Business and Culture in the Italian Context

A semester study abroad program in Urbino, Italy, designed for VSB Sophomores Only

A View of the Ducale Palace
A View of the Ducale Palace

Nestled in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, the walled city of Urbino played a significant role in the Italian Renaissance and was a major rival of both Florence and Siena.  Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich cultural and artistic history including being the birthplace of Raphael. The city's central location in Italy, along with its rich academic history, offers an excellent vantage point for students to explore the many facets of modern Italy's economy and culture.

Villanova University has twenty years of experience with the University of Urbino and has a full-time resident director, Dr. Pete Cullen, on-site to assist students with registration, orientation, and other matters throughout the term.  In addition, a Villanova faculty member, Dr. Kevin Clark, will accompany the students and will co-teach the anchor course, Competitive Effectiveness.

Why Participate in the Business and Culture in the Italian Context Program?

  • Complete VSB requirements while studying abroad.
  • Participate in a consultancy project for an Italian company
  • Learn about the modern Italian economy and explore Italy's rich history.
  • Live in a beautiful and vibrant college town, with opportunities to discover other areas of Italy.
  • Work towards an International Business co-major/co-minor and become a participant in the VSB Global Leadership Fellows Program.

The Business and Culture in the Italian Context (BCIC) Program has been designed to meet the curriculum needs of VSB Sophomores interested in International Business and Italian language and culture. Each participating student will be enrolled in four required courses and will choose one elective course, the successful completion of which amounts to 18-20 Villanova credits.

Required BCIC Core Course - VSB2020 Competitive Effectiveness (6 credits)

Villanova group in Roma

VSB 2020 Competitive Effectiveness is a team-taught core course in which one professor will be from the Villanova Business School and the other from the University of Urbino.  The course will cover management and marketing principles and apply them to a class consultancy project for an Italian organization. The letter grade received in the 6-credit VSB 2020 Competitive Effectiveness course will transfer back to Villanova and be incorporated into the student’s GPA.

Required BCIC Economics Course - Taught at the University of Urbino - Economics of Globalisation (3 credits)

Students will also enroll in an Economics of Globalisation course taught in English at the University of Urbino. This University of Urbino course has been approved to fulfill the VSB requirement: ECO3108 Global Political Economy. This course will be open to Villanova students, as well as Italian students. Upon sucessful completion of this class with the equivalent of a 'C' or better, students will earn a 'T' for transfer credit.

Required BCIC Two Language Courses - Beginning to Advanced Italian (6-8 credits)

All students will participate in two levels of language courses.  Students with no Italian language background will take the A1/A2 Beginner and Upper Beginner courses. Students with a prior knowledge of Italian cannot revert to a lower level and placement tests will be given prior to final enrollment. These students will follow A2/B1 Upper Beginner and Lower Intermediate OR B1/B2 Lower Intermediate and Upper Intermediate courses depending on their placement test results. Upon successful completion of these classes with the equivalent of a 'C' or better, students will earn a 'T' for transfer credit.

Please note, per University policy, “if a student has completed 2 years of a language in high school, credit for introductory courses in that language taken at the college level will not satisfy degree requirements, including electives.”  Also, if you have taken Italian at Villanova or have approved AP Italian credits, you will need to take Italian at a higher level in Urbino than the Italian courses already on your Villanova transcript.

Beginning Italian Students - complete IB co-major language requirement - 8 credits
Intensive language instruction + Semester language instruction
Fulfills Humanities Requirement & Free Elective

Intermediate Italian Students - complete IB co-major language requirement - 6 credits
Intensive language instruction + Semester language instruction
Fulfills Humanities Requirement & Free Elective

Advanced Italian Students - 6 credits
Intensive language instruction + Semester language instruction or pre-approved Italian-taught University of Urbino course
Fulfills Humanities Requirement & Free Elective

BCIC Elective Courses (3 credits)

Students will choose an additional elective course from the following list to complete their academic schedule in Urbino. All courses are taught in English. Upon successful completion of this class with the equivalent of a 'C' or better, students will earn a 'T' for transfer credit.

  • History of Italy from Socioeconomic perspective - fulfills History OR SocNatSci requirement, and IB social science requirement
  • Italian Cultural Studies - fulfills SocNatSci OR BeHavSci requirement, and IB social science requirement
View from a dorm room

Students will live together in a hotel style accomodation. The residence is located within the center of town and close to university buildings. A partial meal plan of two meals per day is included, but students should budget to buy some meals during the semester.

Various tours throughout Italy will be included in the program to complement coursework. Weekend visits to such locations as Rome, Milan, Bologna/Modena and Lecce will be arranged. Additional activities may include cooking classes, a visit to a winery and olive oil producer, group dinners throughout the semester, and Italian conversation meetings, socials and mixers. These trips will keep students busy on many weekends, so students should not plan any additional travel before consulting the activity schedule provided by the VSB Program Coordinator and the Villanova Resident Director.  

BCIC Program Calendar

Spring 2016

January 10
- Departure from US
January 11 - Arrival in Urbino
January 12 to 17 - Orientation: Walking tour of Urbino, settling into housing, permit of stay application, overview of the semester
January 18 - Begin coursework
Week of January 25 - First trip to Client Company
Jan 28 to Jan 31   - Trip to Milan
Feb 18 to 21         - Trip to Rome
(free to plan non-program travel within these dates)
March 18-20 - Trip to Bologna
March 24-28 - Easter Break, no classes (consider these dates inclusive)
April 21 to 24 - Trip to Lecce
April 25 - Italian national holiday, no classes
May 6 -  Last day of classes
May 10 - Final CE presentation to Client Company
May 14 - Departure from Italy

Estimated Costs

Students will pay regular tuition for the semester that they spend in Urbino.  As a special VSB program, housing and partial board is included in the tuition fee. Students are responsible for flights, additional meals, and all personal expenses on-site in Urbino. Please note - special billing applies for tuiton remission, tuition exchange, Augustinian family scholars and ROTC students. Please contact the OEA for information. Please use the Cost Worksheet to estimate your costs for the program.


Villanova University has the right to make cancellations, substitutions, or changes in case of emergency or changed conditions, or in the interest of the program.

Program Snapshot

This program is designed specifically for VSB Sophomores! CLAS business minors may also be considered for participation.

  • Program Duration: Semester Long
  • Credits: 18
  • Price: VU semester tuition

What is it like to be a VSB student in Urbino?