Global Studies

Florence, Italy

Why Florence? 
Florence is an ideal location for an education-abroad program in architecture and design. The city is small enough that students feel very  Palazzo dei Cerchi comfortable to live there and walk around, and yet it is only a short train ride from Rome, Venice and Milan. Convenient airfares across Europe make Florence also an ideal springboard for travelling throughout many other European nations and cultures.

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. The city has more than a hundred museums that cover the fine arts — painting, sculpture, tapestry and many crafts, as well as architecture, science, geography and more. The center of the city is itself a museum filled with the meticulously preserved architecture dating from the medieval and Renaissance periods to the present.

Each year the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) provides the opportunity for all students within the college to have an educational experience in Florence, Italy. Students experience the historical evolution of European art, architecture and urbanism, as well as the contemporary “design scene” and the on-going modernization of European cities.

Both in the fall and in the spring, the programs are structured as semester long, with the opportunity of earning a full semester credit load, fitting conveniently into the student curricula, as well as resulting in a more efficient investment to study abroad. The "semester format" provides a more comprehensive, rich and impactful experience for the students, compared to shorter programs.


The fall semester program offers:

  1. a graduate program in architecture and urban design, open to CAED students and students from other universities;
  2. an undergraduate program in architectural studies, open to CAED students and students from other universities;
  3. an undergraduate program in architecture and interior design, for students from other universities, with a curriculum similar to the CAED undergraduate program in architecture and interior design offered in the spring semester.

The spring semester program offers an undergraduate program in architecture and interior design, specifically tailored for CAED students.

Faculty from other universities interested in learning more about the Florence programs and how they may be integrated with your curriculum, please contact the KSU CAED Global Education Coordinator (see below).

Florence Cultural Opportunities 

In addition to the fall semester curriculum and field study, the graduate Florence program also features The Richard Role Lecture Series and the Kent State Forum on the City. The Richard Role Lecture series is dedicated to the late Kent State University-Florence professor Richard Role, and focuses on urbanism and urban design. It features prominent European architects, urban designers and scholars with an international reputation in practice and/or research on urban issues.

Architects who have lectured as part of The Richard Role Lecture Series are, among others:

  • Louis Becker (principal and partners)
  • Henning Larsen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Michiel Riedijk (founding partner, Neutelings Riedijk, Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
  • Jakob Lange (partner, BIG, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Umberto Napolitano (founding partner, LAN Architecture, Paris, France).  

The Kent State Forum on the City consists of a series of dialogs on current transformations underway in contemporary cities. It aims at disseminating experiences in urban planning and design strategies, urban architecture projects, urban landscape designs, developments, and policies in major cities in Europe. On the occasion of the yearly forum, urbanists, architects, planners and designers, along with developers, policy makers and politicians, meet at the Kent State University-Florence facility to discuss how cities are changing and how they should change. The dialogs are therefore meant to address a broad audience and engage urban communities at large.

Some of the cities and regions that have been explored include:

  • Rome
  • Rotterdam
  • Milan
  • Turin
  • Citta Emilia
  • Madrid
  • Berlin

Graduate Architecture of Europe

The Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) offers a graduate program in architecture and urban design, with a focus on the contemporary European experience. The program, normally offered in the fall semester, is available to students enrolled in the following CAED graduate programs:

  • MArch 44 Professional Degree
  • MArch 44 Professional Degree with emphasis in Urban Design
  • MArch 44 Professional Degree & Master of Urban Design Dual Degree

Graduate students enrolled in other programs are also encouraged to apply. Admission is granted upon academic qualifications and available positions; see the admissions page for requirements.In addition to the regular fall semester curriculum, the program features The Richard Role Lecture and the Kent State Forum on the City, which is a series of dialogues on current transformations underway in contemporary cities. The forum aims to disseminate experiences in urban design, urban architecture projects, urban landscape designs, developments and policies in major cities worldwide. The program is also complemented by a field study course. Visiting faculty and critics, field-trips guest-guides, guest speakers and design reviewers expose the students to European design practice.

For more information:

David M. Thal, AIA - CAED Global Education Coordinator,, 330-672-0879

Kent State "Semester in Florence" (video clips)

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