Welcome in Siena
The University of Siena is one of the oldest universities in Europe, having been founded in 1240.
Its history has evolved alongside Tuscany’s cultural tradition from the Middle Ages to modern times.
Siena is located in the heart of Tuscany amid a landscape of gentle, rolling hills. Built on three steep hills and encircled by ancient walls, it is a unique city where students can spend a profitable study period, full of opportunities for their personal enrichment.
A Strong International Mission
In its eight Centuries of history, the University of Siena has been producing a wide range of studies in many different fields of culture.
Over the years the University of Siena has enhanced its strategy for internationalisation, aiming to strengthen its international academic relationships and to attract students and researchers from different parts of the world.
At the early 21st Century this historical Institution has been able to face challenges related to the globalisation of learning, knowledge and research with a wide number of international collaborations.
New international collaboration agreements and projects established each year, increasing number of Degrees and courses delivered in English, holding good placement in National and International Rankings; these are some of the University of Siena’s strong points.
International Summer Programmes in Siena
Several International Universities collaborate with the University of Siena and have chosen this location for their Summer Programmes:
- Harvard College (USA), Summer Programme: “Beauty, leadership and innovation”
- Yale University (USA), “A Literary, Historical, Cultural, and Geographical Journey in Tuscany”
- Emory University (USA), “Chemistry for Life & Environment”
- New Jersey Institute of Technology, Hillier College of Architecture and Design (USA): “Art and architectural history and urban development”
- Alves Faria College, Faculdades ALFA (Brasil), “Democracia e desenvolvimento”
- University of Toronto (Canada), Woodsworth College Summer School
- Tulane University Law School (USA), “International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts”
Rankings and Accreditations
With over 17,000 students, The University of Siena confirms its position within National and International HEI rankings.
In 2019 the University of Siena confirms its placement at the top positions amongst the medium-sized Italian Universities in the CENSIS classification, the Italian Centre for Social Studies and Policies: 2nd overall and with regard of services and structures, 3rd about internationalisation.
U-Multirank is a multidimensional, user-driven approach to international ranking of higher education institutions. It compares the performances of HEI/universities in five dimensions their activities: teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement.
The University of Siena maintains a good performance in some sub-sections of the five markers, in particular in Teaching&Learning, Regional Engagement, International orientation.
Qs World University Rankings by subject lists the University of Siena as one of the best in the world.
In accordance with this ranking, the University of Siena is in high standing on the national and international level in 2 broad subject areas and scored in 32 subjects.
Furthermore, the U of Siena can keep its position in the Overall ranking list, despite the recent entry of new international HEIs in the worldwide classification.
Times Higher Education (THE) is a leading provider of higher education data for the world's research-led institutions. Its data and benchmarking tools are used by many of the world’s most prestigious universities to help them achieve their strategic goals.
The University of Siena increases its position in the overall ranking (351/400), compared to 2018, and reaches the 51-75th placement in the Europe Teaching Ranking.
The 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU, also known as the Shanghai Ranking) confirms the growing reputation of the University of Siena, which has improved markedly on its previous rankings by being placed the “501-600” range.
The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the largest academic rankings of global universities. The University of Siena ranks # 470 out of twenty thousand universities worldwide according to the CWUR’s new list for 2019-2020. This puts the University of Siena in the top 2.4 per cent worldwide, which is an outstanding achievement.
The Italian University System
First Cycle (Bachelors)
This cycle consists exclusively of Corsi di Laurea. These degree programmes provide students with an adequate command of general scientific methods and contents as well as with specific professional skills. The general access requirement is the Italian school leaving qualification awarded after completion of 13 years of schooling and passing the relevant State examination; comparable foreign qualifications may also be accepted. Admission to some degree courses may be based on specific course requirements.
The studies last 3 years. The Laurea is awarded to students who have gained 180 ECTS credits (called Crediti Formativi Universitari - CFU) and satisfied all curricular requirements, including the production of a final written paper or equivalent final project. The Laurea gives access to the Corsi di Laurea Magistrale as well as to other 2nd cycle study programmes.
Second Cycle (Masters)
The main degree programmes in this cycle are the Corsi di Laurea Magistrale. They provide education at an advanced level for the exercise of highly qualified activities in specific areas. Access is by a Laurea degree or a comparable foreign degree; admission is based on specific course requirements determined by single universities. The studies last 2 years. The Laurea Magistrale degree is awarded to students who have gained 120 ECTS/CFU credits and satisfied all curricular requirements, including the production and public defence of an original dissertation.
Some programmes (namely, those in dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, architecture, construction engineering/architecture, law, primary education) are defined “SINGLE CYCLE ProgrammeS” (Corsi a ciclo unico); for these programmes, access is by the Italian school leaving qualification (or comparable foreign qualification); admission is based on entrance exams.
The main degree programmes in this cycle are Corsi di Dottorato di Ricerca (Research Doctorate Programmes); the students/young researchers enrolled in these programmes will acquire methodologies for advanced scientific research, will be trained in new technologies and will work in research laboratories, wherever appropriate. Access is by a Laurea Magistrale degree (or a comparable foreign degree); admission is based on a competitive exam; studies last at least three years and include the completion and public defence of an original research project.
University Postgraduate Vocational Programmes, 1st or 2nd LEVEL (Corsi di Master Universitario di primo livello).
These are 2nd cycle programmes intended to provide students with further specialisation or higher continuing education after completion of the first cycle. Access is by a Laurea (Bachelor’s Degree (or a comparable foreign degree) for 1st level or Laurea Magistrale (Master’s Degree) for 2nd level; admission may be subject to additional requirements. The qualification awarded does not give access to Corsi di Dottorato di Ricerca or to any other 3rd cycle programme, since this type, of course, does not belong to the general requirements established at a national level, but it is offered under the autonomous responsibility of each university.
Ref.: Italian Education Ministry (MIUR) http://www.miur.it/guida/guide.htm
Studying at the University of Siena
Students in Siena can be part of a real community of people motivated by a thirst for knowledge and learning, with attentive and approachable academic staff and many innovative services at their disposal.
The careful organisation of teaching, the quality of lessons (which is monitored regularly), the services to facilitate studying such as efficient and well-organised libraries and laboratories, as well as the welcoming, orientation and continuous tutoring activities, support for disabled students and those in difficulty are just some of the University of Siena’s strong points.
The University of Siena runs first and second level degree courses taught in Italian and/or English language.
Some of these courses may have restricted access, subject to local or national admission test.
Students can also choose from a wide selection of postgraduate courses, including doctoral degree programmes, specialisation schools and advanced vocational programmes, the latter being designed to offer specific training in the most innovative sectors.
To ensure the opportunity to all the international students to apply for its Degree programmes, the University of Siena can also offer a Foundation Year.
A Foundation Year acts as a bridge between your current qualifications and 1st level Italian University courses (Bachelor) entry requirements or as a means to fill a gap in the educational background of an international student coming from a country where the higher education system requires a shorter period of education than that provided by the «Bologna Process» implemented in the European Union.
Moreover, the FY programme provides the students with adequate preparation in the comprehension of Italian language and offer a deep academic preparation for entry into an Italian University. In particular, thanks to this programme, international students will have the opportunity to improve their written and spoken Italian language, their communicative skills, and they will be able to familiarize with the Italian and European Union’s criteria of academic teaching and learning.
You can apply …
- if you are an international student and have completed less than 12 years of education
- if you are an international student in need of additional Italian language and academic preparation for entry into year 1 of an Italian Bachelor’s Degree Programme
- if you possess an American high school qualification which does not include any Advanced Placements (APs) required for enrolment according to current legislation
The Foundation course is carried out in collaboration between the Università per Stranieri di Siena and the University of Siena and can prepare you for a variety of subjects for a total of 60 ECTS credits.
Basic Language Requirements
Students can join the FY programme offered in Siena with at least a B1- level (CEFR) incoming competence in Italian. At the end of the FY, an outgoing B2-Level (CEFR) competence will be assured. This corresponds to the level required by the Italian universities for the admission in a degree course.
A study fee FY programme of 4700 € is required for each student.
- Science and Technology
Info at: https://www.unistrasi.it/1/652/4372/Foundation_Year.htm
University Credits (CFU)
Degrees are completed through the acquisition of university credits (CFUs). CFUs are a measure of the workload required to achieve the learning outcomes for the course in which you are enrolled. One CFU corresponds to 25 hours of coursework and training, including individual study, lectures and laboratories. Each course module, or training activity, is assigned a certain number of university credits.
Once you pass an exam or any other form of assessment, you will be awarded the corresponding credits regardless of your marks.
The average quantity of work required of a full-time university student in one academic year is equivalent to 60 credits.
A study plan lists the training activities and course modules/exams you must attend and pass for each year of the degree course in order to graduate.
Certain course modules /exams are mandatory and identified in the individual degree programme regulations, whereas others are elective. You must draft a study plan in accordance with the requirements set out in the specific degree course regulations.
You may submit your study plan in one of two ways:
- through the online procedure
- in person at your department's Students and Course Administration Office.
During each academic year, you may only sit the exams for the modules included in your study plan for that year. The exam may be oral and/or written and/or a practical; marks are expressed as points out of thirty.
Those who pass the exam are awarded the corresponding credits, regardless of their marks.
The pass mark is 18/30. In the case of top marks (30/30), the committee may award honours.
The University of Siena 15 Departments have adopted a two-semester system to organize academic programmes. At the end of each term, a period of examination is scheduled.
Indicative Academic Calendar
Fall term (1st semester)
- October 1st to January 20th
- Examination period: January 20th – February 28th
Spring term (2nd semester)
- March 1st to June 1st
- Examination period: June 1st - July 31st
Classes stop for holidays at Christmas and Easter, as well as in summer (from the end of July until the start of the next academic year).
For further information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Studying and Training Abroad
Through its mobility programmes, the University of Siena gives you the opportunity to enrich your learning experience with a period of study and/or training abroad.
Study in Europe with Erasmus+
Among the first to join the Erasmus Programme, the University of Siena currently partners with some 400 Universities throughout Europe.
Through Erasmus+ for Studies, you can attend courses abroad, sit exams and conduct research for your degree thesis for a 3-12 month period; you can take part in the programme more than once during your academic studies.
Join the Erasmus Plus for Traineeship programme, instead, to complete2-12 month traineeships or internships in companies or institutions abroad.
You may also start the traineeship after your degree thesis; this provides you with a concrete opportunity to place yourself on the job market.
The Erasmus Programme also provides study opportunities outside of Europe through International Credit Mobility (ICM).
Other international programmes
Every year there are calls for grants to complete periods of study or research in European, American, Canadian, Australian, Latin American, Russian Federation, South Korean and Japanese universities.
The calls for application are published each year in the autumn. The application requirements depend on your destination, as indicated in the individual calls for application.
If your grade point average after the first year of your first cycle degree course is at least 27/30, you can apply for a summer study grant to attend an English language course at King’s College Cambridge (UK), in accordance with the stipulated agreement.
Double Degree Programmes
Students can apply for a Double Degree programme by taking part in the internal selection procedure. The programme enables students to complete a period of study and sit exams at a partner university; students are awarded a degree from both the University of Siena and the partner institution.
To apply for International Mobility grants, students must wait for the publication of the Calls for Application (in the autumn) or for the Erasmus for Traineeship call for applications (throughout the year).
Learning Support Structures and Students’ Services
The University of Siena has five special libraries in the following areas: humanities, economics, law-politics, science-technology, and medicine-pharmacy-biology. Located in the different teaching complexes, together they make up the Siena University Library System (Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo, SBA).
To consult books or documents in the library, use the unified One Search platform; it enables you to search the University catalogue online 24 hours a day, even from external workstations.
CLA - University Language Center
To learn foreign languages you can take advantage of the CLA educational services.
The following languages are taught at various levels: English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese (Arezzo only).
The Language Centre delivers the level B1, B2 and C1 English proficiency exams required for University degree courses and the related preparation courses in the classroom or in blended courses, which integrate face-to-face lessons with online learning assisted by a tutor.
To facilitate autonomous learning, CLA provides self-access language laboratories equipped with, audio-video and computer workstations and in which you can find support materials for courses and exam preparation.
CLA is an official exam centre for University of Cambridge international certificates of proficiency in English (PET, FCE, CAE, CPE)
University E-learning Platform, MOODLE Portal
The e-learning platform hosts e-learning courses and certain modules of traditional courses. The aim is to create an environment that is in line with the educational aims of the course and stimulating for the student, who is called upon to interact with the contents of the virtual classroom.
The interface may be accessed from any device (pc, tablet, smartphone).
The following will be available for each course module: the syllabus, bibliographical references, teaching materials, recordings of lectures, tools for collaboration (forums, chats) and for evaluation/self-evaluation (questionnaires, feedback, etc.).
Santa Chiara Lab
Prospective and Enrolled International Students
Dedicated to international students, the International Place is part of the URP - Information Office and is located in the Main University Building (URP, Banchi di Sotto 55, Siena).
It gathers under one roof the various activities and services offered to international students: those enrolled in or intending to enrol in one or more subjects, a degree course or a graduate at the University of Siena.
The International Place supports international users all the way path from initial access to the local and university environment to their full integration.
Applying to the University of Siena for evaluation of a candidate’s qualifications is easy. Here are the steps to follow. You can apply via our online application system - https://apply.unisi.it/ - for up to two first or second level degree courses (Bachelor Degree and Masters’ programmes), and the evaluation will be communicated within approximately one month, after the closing date of the related intake. The application fee is 30 euros per course. After the registration, for further entries in your online application, you just need to sign in with your personal access code. Please note that you can work on your application throughout the intake period for applications.
Normally the period for application is open from early November to late April, with possible variations depending on the different Programmes; the final calendar will be available in the above-mentioned application platform.
Step 1: Find the right programme (you can choose up to two programmes).
Step 2: Click on “Become an applicant” to start your application. Shortly after you will receive your personal access code via email.
Step 3: Create your application package (as required by the specific programme of your choice).
Step 4: Wait for the response to your application. After you have applied, an Enrolment Committee will assess your background and skills against the requirements of the degree programmes you have chosen.
You will be notified about acceptance within approximately one month of the closing date of the intake. In case of a large number of applications, students who will pass the selection based on the submitted documents should be invited to take part in a remote written test, possibly followed by an interview. The dates of the remote written test will be communicated to the admitted students at the email address used for the application.
Step 5: Check the university enrolment regulation at the Italian Embassy/Consulate of your country.
Step 6: If you are a non-EU citizen resident abroad, the pre-enrolment procedure for obtaining your VISA study is to be done at the Italian diplomatic representation of your country.
Important notice for international students
For international students admission purposes, the University of Siena does not make use of recruiters based abroad.
The University of Siena independently manages student admissions to degree programmes.
All personnel and offices of the University of Siena communicate exclusively through their unisi.it email addresses, any other email addresses do not come from personnel or offices of the University of Siena.
If you wish to verify the authenticity of an admission letter please contact email@example.com and enclose a copy of the letter.
Non-European Union Citizens Resident Abroad
After the evaluation, if positive, candidates will receive a letter of acceptance from the University of Siena. Each candidate must pre-enrol at the appropriate Italian Diplomatic Representation according to specific procedures available at each IDR.
Italian Language Test
The Italian language test is compulsory for those non-EU applicants who want to enrol at a University Degree course taught in Italian. Normally at the University of Siena, this test is planned in early September.
Candidates possessing a certified knowledge of Italian or those applying for courses delivered in English, must not take this test.
Tuition Fees & Support
University education in Italy is founded by the Italian government. This is the reason why tuition fees are generally lower than in many other countries.
The University of Siena publishes the regulations on student fees on an annual basis. Students enrolled on the first cycle, second cycle and long single cycle degree programmes pay from one to four instalments of tuition fees. The amount for each international student is based on his/her country of origin and the course chosen. The amount to be paid can be calculated using this tool
Students can apply for a scholarship provided by the DSU (Regional “Right to Study” Programme) and based on their family income; this will generate a ranking of assignment and only students in a good position will get this benefit.
The annual call for applications for DSU scholarships is published in the month of July on the DSU Toscana website www.dsu.toscana.it
Accommodation & Students’ Facilities
The DSU Tuscany Agency handles a wide range of students’ support services, like accommodation, university restaurants, sport.
In Siena, there are different housing options, from university halls of residence to private accommodation (individual/shared apartments or single/double rooms).
The University of Siena has no student residences as such but can use places in the dormitories owned by the DSU. There are 11 University Residences in Siena, some in the Centre of the Town, some close to the City walls and well connected to the city and the Departments, all provided with a free wi-fi connection.
Each Academic Year the DSU publishes an announcement for the granting of scholarships and places in accommodation, which is available at the following webpage: www.dsu.toscana.it/servizi/benefici-a-gli-studenti/borsa-di-studio-e-posto-alloggio
More info on DSU scholarship and services at www.dsu.toscana.it
The University canteens are run by the DSU Toscana which offers to the students' low-cost full meals (from 2.80 to 4.00 Euros) with varied menus.
In order to access the University canteens, students need a smart card, which is issued upon enrolment. For exchange students, this card is issued by the International Relations Office upon registration at the University.
CUS - Sports centre
In collaboration with the DSU and Siena University Sports Centre (CUS), the University promotes sports for students by offering courses for free or at reduced rates in basketball, football, volleyball, rugby, judo, weight training, fencing and tennis.
Competitive sporting events recognised by the respective national federations are also organised. To participate in these events, students must carry a DSU-Toscana/CUS membership card.
To come directly into contact with the job world and provide support, the Placement Ofﬁce organizes career days, corporate presentations, and departmental events to provide information on companies in certain fields of interest.
Furthermore, advanced apprenticeships (or “higher education and research apprenticeships”) enable you to enter a company during the last year of a second cycle degree through an open-ended employment contract that allows you to simultaneously complete your degree.
Erasmus Siena Group (ESN/GES)
If you are a former Erasmus student or a foreign student studying in Siena, you can contact the Erasmus Group Siena (GES): this is a group of volunteer students with no political or religious affiliation which helps integrate international students within the Siena university community and the city's social fabric and provides information to Italian students interested in mobility programmes.
ESN Siena GES is member of “E.S.N.” (Erasmus Student Network), a network of associations which represents international students, thus provides opportunities for cultural understandings and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students.
Every year ESN Siena delegates take part in different meetings of ESN to discuss common strategies to promote mobility programmes.
The Buddy programme is promoted by the University of Siena in cooperation with ESN Siena GES association. Its purpose is not only to assist exchange students with practical matters regarding their settlement in the new country. It mainly aims at facilitating integration in the Italian academic life and the Italian student community.
The Buddy programme is, above all, a great opportunity to make new friends from other parts of the world and to create long-lasting intercultural friendships! In the framework of the programme, the Buddy gets the opportunity to practice a foreign language, get acquainted with different cultures, develop his/her social skills; the buddy also gets the chance to participate to sponsored social events to meet his/her fellow Buddies and to participate to the exclusive ESN Siena GES events.
Where can you find information? On the website, University social networks and department websites you will find all the institutional information required, as well as notices of meetings and events.
The University Front Office: the URP and International Place
You can contact the URP - Information Office to receive general information on the University of Siena, its services, courses, facilities and opportunities. You can also find out about matriculation and enrolment and receive assistance in completing these procedures online (at the front office, by phone or email) firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Place, a part of the URP - Information Office, is dedicated to international students, in particular to those who are enrolled or wish to enrol in a first level (Bachelor's and single-cycle master's), second level (Master's) degree course or individual module.
Students can contact the International Place to receive information on the University and its services, residence permits, health insurance, the Italian tax code (codice fiscale), the validity of an academic qualification, recognition of foreign academic qualifications, shortening a course.
International mobility students should contact the Welcome Office at email@example.com
Università di Siena - Palazzo del Rettorato
53100 Siena, Tuscany, Italy