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About Italy
Country Handbook

Università degli Studi di Pavia


Program Snapshot

The University of Pavia is one of the oldest universities in Europe. An edict issued by King Lotharius notes a higher education institution already existed in Pavia in 825.The University of Pavia is in a way unique not only because of its prestigious historical origins and top quality achievements, but also due to its leading and promoting role in the so-called “Pavia System”, characterized by 15 colleges and residences where thousands of students can live, study and play sports.

Located on the banks of the Ticino River, Pavia is a peaceful university town featuring extensive Romanesque and Renaissance architecture. The city's comfortable size and medieval character are a pleasant contrast to the bustle of Milan, located just 30 minutes away.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students

Program Dates
Academic year: End of September to July
Semester 1: End of September to February
Semester 2: February to July.

Fast Facts
Pavia, Italy (pop. 90,000)
Student Enrollment: 23,000
Language of instruction: Italian and some English
University Home Page

Option 1: Courses in English
Students in the third and fourth year of their degrees (juniors and seniors in the United States), may enroll in Master's Level courses in English. Please note that students must have sufficient background to follow courses in these areas:
Molecular Biology and Genetics
International Business and Economics
World Politics and International Relations
Electronic and Computer Engineering
Economics, Finance and International Integration

OPTION 2: Courses in Italian
Economics (accounting, banking, economics, finance, geography, history, industrial & commercial techniques, languages, law, marketing, mathematics, sociology, statistics); Engineering (civil, electric, electrical, environmental & computer); Law; Letters and Philosophy (archaeology & art history, history, language & literature [Anglo-American, English, French, German, Hungarian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish], linguistics, pedagogy, philology, sociolinguistics); Pharmacy (chemical & technological pharmaceutics, pharmacy); Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Natural Sciences (biological sciences, chemistry, geology, mathematics, natural sciences, physics); Political Science (accounting, administration, anthropology, demography, economics, geography, history [African, Asian, European, political], law, mathematics, political science, sociology [economics, rural, urban], statistics); School of Paleography and Musical Philology (musicology).

Academic Notes
Pavia is a comprehensive university offering many programs in the arts, sciences, social sciences, business and engineering. Semester exchanges are possible in biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, geology, natural sciences and political science.

Students typically enroll in 4-5 classes per term. A term runs for 14 weeks.


Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student's home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
OPTION 1: Courses in English
Language Requirements: There is no Italian language requirement for Option 1. Students are encouraged to participate in available language courses to ease transition in Pavia.

OPTION 2: Courses in Italian
Language Requirements: A minimum of 4 semesters of university-level Italian or the equivalent must be completed prior to program. Students are required to submit the ISEP Language Proficiency Report with their application.

Language Courses (available to both options): Semi-Intensive Italian language courses is offered in addition to regular classes for an additional fee. 6 hrs/week. Students will receive a certificate of attendace if they complete 80% of the classes, but classes do not appear on the university transcript. For more information on language courses click here.

Pre-session (available to both options):A 3 week pre-session Italian course is offered in the fall for an additional fee. Total contact hours: 50 hrs (about 17hrs/week).

Additional Comments: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course level eligibility upon arrival.

Special Academic Conditions
Please note that ISEP students may not take classes in the following fields: Medicine and Surgery, Communication, Psychology or Architecture and Construction Engineering.

Students must have the appropriate background to take Master's courses in English.

Hints for Researching Courses
A link to individual course listings by department can be found by clicking on link "Courses" above.

Housing and Meals

ISEP Exchange and ISEP Direct:
Students are housed in single- or double-occupancy rooms in university residence halls. Meals are provided in the various student cafeterias.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at 450 euros.

The Welcome Point gives support and advice to incoming international students, researchers and university professors visiting the University of Pavia. Orientation is provided by the International Relations Office and the Welcome Point Office. Together they collaborate to provide useful inforamtion on topics of interest for students. In particular, they give inforamtion on enrollment at the university, housing, visas, the sports center, the language center, general information about the University of Pavia as well as answering any quesitons students may have.


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Romanesque towers rise above the university's neoclassical Piazza, Leonardo da Vinci, where students attend classes.

At the University of Pavia, we believe in the high quality of the education, research, services and quality of life that students enjoy in their host city. We also value the completion of studies, a facilitated entry into the world of work, and leisure with recreational, sport and cultural activities available.