerequisites to take F6 program courses. All students are welcome to apply. Applicants do not have to be architecture students. However, they are all expected to have a passion for drawing and a keen interest in architectural design. Scroll down the courses section below to see detailed course descriptions. Syllabi are available upon request.

Program Dates: May 19 – June 29, 2019
Program Fees: $6,975.00

Architecture: Structural Engineering Abroad

This Summer Engineering Program in Florence has been devised to enable engineering students to study abroad while doing work related to their major, thereby contributing to their overall understanding of the field. Engineering courses abroad are relatively rare, and this program has been created to fill that gap.

The program offers two structures courses: a historical survey of structures and an in-depth experience of structural rehabilitation. Students are encouraged to take both engineering courses but may select only one ENGR course and an optional elective of their choice. The core courses allow engineering majors to apply for elective credit towards their major.

Choose up to two courses:
ENGR 430 – Contemporary Structures in Historic Buildings (3 credits)

ENGR 431 – Structures in History (3 credits)

Elective Course (3 credits) selected course from among the ISI Florence summer course offerings.

There are no prerequisites to take engineering program courses. All students are welcome to apply. However, some background in engineering studies is preferred. Scroll down the courses section below to see detailed course descriptions. Syllabi are available upon request.

Program Dates: May 19 – June 29, 2019
One Course Program Fee: $5,975.00
Two-course Program Fee: $6,975.00

What’s Included in the Summer Programs:
Tuition (3-6 credits), mandatory course field trips and excursions, personal architecture design table and workspace, studio facilities and resources, pre-departure assistance, airport pick-up in Florence, orientation, fully-equipped shared apartment, end-of-semester apartment sanitizing/cleaning, student services help desk, 24/7 emergency phone, Institute smartphone App, optional extra-curricular activities, accredited transcript from Roger Williams School of Architecture, ISI Florence alumni membership.

Note: Fees do not include meals, airfares, textbooks, insurance, optional travel, optional extra-curricular activities.

Architecture Program Features

We’re with you Every Step of the Way

The ISI Florence staff will be with you every step of the way. Our admissions specialist can answer all your questions and guide you through the application process. The Florence-based team will greet you at the airport and provide dedicated support from the moment you arrive to the day of departure, including a 24/7 emergency service. Experienced faculty will work with you to ensure your curricular goals are met and you get the most out of this exciting academic program. What this means is that you will receive day-to-day guidance on your courses, while living in Italy, traveling on the weekends, and adopting Florence as your new home.

Experimental & Project-based Learning

Our architecture studio courses, all taught by practicing architects, are designed to integrate in-class teaching with visits to construction sites and field trips to other relevant destinations. Students sketch on-site and evaluate ideas for a team project—the culmination of the Advanced Design Studio course. The program also encourages mastery and skillful integration of the complex set of variables—artistic, technical, and philosophical—that underlie the successful design of any constructed environment. Students end the program with a team project, drawing from their unique experiences both in the classroom and across the “citywide campus” of Florence.

Newly Renovated Facilities and Academic Resources

ISI Florence offers students spacious and bright design studios in the historic center of Florence, equipped with review and seminar rooms, design computing laboratory, architecture library, modeling studio, and exhibition gallery. Annually updated software packages in the design-computing laboratory include the complete Autodesk Suite (AutoCAD, Revit, Maya, 3D Studio Max), Adobe Design Premium Creative Suite (Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop, Form Z), standard printers and a 3D printer. The Architecture Design Studio is entirely networked for wireless access. All participants are provided with their individual tables and workspace; the architecture facilities are open until midnight seven days a week.

Course Travel and Excursions

Apart from the seemingly endless architectural treasures right at your doorstep in Florence and the surrounding Tuscan region, the program also explores other European meccas of architectural design and innovation. Discovery and diversity tours include destinations like Berlin – Germany, Basil – Switzerland, Barcelona – Spain, Rotterdam – Holland, and more.

Architecture Courses Offered

Our Dedicated Faculty


Partners and Affiliates  

Our partners include Roger Williams University School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, Marywood University School of Architecture, University of Maryland School of Architecture, University of Virginia School of Architecture, University of Hartford School of Architecture, University of Melbourne, Università degli Studi di Firenze Facoltà di Architettura, La Sapienza di Roma Facoltà di Architettura, Fondazione Bruno Zevi, Comune di Firenze, Comune di Castiglione della Pescaia (GR), Comune di Cerreto Guidi (FI).   

Are you ready to become the next ISI student?