Office of Global Engagement

Brown in Bologna

Our program is based at the Brown in Bologna office, near our partner institution, the University of Bologna (UniBo), the oldest in Europe, with a proud history of dynamic, well-respected scholars like Dante, Petrarch, Erasmus, and Copernicus.

Students should note that program start dates, co-curricular activities, academic offerings, and other logistics may be adjusted in order to comply with health and safety considerations on site.

At a Glance

Università di Bologna
Student Residence
Language Requirement
Intermediate; ITAL 0300/Third-semester college-level Italian
Semester or Year
Accepts Non-Brown Students



Bologna Porticos
Bologna Porticos

The ancient city of Bologna is one of Europe’s great centers of learning and a superbly preserved jewel of medieval charm. Our program is based at the Brown in Italy office in Bologna, near our partner institution, the University of Bologna (UniBo), the oldest in Europe, with a proud history of dynamic, well-respected scholars like Dante, Petrarch, Erasmus, and Copernicus.


A mandatory credit-bearing pro-seminar is offered at the beginning of the semester, focusing on Italian language, history, and culture. During the first month of the program, students also participate in on-site orientation activities, during which they learn about the city of Bologna and the Italian university system and meet with on-site staff to discuss course selection.  


The Bologna Resident Director oversee all academic matters. Once on site in Bologna, students will meet with the Resident Director to determine which University of Bologna courses they will take.  

Students studying abroad for the fall semester or spring semester are required to take the pro-seminar course (the equivalent of one (1) Brown course credit, along with university coursework totaling 24 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits (typically 3 semester-long courses).  Academic-year students are required to take the pro-seminar course, along with 24 ECTS during the fall semester; during the spring semester, full-year students will take 32 ECTS at the University (typically 3-4 semester-long courses). 


Courses at the University of Bologna are taught in a single semester, as either a full-term course or half-term course.  If taking a full-term course, students must enroll in both halves of the course. Under special circumstances, with the advanced approval of the resident director, one of the semester-long courses can be replaced by two half-semester modules, selected in consultation with the resident director, and provided that the half-semester courses are not taken at the same time. 

One Italian credit (CFU, Credito Formativo Universitario) equals one ECTS credit.

Required Course

Brown in Italy Pro-seminar

The Intensive Language and Culture Proseminar is a mandatory course designed to prepare students enrolled in the program to function well within the academic and social context of Bologna and to deepen their knowledge of the environment in which they will be living for the duration of the semester.

Elective Courses

Actual course offerings at the University of Bologna often are not posted until just before the semester begins, and final course registration takes place in Bologna. Because this is a direct enrollment program and specific courses may not be offered by the host institution each semester, students need to be flexible with their course selections.

Students have access to the full range of academic offerings at the University. Courses for most scuole, or schools, begin toward the end of September or beginning of October for the Fall and end of January/beginning of February for the Spring. Each scuola of the university operates according to its own calendar. There is no common schedule of classes containing all the information about the academic year. Not all classes begin at the same time; the schedule depends on the particular scuola and on the individual professor.

View University of Bologna course offerings
Syllabi typically are not available in advance. Because this is a direct enrollment program, students need to be flexible with their course selections. Review to this sample list of University of Bologna courses to see the types of courses students on the Brown in Italy program have taken in the past.

Special Course Options

With the advance approval of the Bologna resident director, students studying in Bologna in the spring semester may take one studio/visual arts course at the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts); students must provide a portfolio of their previous work. Courses taken at the Academy of Fine Arts are worth 6 ECTS each.

Program Dates

Approximate dates are provided based on past programs; students should expect them to vary by year.  Please refer to the program calendar for more specific information about program dates. 

  • Spring 2024: January 8 to May 24
  • Fall Semester 2024: September 2 to December 20
  • Academic Year 2024-2025: September 2 to May 24
  • Spring 2025: January 7 to May 24


Housing is provided in a student residential facility, in furnished private single rooms with bathroom and access to common areas including a study lounge, laundry room, and shared kitchen. The residence is in walking and biking distance to the city center, museums, universities, tram and bus stops, and Bologna Centrale train station.

Students cook for themselves or eat out at the numerous local restaurants. Bologna is famed for its cuisine, so many wonderful opportunities exist to explore this aspect of Italian and Bolognese culture.

Eligibility and Requirements

The Brown in Italy program is open to Brown and visiting (Non-Brown) undergraduate students.  

Students must be in good academic standing and have completed Intermediate Italian/ITAL 0300 (third-semester college-level Italian language), or the equivalent, before beginning studies in Bologna.

Application Instructions

Please click on the appropriate links below to submit an online application to Brown in Bologna:

Related Files

Related Links