Design students creating art

Design in Rome

  1. Program Details

    Use the city of Rome as inspiration and context for your design studio course. Observe the Italian workforce as an intern. Travel to Sicily as part of the program to participate in design workshops, and explore different aspects of Italian culture. 

    Location Rome, Italy
    Term Summer Session
    Housing Apartment, Homestay
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students, Non UofM Students
    Student Year Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  3. About Design in Rome

    Renowned worldwide for art, architecture, fashion, and cuisine, Rome is a vibrant city with ancient and modern wonders waiting around every corner. Study in the heart of Rome while experiencing the design of the Eternal City. Further immerse yourself in the Italian culture by interning at a local company. Rome is the capital of Italy and has a thrilling history that spans 3,000 years. This program integrates study tours around Rome and other areas of Italy to highlight course content.

    Housing & Meals


    Students can choose to live with an Italian host family. This option includes breakfast and dinner Monday through Thursday.


    Alternatively, students can live in furnished apartments with other study abroad students.

    All students receive a bus and metro pass to travel from their housing to the ACCENT Rome Center.


    In addition to exploring Rome through your coursework, one study tour to Sicily is also included in the program fee. On this 5-day excursion you will participate in a design workshop, as well as other visits related to your courses, such as a cooking class, a lecture on food and sustainability, or a historical walking tours. All courses will also integrate guest lectures and visits around Rome to highlight course content. 


    The Learning Abroad Center works with Village Travel, a local travel agency, to arrange a coordinated flight for program participants. The flight is optional, and is arranged for those who want to fly with other program participants. Group flight information is typically available by the program application deadline, if not before.

    If you take the group flight, or are able to arrive before the group flight and wait, our staff will meet you at the airport and bring you to your housing at no added cost. If you do not take the group flight, you will need to make your own way to the ACCENT center upon arrival. Specific arrival instructions will be sent out prior to your departure.

    For immigration purposes, you should purchase a round-trip ticket, since you must be able to show your entry and exit dates from Italy.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Gain awareness of the complexity of modern Italy
    • Formulate a deeper understanding of contemporary global issues through engagement with Italian and EU communities
    • Increase independence and self-reliance through learning to successfully navigate Italian society
    • Gain intercultural insight into a professional career that can later be leveraged in industry and the workplace by participating in an internship

    Faculty & Staff

    On-site support is provided by ACCENT International, housed in their centrally located Rome Center in beautiful Palazzo Bennicelli (also known as Banco di Santo Spirito) on the Piazza dell'Orologio. ACCENT provides student housing, program classrooms, study areas and arranges on-site orientation, program excursions and social and cultural events. Italian and international faculty from universities in and around Rome provide all course instruction

    About the Learning Abroad Center

    Learning Abroad Center programs are:

    • Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
    • Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
    • Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
    • Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.
  4. Program Structure

    Program Type Study Abroad Center
    Program Level 1000–3000 level courses

    Students take 6–7 credits in the summer

    This program appeals to design students who want to engage with the city of Rome in a meaningful way. Participate in the Italian Design Studio to really use Rome as your classroom as you use the city to work on your sketches, and explore the many ways that design is incorporated into this scity. Internships in English and Italian give students the opportunity to participate in Italian work culture.


    Check out the Course List for brief course descriptions and University of Minnesota–Twin Cities course equivalencies. 

    All courses will incorporate study tours which will allow you to learn about areas in and outside of Rome. There will also be one study tour to Sicily included in the program fee.

    All students, regarldless of which track you choose, have the option to take the 1-credit Survival Italian course. This is a great way to learn words and phrases to help you navigate your time in Rome.


    Design students have a specific Italian Design Studio created specifically for you.

    If you choose the Standard track, you will take the Italian Design Studio, and one other Area Studies course. This track is 6 weeks long.

    If you choose the Internship Track, you will take the Italian Design Studio, plus the Internship in Rome course. This track is 8 weeks long. The reason this track is longer is so students have ample time to spend at their internship placements. The first 6 weeks of the program will consist of classes and time at your internship, and the last 2 weeks of the program will solely be for your internship placement.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Volunteer opportunities are available upon request. Possible examples of placements could be: teaching English to politicians in Rome's city hall, working at a refugee and homeless soup kitchen, adopting a monument to help save from further deterioration, or working at an animal sanctuary. Not all placements are available each semester and are based on the organization's need, so if you are interested, contact the Learning Abroad Center for more information.

    Course Options

    Select the term and, where applicable, the number of semesters (or equivalent) of language instruction you will have completed by the time you start the program.

    Term Take the Following


    Standard track

    Internship Track

    Internship course
    Area Studies course
    Optional Survival Italian course
  5. Course Enrollment Instructions

    Standard Track

    • Select the Italian Design Studio and one other 3-credit course
    • Select the optional 1-credit Survival Italian language class, if you are interested

    Internship Track

    • Select the Internships in Rome course
    • Select the Italian Design Studio
    • Select the optional 1-credit Survival Italian language class, if you are interested


    Italian Design Studio: Blending Tradition & Innovation
    DES 3151
    3 Credits

    This studio course will expose students to the productive intersection of ideas, using the city of Rome as the inspiration and context for interdisciplinary design work. Students from across the College of Design, including apparel, graphic, interior, architecture and landscape architecture, as well as students from other universities (with foundational skills in the visual arts and/or design) will be working together to realize a shared project goal.  

    *This course is equivalent to ARCH3250 for Bachelor of Design in Architecture students

    *This course will fulfill a Graphic Design elective. It could possibly fulfill the GD Identity and Symbols course. See GD learning abroad adviser for approval.

    *This course will fulfill a major required elective area for Retail Merchandising

    *This course will fulfill an Area C elective for the Design Minor.

    Syllabus for Italian Design Studio (PDF)

    Italian Language

    Survival Italian
    ROME 1500
    1 Credit

    This course is designed to introduce you to the basics of the Italian language, and help you learn important phrases and cultural cues for your time in Rome

    Syllabus for Survival Italian (PDF)

    Area Studies

    Made in Italy: The Design & Marketing of an Ideal
    ROME 3003
    3 Credits

    This course will provide you with a full understanding of Made in Italy as a brand and lifestyle. The course will revolve around lectures and site visits that contribute to the development of a student group marketing plan.

    *This course is equivalent to JOUR4259, (SJMC skills course) 

    *This course will fulfill a Graphic Design elective. It could possibly count as the GD Identity and Symbols course. See GD learning abroad adviser for approval.

    *This course will fulfill a major required elective area for Retail Merchandising.

    Approved for the Liberal Education Arts & Humanities core and Global Perspectives theme.

    Syllabus for the Design & Marketing of an Ideal (PDF)

    Sustainable Foods of Italy
    ROME 3008
    3 Credits

    Students examine themes of population growth, food production, ecology, agriculture and economic systems, global warming, consumer consequences, resources and competition for resources, all from an Italian perspective.

    Approved for the Liberal Education Environment theme.

    Syllabus for Sustainable Foods of Italy (PDF)

    Internships in Rome: A Comparative Approach to the Italian Workforce
    ROME 3013
    3 Credits

    This course explores the world of work in Italy and how students respond to the challenges that they can expect to encounter while interning in Rome. A list of potential internship placement areas can be found here.

    *This course will count as the Graphic Design Internship elective.

    Syllabus for Internships in Rome (PDF)

    Optional Online Course

    Global Identity
    OLPD 3330
    1 credit
    Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience with Your Future is an optional 1-credit online course that helps you process your international experience and apply what you've learned upon your return.  Global Identity gives you the opportunity to work individually with a trained cultural mentor, helping you articulate your newly acquired skills and differentiating you from your peers.

    This course is offered at no additional cost on programs six weeks or longer. The Learning Abroad Center will email out registration instructions, or you may contact a program team member.

    Syllabus for Global Identity (PDF)

  6. Internships

    Academic internships are available and are ideal for becoming more immersed in Italian culture while gaining work experience. Previous Italian language is not required, but more opportunities are available for students with a background in the language. Interested students should complete the internship application materials on the application checklist. You will earn 3 credits through the internship combined with the Internships in Rome: A Comparative Approach to the Italian Workforce course. 

    After being accepted into the program, internship materials will be sent to our on-site staff to begin the placement process. Because Italians put a strong emphasis on in-person communication, a majority of the placements will be secured after the students arrive in Rome and interview with their prospective employer. Students can expect to be placed by the second week of the program.

    Past internships have been identified in the fields listed below, but it is not a complete list. If you do not see a field that you are interested in, inquire at the Learning Abroad Center about the possibility of doing an internship in that field.

    • Advertising
    • Agricultural Food Studies
    • Archaeology
    • Architecture
    • Art
    • Art History
    • Apparel Design (placements are limited)
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Event Planning
    • Graphic Design
    • Health
    • Interior Design
    • International Relations
    • Journalism
    • Marketing
    • Political Science
    • Public Relations
    • Social Media
    • Social Services
    • Sustainable Foods
    • Theater
    • Tourism
    • TV Production
    • Urban Planning
  7. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Program Term App Open Date Deadline*
    Summer 2020 - Standard Track Aug 1 Feb 1
    US Departure May 20
    Rome Arrival May 21
    Italy Departure Jul 3
    Summer 2020 - Internship Track Aug 1 Feb 1
    US Departure May 20
    Rome Arrival May 21
    Italy Departure Jul 17

    *Program dates are subject to change. Contact the LAC for verification of dates before purchasing your airfare.
    **If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.
  8. Fees for Design in Rome

    University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.

    Summer 2020 Design Standard Track
    Homestay, Apartment

    Summer 2020 Design Internship Track
    Homestay, Apartment

    Program fees include a refundable housing deposit.

    Fees or tuition from home institutions may be added to or differ from the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center fees listed on this page.

    Billing & Payments

    Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

    Cancellation Policy

    Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
  9. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term See Dates Page for term options
    Program Name Design in Rome
    Track Name See Dates Page for term options
    Country Italy


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.

    Non-University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Once you submit your application, Learning Abroad Center staff will create a University of Minnesota student internet account for you. You will use this account to access the Education Abroad Application System, and other University of Minnesota services. You will be charged a $50 application fee for this program.

    Our staff will contact you within 2–3 business days with your internet account information, and additional application instructions.


    After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:

    • Application Essay
    • Course Enrollment Form

    • Italy Internship Application (Required only for internship applicants)
    • Italy Cover Letter & Resume (Required only for internship applicants)
    • Writing Sample (Required only for internship applicants)
    • Home Institution Nomination (Non-UofM students only)
    • Transcript (Non-UofM students only)

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

    If you do not meet the GPA requirement for this program you will be required to submit two additional application items—the Low GPA Essay and Special Circumstances Recommendation. Both items will be added to your checklist after you start your application, and you will be notified when they have been added.

    Application Review Process

    After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.

  10. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Whitney Westley Fisher or call at 612.625.8827.

  11. Contact Program Alum

    Below is a list of additional students who participated in past program sessions. They are ready and willing to answer your questions about this program. Feel free to contact them during your decision-making process or anytime during your pre-departure preparation to get a student perspective.
    • Erin K: Summer 2017, Graphic Design major, Mass Communication minor, lived in an apartment
    • Karli R: Summer 2017, Apparel Design major, participated in an internship, lived in a homestay