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The University of Siena (Italian: Università di Siena, abbreviation: UNISI) in Siena, Tuscany is one of the oldest and first publicly funded universities in Italy. Originally called Studium Senese, the institution was founded in 1240.
Since 2010, after the general reform of Italian Universities (“Gelmini Act”), the University has been composed of several departments, grouped in five areas:
- Economics, Law, Political Sciences and Social Sciences;
- Cultural Heritage, Education, Literature, Languages, History and Philosophy;
- Biotechnologies, Medicine, Dentistry;
- Environmental Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Geology; - Physics, Engineering, Mathematics.
The University of Siena offers several undergraduate degrees, masters degrees, single-cycle degree entirely taught in English. Every year an increasing number of international students arrive from foreign countries to pursue their studies at both Bachelor and Master levels. There are also some double degree programs that allow students to be earn their degree at the University of Si- ena and one at a foreign partner institution.
The teaching activities of the University of Siena’s first and second level courses are generally carried out in one of the nine faculties.
Students in Siena can be part of a real community of people motivated by a thirst for knowledge and learning, with attentive and approachable academic staff and many innovative services at their disposal.
The careful organization of teaching, the quality of lessons (which is monitored regularly), the services to facilitate studying such as efficient and well-organized libraries and laboratories, as well as the welcoming, orientation and continuous tutoring activities, support for disabled students and those in difficulty are just some of the University of Siena’s strong points.
The University of Siena runs first and second level degree courses, taught in Italian and/or English language.
Students can also choose from a wide selection of postgraduate courses, including doctoral degree programmes, specialization schools and master’s programmes, the latter being designed to offer specific training in the most innovative sectors.
Postgraduate education at the University of Siena is carried out in postgraduate schools, master’s programmes, training, advanced training and refresher courses and summer schools, while postgraduate research is performed in the doctoral schools.
Department of Political and International Sciences
Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences
Department of Information Engineering and Mathematics
Department of Historical Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Department of Life Sciences
Department of Medical Biotechnology
Department of Molecular Medicine and Development
School of Economics and Management
Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy
Department of Philology and Criticism of Ancient and Modern Literatures
Department of Information Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Department of Law
Department of Medical, Surgical and Neuroscience Sciences
Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment
Department of Education, Humanities and Intercultural Communication
University Department For Teaching and Research
Department of Medical Biotechnologies
On December 26, 1240, Ildebrandino Cacciaconti, the then podestà of Siena, signed a decree imposing a tax on citizens of Siena who rented rooms to students of the local "Studium Senese". The money from this tax went to pay for the salaries of the maestri (teachers) of this new studium.The studium was further supported when, in 1252, Pope Innocent IV declared both its teachers and students completely immune from taxes and forced labour levied on their person or property by the city of Siena. Moreover, the commune exempted teachers of law and Latin from military service and teachers of Latin were also excused from their duties as night watchmen. By the early 14th century, there were five teachers of Latin, logic and law and two doctors of natural sciences (medicine).
In 1321, the studium was able to attract a larger number or pupils due to a mass exodus from the prestigious University of Bologna when one of its students was sentenced to death by Bologna's magistrates for supposedly kidnapping a young woman. Partly at the instigation of their law lecturer Guglielmo Tolomei, the student body there unleashed a great protest at the Bolognese authority and Siena, supported by generous funding from the local commune, was able to accommodate the students resigning from the Studium Bolognese.
The studium of Siena was eventually promoted to the status of "Studium Generale" by Charles IV, shortly after his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in 1355. This both placed the teachers and students under the safeguard of the imperial authority (protecting them from the local magistracy) and also meant that the licences (licentiae docendi) granted by the university were licences ubique docendi. These licences entitled the person receiving them to teach throughout Christendom.
The Casa della Sapienza was built in the early 15th century as a center combining classrooms and housing for those enrolled in the Studium. It had been proposed by bishop Mormille in 1392, was completed twenty years later, and its first occupants took up residence in 1416. Room and board in 1416 cost fifty gold florins for a semester.
By the mid-14th century, Siena had declined as a power in Tuscany, eclipsed by the rise in power of Florence, who defeated the Republic of Siena in 1555. The city authorities, however, successfully asked the Medici (the hereditary dukes of Florence at the time) to preserve the academy. Francesco and later Grand Duke Ferdinando I, reforms were made with new statutes and new preogatives. The post of Rettore(Rector), elected by students and city magistrates, was also instituted.
In 1737, the Medici line became extinct and the rule of Tuscany passed to the French House of Lorraine. In this period, the Tuscan economist Sallustio Bandini, seemingly determined to "improve the intellectual stimulation of his native Siena" solicited scholarships from rich patrons for the university and also set up a large library, which he eventually bequeathed to the university.
In 1808, when the Napoleonic forces occupied Tuscany, they eliminated the Studium Senese and the doors of the University were not opened again until after the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of Ferdinand III as the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
After the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 and its aftermath, Tuscany and with it Siena were controlled by the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was to become the Kingdom of Italy. The Sienese academy eventually recovered from the unrest, thanks to initiatives by the city's private enterprises and a series of legislative acknowledgements that boosted the reputation of the School of Pharmacy and that of Obstetrics (and consequently the School of Medicine itself) while the old hospital Santa Maria della Scala was transformed into General University Hospital.
In 1892, the Minister of Public Education, Ferdinando Martini, launched a proposal aimed at suppressing the Sienese academy’s activities. Siena perceived this as a declaration of war and was backed immediately by a general tradesmen’s strike, the intervention of all of the town’s institutions and by a genuine uprising of the population – all of which induced to minister to withdraw the project. Having escaped this danger, the town went back to investing its resources in the university setting up new degrees and new faculties. The bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena financed the construction of the biology department.
The 20th century witnessed the growth of the University of Siena, with the student population escalating from four hundred between the wars to more than 20,000 in the last few years.
During the start of the academic year, on November 7, 1990 the Sienese academy celebrated its 750th anniversary.
Applying to the University of Siena for an evaluation of candidate’s qualifications is easy. You can apply via our online application system and the evaluation will be communicated within approximately one month, after the closing date of the related intake. The application fee is 30 euros per course. After the registration, for further entries in your online application you just need to sign in with your personal access code. Please, note that you can work on your application throughout the intake period for applications.
Please note to complete enrollment you must bring Non-UE citizens:
- Declaration of Value
- Form A
- Passport with Visa
- A passport Picture
- Codice Fiscale issued by Agenzia delle Entrate Original of your High School Diploma
All original documents and a copy of everything divided in two separate folders (one for originals, one for copies).
Requirements for programmes in english
Students who wish to enroll in Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses that are taught entirely in English are required to have at least a B2 level of English (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). They must present the original copy of one of the following international certificates - the only ones approved by our University - to the Front Office of the Language Centre:
- IELTS with minimum score of 5.5
- Cambridge First Certificate
- TOEFL with minimum score of 87 (internet-based)
- SE II – Integrated Skills in English by Trinity College London
Please note that those students who have not been awarded any of the above certificates should pass the B2 level English exam at the University Language Centre after their enrollment in the uni- versity by January of their first year. They will not be allowed to take any other exams until they reach the B2 level.
University of Siena is a non-profit public higher education institution located in the urban setting of the large town of Siena , Toscana. Officially accredited and/or recognized by the Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca, Italia (Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, Italy), Università degli Studi di Siena (UNISI) is a large coeducational higher education institution. Università degli Studi di Siena (UNISI) offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, master degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. This 780 years old higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations. International applicants are eligible to apply for enrollment.
The formal system for accreditation of State University programs in Italy began in 1933. This law accredits a set of Universities, faculties, and courses. It involves two separate but correlated programs that were instituted at the same time: First, each University went through a four-step process to adopt and approve its own Regolamenti Didattici di Ateneo (RDA). The RDA establishes the rules for the organisation of teaching at the university, including establishing the requirements and objectives of each degree program, the curricula, credits awarded and requirements and objectives of examinations.
The RDA's were developed in consultation with representatives of the individual university, the regional coordinating committee (CRC), employers and the National University Council and are ultimately approved by the Ministry of Education (MIUR). Second, a series of formal, objective standards was adopted as minimum requirements for approval of any programs.
In Siena there are different housing options, from university halls of residence to private accommodation (individual/shared apartments or single/double rooms). You can try searching from abroad, but the best thing is to look for a room in Siena after your arrival.
The university canteens are run by the DSU-Toscana - Azienda Re- gionale per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario, which offers students low cost, complete meals, with a varied menu. In order to have ac- cess to university canteens, students need a smart card issued upon enrolment. The catering service charges are set by the DSU board of directors according to the Regional Policy Plan guidelines every year.
The student card is a magnetic badge with your stu- dent number which you can use for numerous services that the University puts at your disposal.
The buildings and university facilities of the University of Siena are covered by a wireless network accessible to all accredited users at the University (holding unisiPass credentials). The University of Si- ena belongs to the EduRoam (Education Roaming) network.
After you receive your student card, you can access our libraries, where you can borrow books, read, and study. The following is a list of the University of Siena libraries. During your period of study, it is possible to apply for part time jobs in the libraries.
Erasmus Student Network
Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Siena is a non-profit international student organization. Their mission is to represent international stu- dents, thus providing opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students. They organize trips, meetings, dinners and many events that can enrich your social network in Siena, giving you life-changing experi- ences where you can participate in getting a partner card.
All students can access the activities and facilities of CUS Siena at affordable rates. In order to participate in these sports, you must possess the DSU / CUS Card of the academic year currently being issued at the DSU Toscana with a medical certificate attesting to non-competitive sports practice and a personal record of your uni- versity situation and registration. The DSU / CUS card allows you to take part in various sports and to access discounted rates at public pools and other sports facilities.
Facilitations for access to cultural initiatives
Students from the University of Siena have access to numerous cul- tural activities. In particular, the DSU Toscana offers discounts on the cost of tick- ets and subscriptions to theatres, concerts and dances, cinema and guided tours to the city, museums and exhibitions, to learn about the history, traditions, art and culture of Siena and its surrounding areas.