Universities in Bologna

University of Bologna

The University of Bologna was the first established university not just in Italy, but in all of Europe. Today, it is easily one of the most popular universities for international studies, meaning that the number of exchange students moving to Bologna is extremely high.

In 1088, it is believed that free teaching began, where students paid the teachers as a "gift," rather than a salary. Eventually, this evolved into an actual payment system… right here in Bologna.

Beginning in the 14th century, teachings in Arithmetic, Medicine, Philosophy, Astronomy, Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric began, followed by Theology. Well-known scholars began to study in Bologna at this time, including Dante Alighieri, Guido Guinizelli, Cino da Pistoia, Francesco Petrarca, Cecco d'Ascoli, Re Enzo, Coluccio Salutati and Salimbene da Parma. As the university became more and more popular, it also welcomed Thomas Becket, Raimundo de Pegñafort, Paracelso, Albrecht Dürer, San Carlo Borromeo and Carlo Goldoni. Even Nicolaus Copernicus observed astronomy while studying Pontifical Law here.

Today, the University of Bologna offers so many courses that it can be somewhat overwhelming. You can opt to study Literature, Law, Medicine, Social and Political Sciences, Pharmacy, Languages, Veterinary, Engineering and Architecture.

For courses in further education, you can choose from Data Science and Human Resources. There are also Specialization Schools in Health, Psychology, Law and Cultural Heritage. PhD courses are also available.

Additionally, Summer and Winter School Programs are offered, which are very popular with international students hoping to add accolaides to their CVs.


Due to its size, the University of Bologna has departments and faculties located all throughout the city center and each faculty has its own headquarters. Via Zamboni is a well-known street with students, as that it is home to the faculties of Economics, Law and Literature. This is also where you can find the General Secretary Office.

One of the nice things about the faculties is that they are all housed in beautiful, historic buildings. For example, there’s the Political Science faculty is in the Palazzo Hercolani in Strada Maggiore, with its mysterious Secret Garden. If your studies include Languages, you’ll have the opportunity to study in the magnificent palace of Via Cartolerie. The ambiance alone has proven to be a deciding factor for many international students!

Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna - ABABO

The Accademia di Belle Arti, a Fine Arts Academy, is ideal for those with interest in the arts, including both modern and classical opportunities for study.

Courses will include everything from Painting to Sculpting to Fashion Design. This is the place to express your creative side!

While you will need to pass exams and follow along with your classes, there’s a huge difference here than in standard universities. You will be tested on your levels of creativity and your artistic abilities, rather than your ability to memorize and retain information.

Additionally, Bologna provides artists with a unique stage called the Exhibition Center, Bologna Fiere. It attracts people from all over the world, including business people and investors. This offers an invaluable web of networking, where you may even be given the opportunity to set up your very own exhibition.

Student associations

One of the first things you should do when you relocate to Bologna is to join a student association. This will be one of the quickest ways to meet your new classmates and other international students. They organize a full calendar of events, including parties, trips and networking opportunities.

One of the largest international associations, with chapters all over the continent, is ESN Bologna. This association is well-known for its welcome week, where activities are scheduled to assist students in acclimating to their new lives in Bologna. Throughout the academic year, they also schedule trips so that students can experience other cities in Italy, and better understand the culture of the country.

ELSA Bologna and AIESEC Bologna are two other popular associations. However, they are more centered on developing professional connections with students and organizations that could further their careers. ELSA is renowned for its activities for Law students, while AIESEC organizes volunteer and internship opportunities.

Share this with someone

So that others can also benefit from this guide

If you're feeling prepared enoughFind a room in Bologna