Bologna Consortial Studies Program
About the Program | Bologna, Italy | Eligibility
Fields of Study | Academic Culture | Student Life | Housing | Helpful Links
About the Program
Indiana University’s Bologna Consortial Studies Program (BCSP) offers qualified undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a full Academic Year, Fall or Spring semester at the University of Bologna for U.S. college credit. The BCSP was founded by Indiana University in 1965 and is now a consortium of fifteen institutions that jointly set the program’s academic standards. Indiana University’s Office of Overseas Study is responsible for administering the program on behalf of the consortium members. BCSP is a full-immersion, language-focused study abroad program in Bologna: Italy’s “college town.” While the program welcomes students from many universities in the United States, an independent approach to study abroad is encouraged.
BCSP is unique because students are fully engaged linguistically, academically, culturally and socially in the local culture and university life. They live exclusively with Italian students and enroll directly in University of Bologna courses. Students choose BCSP with the goal of becoming fluent in the language and cultivating cultural competency. Integration is key to obtaining this goal. The program’s philosophy of linguistic and cultural immersion, bolstered by rigorous academics, provides the guidance and resources necessary to live like an Italian student in Italy.
Though Bologna may not be among the most sought after destinations for visitors who arrive in the Bel Paese in search of history, art and tradition, those who do choose to come here never tire of appreciating her streets and monuments and paying homage to her often hidden beauty. Bologna La Dotta (Bologna the Learned) is Italy’s most popular college town and is home to the world’s oldest university, founded in 1088. If you want to spend your free time learning about a particular topic, you can turn to the dozens of libraries, research institutes and museums.
With about 400,000 inhabitants, Bologna is the ideal size: small enough to project a friendly and intimate character and large enough to support a rich cultural life. With over 80,000 students attending the University of Bologna each year, the academic and social life for students is rich in variety and opportunity. The city has never become a major tourist center and, consequently, maintains a distinctive Italian character. Because of its position at the foot of the Apennines in the broad plain of Emilia, Bologna has always served, since its Roman establishment, as a major crossroads. Today it serves as a primary railway hub, providing easy access to Florence, Venice, Milan and Rome.
Bologna has been at the center of numerous political movements over the years. Its nickname ‘la rossa’ (the red one) refers both to the red brick material that distinguishes many of its buildings and to its political tendencies. Recent prime minister and European Union official Romano Prodi received his political handle ‘Il Professore’ (The Professor) from his role as faculty member at the university in the area of Economics.
A medieval city famous for its towers, some of the tallest buildings of their time, Bologna also boasts miles of streets whose protective porticoes make strolling, window-shopping and café-sitting a pleasure. The city is home to a vibrant cultural scene including a number of Italy's most talented creative writers. The Cineteca di Bologna, one of the world’s most active institutions for film restoration and archiving, sponsors an annual film festival that features new prints of classic films from numerous countries and earlier periods, drawing cinema scholars and enthusiasts from all over the world each summer.
Bologna is also known as 'la grassa' (the fat one) because of its famous culinary tradition. Located where the fertile Po Valley plain meets the Apennine Mountains, the city boasts a rich and varied cuisine. Vegetarian students may prefer to choose from the dishes of 'cucina magra' (meatless cooking), traditionally associated with Lenten restrictions on meat.
- 3.0 cumulative GPA
- completion of ITAL 3130 and 3250 with a grade of B or higher
- Students interested in the Bologna program generally take ITAL 1010 and 1020 during their freshman year. In the fall of the sophomore year, students take ITAL 2030, and in the spring of the sophomore year, they take ITAL 3130 and 3250 simultaneously.
Fields of Study
Anthropology, Art History, Classical Studies, Communication, Economics, Environmental Science, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Italian, Linguistics, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Economy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre
The Bologna Consortial Studies Program offers its students the option of combining University of Bologna and BCSP courses. While the majority of Unibo courses are based on professors’ lectures and oral exams, BCSP courses are structured following a more American style syllabus with mid-terms, finals, participation, attendance, and a more personal relationship with the professor.
The academic mission of this program focuses on giving American students an authentic experience, fulfilling the same requirements as Italian students. This requires self-discipline together with an effort to integrate responsibly into the system.
The great majority of students who come to study in Bologna appreciate the balance of independence and assistance that this program offers on all levels.
Students attend a pre-session course in Bologna to improve their command of Italian and facilitate their adjustment to life in Bologna and at the university. They then enroll in one or two regular University of Bologna courses with Italian students as well as take courses in language, culture, art history, film studies, and history arranged by the BCSP for program students. All instruction in program courses is in Italian.
All BCSP students are required to take a minimum of 15 credits per semester (for a total of 30 credits for the year). Students from institutions using different credit systems (units or quarters) should consult their home school academic advisors for equivalencies to these semester hour requirements.
At Unibo the academic year is divided into two semesters, each of which can be subdivided into two additional periods, called moduli or cicli. Based on this format, courses will be offered in the following configuration:
- Intensive Semester (listed as I or II semester
- Modulo or Ciclo (I, II, III, IV ciclo, offered either as part of an intensive semester course or as an independent course
These cicli are listed according to their place in the academic calendar: ciclo I and II in the «fall» term, which normally runs until the end of December, just before the holiday break, and ciclo III and IV in the «spring» term, usually from early February until mid-May. Exams will be scheduled at different times for different courses.
BCSP provides an Academic Handbook which thoroughly explains the differences students can expect as they adjust to Italian university culture.
BCSP organizes dinners, excursions and events to promote interaction between students and provide opportunities to be immersed in Italian culture. In recent years excursions included trips to Urbino, Ravenna, Padova, Verona, Vicenza, Lake Garda, Mantova and Val d’Orcia in Tuscany. Students also learn how to make pasta at a local farmhouse at the beginning of each semester. The annual exchange party introduces BCSP students and Unibo students that will go, or have recently returned from, study abroad in the U.S. Thanksgiving dinner is a BCSP tradition for faculty, staff, students and friends of the program.
BCSP helps students find internships and volunteer opportunities (non-credit) in Bologna in order to enrich their study abroad experience beyond the classroom.
Check out the program’s comprehensive Guide to Bologna to get to know the city before you even arrive!
Students on the BCSP Bologna program will be automatically enrolled in GEO Blue Health Insurance to cover them while they are abroad. Students will be billed for this insurance on their Tulane account. GEO Blue Health Insurance is not domestic (US) health insurance. Students must still maintain a domestic health insurance policy while they are studying abroad.
During the first week or two after arrival, program students live together in a hotel. With the assistance of the program, students then locate independent apartments in Bologna and are required to live with Italian students. BCSP requires that you live with Italians because this is the most effective way to learn the language and about the culture, and this is why you have chosen Bologna. Choose the apartment for the roommates; friendships with them are more important than a clean bathroom or a single. BCSP holds a housing meeting on your first day in Bologna during which the program staff will help you get started on your apartment search. Making appointments to see apartments and meeting with the Italian students will immensely improve your conversation and comprehension skills. You will feel well on your way to fluency and ready for courses at the University of Bologna. Through apartment hunting you will quickly get to know all the winding streets and characteristic neighborhoods. After the first two weeks, your map will become a souvenir and Bologna will start to feel like home.
The process is independent, but you have as much support as you need. Every BCSP student successfully finds housing within the first two weeks.
During orientation students are housed in two hotels just down the street from the BCSP office and a two minute walk to the university area.
Bologna Consortial Studies Program
Contact Past Participants
Click HERE to contact recent study abroad alumni in this region.