Prepare to be charmed by Siena’s medieval history and rich culture. Located on three hills in the heart of the enchanting Tuscan countryside, this ancient city’s historical center has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once you arrive, it’s easy to see why.

This program’s required core course, Presence of the Past, makes Siena and Tuscany your classroom through activities that explore important sites in and around the city, introducing you to the beauty of Siena’s cultural and artistic heritage. Explore the many piazzas, cathedrals, and squares inside Siena’s city walls that harken back to the Middle Ages. This isn’t just an exhibit at a museum—this is where you live. While you’re in Siena, you not only have time to see the sites, but also to interact with Italians and immerse yourself in the local culture.

With an integrated curriculum of English- and Italian-taught courses led by Italian faculty, IES Abroad Siena offers you the opportunity to enhance your Italian language skills no matter what your proficiency level. Take advantage of student life in Siena as you participate in Università degli Studi di Siena-sponsored activities and enjoy the libraries, cafeterias, and WiFi in university buildings throughout the city. You may be able to take courses alongside local students at the university if you are at an advanced Italian language level or meet the course prerequisites to take English-taught Business and Economics courses.

We want you to feel at home in Siena, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into your life in Siena. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible. You even have the opportunity to enroll in an internship, which includes time spent working at your placement in addition to an academic seminar that helps you contextualize what you’re learning.

Quick Facts

  • Center: IES Abroad Siena
  • City: Siena
  • Country: Italy
  • Program Credits: 15-19 per semester (4-5 courses)
  • Language of Instruction: English, Italian
  • Language Prerequisites: None

Program Dates

After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.

Fall 2018

  • September 3 - December 14 (IES Abroad Courses)
  • September 3 - Mid-December (Partner University)

Upcoming Application Deadlines:

  • Spring 2019 - October 15, 2018


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore Italian language, history, and culture, as well as other topics, through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and the opportunity to take courses at Università degli Studi di Siena enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class. You must take 15–19 credits per semester, and all courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified. The course options that are available to you are determined by language proficiency. Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:

    • IES Abroad Italian language course (required, 4 credits)
    • English- or Italian-taught IES Abroad area studies courses
    • Italian-taught courses at the Università degli Studi di Siena (credits vary, optional)

If you have at least 4 semesters of college-level Italian, on-site staff may recommend you for enrollment in one or two courses at the Università degli Studi di Siena.

  • English-taught Business or Economics courses at the Università degli Studi di Siena (4.5 credits each, optional)
  • Internship placement and accompanying seminar (3 credits, optional)

Signature Course

Living Siena: Exploring Historical & Contemporary Tuscan Culture Take learning outside the classroom as you explore Tuscany in this program’s signature course and develop an independent research project throughout the semester. You’ll visit sites including:

  • Piazzas and cathedrals inside Siena’s medieval city walls
  • Famous works of Renaissance art in nearby Florence
  • The Idyllic Tuscan countryside


This is a full list of courses offered in Siena. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings for your term in your MyIESabroad account. The final course list for each term will depend on faculty availability, students interested in each course, and discipline diversity.

Art History

  • AH 331 - Renaissance Art and Patronage: Comparing Siena and Florence (Spring)
  • HS/AH/CU 390 - Living Siena: Exploring Historical and Contemporary Tuscan Culture (Fall, Spring)

Cultural Studies

  • HS/AH/CU 390 - Living Siena: Exploring Historical and Contemporary Tuscan Culture (Fall, Spring)


  • EC 320 - Italy and the Economic Integration of Europe (Spring)

Film Studies

  • FS 360 - Italian Cinema and Italian Cities (Fall)

Gender Studies

  • SO/HS/GS 325 - Family and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Italy (Fall, Spring)


  • HS/AH/CU 390 - Living Siena: Exploring Historical and Contemporary Tuscan Culture (Fall, Spring)
  • SO/HS 350 - The Black Death & Its Aftermath (Fall, Spring)
  • SO/HS/GS 325 - Family and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Italy (Fall, Spring)

Internship Seminar

  • IN 395 - Internship Seminar (Fall, Spring)


  • IT 101 - Italian Language in Context: Novice Abroad I (Fall, Spring)
  • IT 102 - Italian Language in Context: Novice Abroad II (Fall, Spring)
  • IT 301 - Italian Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I (Fall, Spring)
  • IT 351 - Italian Language in Context: Independent Abroad I (Fall, Spring)
  • IT 401 - Italian Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad I (Fall, Spring)
  • IT 451 - Italian Language in Context: Competent Abroad (Fall, Spring)


  • LT 330 - Dante's Commedia in Historical Context (Fall)
  • LT 331 - The Literature of Love (Spring)
  • LT 333 - The Grand Tour of Tuscany in Literature (Spring)
  • LT 334 - Identity Between Dream and Reality in Italian Literature (Italian-taught) (Fall)


  • PO/PH 342 - History of Italian Political Philosophy (Italian-taught) (Fall)

Political Science

  • PO 340 - Nationalism & Regionalism in Contemporary Italian Politics (Spring)
  • PO 343 - Mafia, Society and Politics in Italy (Fall)
  • PO 356 - The "Autobiography of a Nation?" The History and Ideology of Italian Fascism (Spring)
  • PO/PH 342 - History of Italian Political Philosophy (Italian-taught) (Fall)


  • SO/HS 350 - The Black Death & Its Aftermath (Fall, Spring)
  • SO/HS/GS 325 - Family and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Italy (Fall, Spring)

Partner Institution(s) Università degli Studi di Siena

Founded in the 13th century, the Università is one of Europe’s oldest universities. The campus is spread throughout the city, including subterranean spaces and crypts.

English-Taught Business and Economics Courses

Enroll in one of the following courses:

  • Accounting
  • Corporate Finance
  • Financial Mathematics
  • Basic Macroeconomics
  • Basic Microeconomics
  • Private Law
  • Business Administration
  • Economic History
  • Political Economy
  • Statistics
  • Principles of Mathematics
  • Public Law

Starting in 2017-18

  • Banking Management
  • Business Law
  • Computer Tools
  • Economics of Money and Banking
  • Financial Institutions Management
  • Financial Markets
  • International Economics

These business and economics courses will carry 4.5 IES Abroad credits each.

Italian-Taught Courses

Highly regarded courses are available in the following disciplines:

  • Anthropology-Ethnology
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Law
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

Most courses carry 3 credits but credits can vary based on course level. Course offerings vary from semester to semester. Exact course availability is determined shortly before the start of each semester. For this reason, it will not be possible for you to officially register until your arrival in Siena. Student Life Get to know local and international students through activities at the Università degli Studi di Siena. You will be provided with a membership to the Erasmus student network, a group which organizes social activities for international students. You will also receive periodical newsletters publicizing events around Siena, and on-site staff will assist you with getting involved in activities such as clubs or gyms. A few highlights of student life at the Università include:

  • Support from International Student Tutors
  • Activities sponsored by the Erasmus Student Network
  • Sports - International students can participate in course of gymnastics, tennis, dancing, football (male and female), self-defense, archery, swimming, yoga, ping pong. The Italian University Sports Centre (CUSI) also offers the opportunity to practice various sports, from judo to basketball, volleyball (male and female), rugby and fencing. Students have access to sports facilities at discounted prices.
  • Music & Theatre - Young musicians interested in jazz and other music can frequent the courses of the prestigious Fondazione Siena Jazz, the national jazz academy, which offers a series of introductory and master classes in jazz and related contemporary music, such as fusion, funky, Latin music, blues, jazz-rock, etc... The University of Siena has also special links with the Istituto Franci which is a university level school for musicians.

Course-Related Excursions IES Abroad Siena organizes course-related excursions that complement your courses and contribute to your knowledge of Italian culture and society. All course-related excursions are included in your program fee and depend on your course enrollment. Past course-related excursions have included:

  • Florence - Explore the culture and identity of Florence as you take in the topography, architecture, art, and spirit of the city.
  • Sites from the Renaissance and Medieval Periods - Discover how the past enriches the present cultural identity of Siena through visits to sites such as San Domenico Basilica, Banchi di Sopra, Piazza Tolomeni, and Croce del Travaglio.
  • Palazzo Pubblico-Town Hall - Learn about the architecture and history of Palazzo Pubblico and its chapel.
  • Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Siena's Duomo - Conduct a case study of the Duomo area and find out about how the Sienese imagery was projected onto the public spaces in the city to present a distinct ancient identity.
  • Local Food Producers - Learn about food production, explore the workings of a Sienese bakery, or tour a chocolate shop.
  • Ancient Hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala - Consider the roles pilgrimage and devotional ritual played at Siena’s prestigious hospital. Visit the dungeons of the hospital and the vault where Black Death victims’ bones can be found.


Interning while you study in Siena gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the real-life, everyday culture of your host country
  • Add global work experience and skills to your resume or your application for graduate school
  • Improve your confidence

All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a 3-credit seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship.

Personalized Placements

Once you indicate your interest in an internship, we work with you to find the ideal internship placement that fulfills your academic and career goals. We've placed students with a wide variety of organizations and businesses. If we don’t currently work with a business or organization in your field of interest, we'll search for a placement that's right for you.

Placements Fields

Past students have interned in the following fields. Don’t see your field listed here? Just talk to your IES Abroad Advisor—new internships are always being added.

  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Archaeology
  • Chemistry
  • Education
  • Hospitality
  • International Relations
  • Photography
  • Physical Therapy
  • Political Science


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Siena, it will feel like home.


Share an apartment with other IES Abroad students and a local Italian student in the historic center of town. Furnished apartments are single-sex, and usually two students share a bedroom. Apartments have equipped kitchens, and you are responsible for your own meals. Italian roommates can help with improving your Italian language skills, getting to know Siena, and immersing yourself in the local culture. They also serve as a first point of contact for housing questions.


Choosing to live in a homestay is a great way to experience cultural integration. Homestays generally house one or two students. Accommodations vary, and hosts provide you with light daily breakfasts and one additional daily meal.

Student Life


The program begins with a one-week orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Siena staff, your fellow students, and the city of Siena. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during the week. In addition to intensive Italian language sessions, settle into your new home in Siena as you sample aperitivi with Italian students, visit the Contrada Museum, pick olives in the Tuscan countryside, and explore the medieval past of Siena’s surroundings during an archaeological excursion. Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Siena through cultural events, such as:

  • Guest lectures
  • Language exchange meetings with Italian students from the University of Siena and the University for Foreigners
  • Outings to local music performances, operas, and plays
  • Cooking classes
  • University of Siena lectures, seminars, and conferences
  • Special dinners and events sponsored by a Contrada of Siena
  • Sporting events in Siena
  • Special museum exhibits

Università degli Studi di Siena - University Clubs & Events

One of the best ways to integrate yourself into the host culture and to meet local students is to become involved in groups and activities on campus. There are several sports clubs and activities, as well as student societies that you can join at the Università.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 18 years of age
  • In good standing at your home school
  • 2.75 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale (GPAs under 2.75 will be considered on a case-by-case basis)

Passport & Visa Requirements

A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of the program, with at least two blank pages is required. A student visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter Italy. Upon admission, you will receive more information about the application process and any related fees. The visa application process for non-U.S. citizens can be extremely lengthy, please contact us for more information.


Fall 2018

  • Tuition: $13,230
  • Housing: $3,640
  • Insurance: $230
  • Total: $17,100

Academic Year

  • Tuition: $23,800
  • Housing: $7,280
  • Insurance: $455
  • Total: $31,535

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Program taught in:
  • English
  • Italian
IES Abroad

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Last updated October 8, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 - 2 semesters
17,100 USD
Program cost Fall 2018
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