The Fall 2020 Semester Program has been cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for future semester programs will reopen in Fall 2020.

The Florence semester program is an immersive cultural and academic experience. With diverse faculty and exciting course opportunities, you live in Florence for a full semester, becoming true residents of the city. Florence is the home of the Renaissance, but is also a diverse cosmopolitan city.

Eligibility & Prerequisites

Sam Fox majors and second majors (BS, BFA, BA) can study abroad in the semester. Your major determines when you take your semester abroad:

BFA/BA in Studio Art and Fashion Design – fall of junior year
BFA/BA in Communication Design – spring of junior year
BS/BA in Architecture – fall of senior year
Second Major in Art or Design – either fall or spring of junior year

Minors in Sam Fox cannot attend the semester abroad program, but can attend the summer program.

To study in Florence for the semester, students must:

  1. Apply on time
  2. Have and maintain a 3.0 GPA
  3. Be in good academic and behavioral standing with the university
  4. Earn 3 credits of Italian Language before the program begins. Course must be taken for a grade and you must earn a C or better.
  5. Pass the Florence Preparation Seminar in the semester before you go abroad


Apply online at the link above. You will write a short essay about your interest in going to Florence and what it will bring to your academics and personal experience. You will submit a 10-page pdf portfolio of your work. You will also submit the name and contact information for two references. More details are given in the application.

Current second year students apply in December 2020 for the Fall 2022 semester program. The deadline to submit your application is March 15, 2021. Check back in December 2020 for details and the application link.

Communication Design
Current second year students apply in January 2021 for the Spring 2022 semester program. The deadline to submit your application is March 15, 2021.

Studio Art & Fashion Design
Current second year students apply beginning in September 2020 for the Fall 2021 semester program. The deadline to submit your application is October 31, 2020.


    Students earn 15 credits during the Florence semester program. All courses must be taken for a grade and the grade will show on the transcript. Registration is handled during the preparation seminar.

    BS/BA Architecture

    • 3 credits Italian Language
    • 3 credits Art & Architecture History (History Theory/Research & Writing)
    • 6 credits Architecture Studio
    • 3 credits Architecture Seminar (300-level elective)

    BFA/BA Studio Art

    • 3 credits Italian Language
    • 3 credits Art & Architecture History
    • 6 credits Art Practice + Methods & Contexts I
    • 3 credits SFS Elective

    BFA/BA Fashion Design

    • 3 credits Italian Language
    • 3 credits Art & Architecture History
    • 3 credits Patternmaking
    • 3 credits Fashion Major Elective
    • 3 credits SFS Elective

    BFA/BA Communication Design*

    • 3 credits Italian Language
    • 3 credits Art & Architecture History
    • 9 credits Com Des Major Elective

    *Com Des students will choose 3 courses from a pool of 5 illustration and graphic design courses. Past course offerings have included Branding & Identity, Experimental Typography, Methods: Verbal to Visual, Strategies on Site: Sketchbook, and Making Meaning.

    ** For BA students, the 3 credits in Art & Architecture History can count as Art History & Visual Culture credit.


    Due to varying points of departure and individual travel schedules, students arrange their own transportation. Students are given the arrival and departure dates for their program during the preparation seminar, along with instructions for arrival. Florence has an airport, the Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola, and main train station, Santa Maria Novella, which are both suitable arrival destinations. While it is possible to arrive to another airport and take the train to Florence, students should consider how much luggage they are traveling with and how comfortable they are traveling in a foreign country with lots of luggage.

    Students are responsible for booking and paying for their own flights. You do this during the semester before you travel abroad. If you go abroad in Spring, you will book your flight in the Fall before. If you go abroad in the Fall, you will book your flight in the Spring before. Be prepared to purchase flights during the semester before.

    Field Trips

    Field trips are organized by faculty to destinations throughout Italy and Europe including to Venice for the Venice Biennale (fall and summer) and Milan for Fashion Week (fall). These field trips are a required part of the Art History class and do not disappoint. The trips are organized for the entire group and billing for the field trips (transportation to and from, lodging, museum admissions) will be on WebSTAC, not out of pocket while abroad.

    Approximately 3 group field trips will take place during the semester abroad.

    Personal travel is also popular on weekends and during fall or spring break. Being based in Florence, students have easy access to popular destinations throughout Italy and Europe. We encourage students to take advantage of the great location, but advise all students to wait to book their personal trips until after they have their syllabi. Personal travel is not an excuse for missing class, and will be counted as an absence, which could effect the final grade.


    Students can live in apartments or in a homestay with a Florentine family. Apartments are in the city center, are fully furnished, and are shared between 3 to 8 students. In a homestay with an Italian family, two meals a day are provided and included in the cost of housing. Homestays can be a bit further from school, but Florence is a very walkable city, and walking and public transportation are readily available.

    Single and double rooms are available, but single rooms are rarer in both apartments and homestays. Housing costs during the program average about $1,000/month for double occupancy rooms, $1,200/month for single occupancy rooms—the fee includes utilities.

    Students staying in apartments are required to pay a $500 housing security deposit. If the apartment is in good condition at the end of the semester, students will receive a full refund. Any charges for damage to apartment will be taken out of the deposit. Homestay students do not have to pay a deposit.

    Students are required to stay in university arranged housing.


    Tuition is the same as on-campus WashU tuition. Semester financial aid or scholarship packages carry over to the semester program. For example, if a financial aid package covers tuition, fees, and housing for a semester on campus, then it will cover the same things while you are abroad. An estimated cost sheet for the program will be issued with the acceptance letter and you should confirm your scholarship awards by contacting your Student Financial Services Advisor.

    Students will need to make a Program Deposit of $500 to reserve their place in the program. This will be due approximately 1 month after notification of acceptance. Depending on your financial aid package, this deposit can be waived. Contact the Coordinator of Special Programs with inquires.

    Tuition and fees are due before the program begins and will be billed through WebSTAC. Students are responsible for paying for airfare to Italy, activities fee, supplies, international health insurance, visa application fee, international phone, etc.

    Preparation Seminar

    The preparation seminar is a 1 credit class in the semester before you go abroad. It is taken pass/fail and you should register for it with your other classes. The course number is 2661. In the course, you will learn about Italy and get prepared to live there; register for housing; register for classes; and hear from former study abroad students.