Florence Academics

Academic Objective

The Program’s academic objective is ambitious. It strives to turn the students into academic travelers (not passing tourists) who will leave the city having mastered first-hand a culture (the Renaissance) at the core of the historical and artistic development of the Western world, and having developed a deep fluency on Italy, the European Union and the Mediterranean today.

On-site Program Requirements 

As of the 2020-21 Academic Year, OSPFLOR 15, Contemporary Italy: Society, Politics, the Economy and the Arts has become a mandatory course for all students enrolled in the Florence Program.  Taking this class will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to gain academic exposure to the key aspects of Italian culture, the country’s public debates, its contradictions and complexities.  This class, wildly popular among our past cohorts, it is a riveting deep dive into Italy, which will make your understanding of the country as well as your daily life all the more meaningful and productive as skilled observers and true global citizens. 

On-site Language Requirement

All students are required to study or continue their study of the Italian language once in Florence.

Related On-Campus Courses

ARTHIST 105A: Islamic Art around the Mediterranean
FILMSTUD 130: Italian Cinema
HISTORY 31: Science, Technology, and Art: The Worlds of Leonardo
ITALGEN 247: Petrarch and Boccaccio
ITALLIT 127: Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch

ITALLIT 128: The Italian Renaissance and the Path to Modernity

ITALLIT 129: Modern Italian History and Literature
MUSIC 2C: Men, Women, and Opera

Classes at Local Institutions 

The Florence Program offers a number of challenging academic opportunities that enable students to gain entry to local institutions of higher learning, thus giving them the chance to study side by side with Italian and international students, work closely with the city’s vibrant community of scholars, and become further integrated into Florentine academic life.

In order to foster this important cultural exchange, the Program has established close working relationships with the Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Accademia Italiana that allow students to take classes with their Italian counterparts, set foot inside local universities and study a wide variety of subjects with Italian academics. Students who choose to enroll in these courses will have to do so above 14 units of Stanford in Florence coursework and will receive general university credit towards graduation and may decide to petition their departments directly to seek major credit. Please note that all applications are subject to final approval by the host institutions. 

Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Musicians coming to Florence who wish to continue their study can do so with private instructors at the Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, one of Italy’s most prestigious conservatories.  The Accademia offers one on one instruction in voice, piano, string and wind instruments, and percussion. For further information contact the Stanford in Florence Staff.

Fall Quarter Deadline: June 1; Winter Quarter Deadline: November 15; Spring Quarter Deadline: February 1

Accademia Italiana

Florence is truly an ideal location for art students.  While the Program offers at least one Art History course per quarter and studio art in the spring, those pursuing the fine arts might want to consider taking a course at the Accademia Italiana which offers highly specialized classes in studio art, fashion, industrial and graphic design to an Italian and international student body. Interested students coming to Florence in the fall and winter quarters can choose from a list of courses that will be made available.  For further information on the Accademia Italia contact the Stanford in Florence Staff.

Fall Quarter Deadline: June 1; Winter Quarter Deadline: November 15

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 Ways requirement. Students must enroll in a minimum of fourteen units from the courses offered through the program (local university courses are not included) and must be taken above 14 units of Stanford credit). For a list of all BOSP courses offered in the current academic year and planned for the next, and for information on which courses earn departmental credit or fulfill General Education Requirements, please refer to the BOSP course database. For information on courses scheduled for the current academic year and for enrollment, please refer to Axess.

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 the Italian film studies in Rome (Cinecittà), and to important cities such as Venice, Rome and Siena. Art History classes often meet on-site in churches, museums or even on top of Brunelleschi’s dome; our history of science course has its weekly meetings inside the Galileo Museum, and our studio art class enables students to sketch on-site at Florence's most important monuments. In every quarter, we host a lecture series, Incontri a Palazzo, that features talks by local experts on a number of topics of interest to our students and to the general public. We also organize activities such as tastings, concerts, workshops, cooking classes and film screenings. All of these activities aim to give students a deeper understanding of Italy's extraordinarily rich cultural heritage.

Bing Cultural Enrichment Program

The Bing Cultural Enrichment Program offers a special set of extracurricular activities to all students in Florence. Although they can vary from year to year, some of our past activities have included: weekends in Venice and the Cinque Terre, 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. We send our calendar of Bing events via email to students well in advance so that they are free to easily plan all of their other activities around our scheduled events.