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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: Iowa State applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Spring
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2021 01-Oct-2020 02-Oct-2020 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Housing Options: Apartment/Flat Language of Instruction: English
Host Country Language: Italian Click here for a definition of this term Sponsor: Iowa State University
Program Description:

New College of Design logo

Rome Program
Rome buildings


Since 1991, more than 2,000 students have studied in Rome through the College of Design's flagship international program -- the first fully licensed study-abroad program in the Iowa regents' system.

Full-semester study options are available for graphic design, interior design, integrated studio arts and BA students each fall, and for architecture, community and regional planning and landscape architecture students each spring. The summer program offers classes for industrial design students.

Students attend classes at our studio facilities located in the historic center of Rome at Palazzo Cenci-Bolognetti, a 16th-century building located in the Piazza delle Cinque Scole near the Tiber River.

Living and studying in a foreign country contributes an important new dimension to students' learning process, broadening their perspectives and enriching their knowledge of each subject. Students have the opportunity to become real residents of the city, rather than tourists.

Benefits of Participation

Students who participate in the Rome Program benefit personally, academically and professionally. The program is often a maturing experience for students because they must learn to live in another country and integrate into another culture where English is not the primary language. Students learn to be more adaptable, handle stressful situations better and develop leadership skills.

Academically, students have the opportunity to take the same classes in Rome that are offered in Ames. The semester programs are directly integrated with departmental curricula, so students do not need to spend an extra semester at Iowa State. Participants also earn Iowa State credit, so there are no credit transfer issues.

In terms of professional development, students produce some of the best work of their college studies while in Rome. This work can then be included in their portfolios to show to prospective employers. It is also an advantage for students to list international experience on their resumes.

2020 Spring Program

The College of Design Spring Rome Program provides a structured curriculum for the direct study of European, and in particular Italian, architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism from a historical as well as contemporary perspective.  The program offers students what is for most a first-time opportunity to travel to and experience the physical and cultural settings of major architectural works overseas.  In addition to significant buildings, the students are exposed to and study the urban geography and culture of a major European capital, a city of unique contemporary and historical importance—Rome—within the context of its regional landscape and the Italian urban tradition.

Architecture Courses

The tentative degree requirements fulfilled by each class offered in Rome are provided below. Please note the requirements fulfilled are subject to change.

These two courses required of all architecture participants:

ARCH 4042/LA 404, section IT: Architectural Design VI. 6 credits: Studio
Dsn S 492, section IT: Special Topics: Italian Culture. 1 credit: either Professional Elective or General Elective (depending on what you have completed previously)

Then choose at least two of the courses below. Undergraduate participants must take a minimum of 12 credit hours total (required + elective courses). 
Arch 429, section IT: Topics in Italian Architecture and Urbanism. 3 credits: HTC Elective
Arch 431, section IT: Analytical Drawing. 3 credits: either Professional Elective or General Elective (depending on what you have completed previously)

Arch 486, section IT: Design: Made in Italy. 3 credits: HTC Elective


Landscape Architecture Courses (depending on enrollment in the program)

These three courses required of all landscape architecture participants:

L A 404, section IT: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design. 6 credits

L A 478D, section IT: Topical Studies in Landscape Architecture: History/Theory/Criticism. 3 credits

Dsn S 492, section IT: Special Topics: Italian Culture. 1 credit

Then choose at least one of the two courses below. Undergraduate participants must take a minimum of 12 credit hours total (required + elective courses). 

Arch 429, section IT: Topics in Italian Architecture and Urbanism. 3 credits

Arch 486, section IT: Design: Made in Italy. 3 credits

L A 404 will not substitute for a fifth-year landscape architecture studio. All other courses count as professional electives for landscape architecture students.
2020 Tentative Program Dates
Program dates for 2020 are listed below.  Do not purchase airline tickets until you have applied here at ISUAbroad and you have been accepted to participate in this program.
Wednesday, January 8: Arrive in Rome
Program participants book their own airline tickets. If you are traveling directly from the US, flights depart on Jan. 7 to arrive in Rome on Jan. 8 (overnight flight). Although it is recommended that you arrive on the morning of Jan. 8, you must plan to schedule flights with an arrival time in Rome of no later than 3:00 p.m. so you have sufficient time to claim your luggage and travel from the airport to the city center for housing check in by 5:00 p.m. You may travel independently before the program starts, but you must report to program housing for check in on Jan. 8 by 5:00 p.m.

The conditions of your study visa require you to remain within the 26-country Schengen Zone until you receive your Italian residency permit.  Because this process can take the entire semester, we suggest that you plan to visit any non-Schengen Zone countries, such as the UK and Ireland, prior to January 8 or after the program ends on May 9.

Required housing and studio orientations will be held over the following days before classes start, so you should plan to stay in Rome after arrival.  A day-by-day schedule will be provided during fall 2020.

Monday, January 13: Classes begin

Monday-Friday, March 16-20: Spring Break, classes recessed

Saturday, May 9: Departures from Rome can begin

2020 Confirmed Housing Dates
First night in housing: Wednesday, January 8
Last night in housing: Sunday, May 10
If you wish to arrive before January 8 or depart later than the morning of May 11 you are responsible for your own accommodations.  If you would like to arrive a day or two early in the housing, you will be required to pay 60 Euros for each day.
Program Prerequisites and Criteria for Participant Selection

Participants in all College of Design international programs must meet the following requirements:
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Accepted into departmental program of study
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.3
  • Clear academic record including no status of academic warning or probation in the semester prior to or the semester of international program participation
  • Course prerequisites as listed in the ISU Catalog
In addition, the following requirements apply to the Spring Rome Program:
  • Senior classification
  • Satisfactory completion of Dsn S 301 (required pre-departure orientation class)
The College of Design may check a participant's current GPA and/or academic status at any time. Failure to maintain the required GPA of 2.3 or the failure to maintain a clear academic record may affect participation in an international program.

Academic Responsibilities of Spring Rome Program Participants
  • All participants must plan to study with the Rome Program for its full duration (as noted by the start and end dates above).
  • Undergraduate participants are required to successfully complete at least 12 credit hours. Graduate participants are required to successfully complete at least nine credit hours.
  • All participants must participate in day trip and field trip components of the program.
  • All participants must submit their work for student exhibitions in Rome and in Ames.
  • All participants must successfully complete Dsn S 492 Special Topics: Italian Culture in Rome.
All Rome Program participants must obtain a study visa valid for the Schengen Zone through the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago with the assistance of the program. Participants cannot obtain a study visa or any other type of visa on their own for use on this program. Participants will be provided with details on study visa application materials in Dsn S 301. The college's Director of International Programs will guide participants through the application process and formally apply for study visas on their behalf. 
All participants in this program will be automatically enrolled in CISI, an international health insurance and emergency service plan. This insurance plan is required for all undergraduate and graduate students participating in ISU study abroad programs. The cost of the plan is $1.31 per day, and it has been built into the cost of the program fee. More information is available at the links below:
Costs and Financial Assistance

In addition to tuition, students are required to pay a program fee to participate in the Rome Program. The program fee varies each semester and it supports the studio facility and provides funds for program expenses such as course materials, guest critics and lecturers, the exhibition of final projects, and for field trip expenses such as transportation, lodging and museum entrance fees. Students sign a financial agreement in the semester prior to studying in Rome, and there are certain financial penalties for withdrawing from the program after the financial agreement has been signed.

Budget information is available by clicking here.  Please note that ISUAbroad budget sheets do not allow for the reflection of different rates of ISU tuition by major.  All architecture students pay differential tuition and all landscape architecture students pay standard tuition. Please see the budget sheet notes for more detailed information about expenses. 

Participants can apply their financial aid packages to study in Rome and should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information. The college offers financial assistance in the form of scholarships specifically for students studying abroad.


Housing for program participants is arranged by the College of Design. Students are placed with roommates of their choice in traditional Italian apartments, which gives them the opportunity to integrate with local residents. The apartments are furnished and come supplied with basic amenities. They are usually located within a reasonable walking distance of the studio. Typically, apartments accommodate six to eight students.

Withdrawal Penalties

The application deadline for the spring 2020 program is October 15, 2019. All students who are accepted to participate must either commit to or decline their offer in the ISUAbroad online application system no later than October 24, 2019. Those students who commit to their offer are officially part of the program and will be responsible for the penalties outlined below only if withdrawal occurs. In addition to the penalty listed below, the participant is also responsible for all program payments the college is obligated to make on his or her behalf, such as housing costs.  The withdrawal penalty and any additional costs will be applied to the U-bill and will be due in full on January 20, 2020.

Date Withdrawal Penalty
After committing at ISUAbroad and before October 21, 2019: $200.00 + obligated costs
On or after October 21, 2017 and before November 18, 2019:  50% of program fee + obligated costs
On or after November 19, 2019: Full program fee + obligated costs

Contact and Additional Information

Questions about the Rome Program should be directed to Jen Hogan at

Information about the Spring Rome Program is also available at: