Foundation year

The Ca’ Foscari Foundation Year is a propedeutic year-long programme, designed to prepare international students for studying degree programmes at an Italian university. Students will take courses on modern Italian history, English or Italian language, as well as a basic introduction to the main disciplines of future study.

Who should take the Foundation Year?

  • Students who have less than 12 full years of schooling at the end of high school
  • Students wanting to improve their English or Italian language skills before beginning an undergraduate degree at a university in Italy
  • Students who studied in the American school system and do not have the three Advanced Placement exams required to enrol at an Italian university
  • Students who studied in the British school system and do not have the three A-levels required to enrol at an Italian university

Programme

The Ca' Foscari Foundation Year runs throughout the academic year, from October 2020 until June 2021.

The programme offers a general curriculum for University preparation to all students, as well as 4 Study Tracks that aim to provide students an elementary background in the subjects they are interested in pursuing during their undergraduate studies. Students also take a language module in either Italian or English, depending on the degree programme they are planning on enrolling in.

All Study Tracks and the general curriculum are offered in English. Students are therefore required to already have a certified B1 language level (according to the CEFR).

In order to pass Foundation Year and obtain the final certificate, students must successfully complete each of the three learning modules:

  1. General curriculum: Modern and Contemporary Italian history, Critical Thinking and academic skills for University preparation
  2. Study Track: Economics, Science, Humanities or Architecture, Art & Design
  3. Language module: International Option (English) or Bridge Option (Italian)

General Curriculum

The general curriculum is taken by all students and offers classes in modern Italian history, critical thinking and a workshop on academic skills for university preparation. All subjects are taught in English.

Modern and Contemporary Italian History

This course will provide an overview of the major cultural and political developments that have defined Italian modern and contemporary history in its European context (1789-1948). Starting from the period following the French Revolution the course will focus on the events leading up to the creation of the Italian independent State, Italy's role in WWI, the rise of Fascism in the 1920s and Italy during WWII.

Special attention will be paid to the transition from Fascism to the Republic and the challenges faced by the post-war Italian state and Italian society.  At the end of the course students will have gained a general knowledge of the key concepts and main periods in modern and contemporary Italian history.

Critical Thinking

The course will explore the foundations of critical thinking in order to provide awareness of our own beliefs about the world, where they come from and why we might have them—with a focus on how power and politics shape the ways that we understand the world, and how critical thinking can serve as a resource to empower people.

Topics:

  • fundamental thinking, reasoning, and language abilities
  • statements, arguments, beliefs, and evidence
  • think critically about media
  • use critical reasoning to address problems
  • critical thinking about difficult moral and societal issues
  • communicate more effectively

Academic skills

The workshop is designed to assist students so as to learn, understand and reinforce their academic skills. 

It will focus on academic essay writing, researching sources and verifying their reliability, as well as strenghtening the students' study method through various activities and strategies.


Language module

Depending on the degree programme they want to apply for at the end of the Foundation Year, students choose to take one of two language module options:

  • International Option (English)

    • For students wishing to enrol in a degree programme in English. Students will study to achieve a B2 language level in English together with an Elementary Italian course aimed at promoting the student life in the city and at the university.

  • Bridge Option (Italian)

    • For students wishing to enrol in a degree programme in Italian and who therefore require a B2 in Italian language. Students will study to achieve a B2 language level in Italian provided they already have a certified A2 level knowledge of the Italian language.

Within the Bridge option, based on student numbers it may be possible for students who do not have any prior knowledge of Italian to study towards a B1 language level in the Italian language. Alternatively, these students will take the above International Option.

Students who are interested in obtaining an official Italian language certification can register for the CILS exam (for a separate registration fee).

Study Tracks 2020/2021

Each student chooses a Study Track from one of the four options below. Students must attend and successfully complete each course within the Track; it is not possible for students to mix courses from the different Tracks.

Track A: Economics and Management

This set of courses is designed for students wishing to apply for a degree course in the fields of economics or management.

Mathematics

Topics:

  • Terms and forms of mathematical language: logical connectives; implication; quantifiers; definition; axiom; theorem.
  • Natural and integer numbers. Rational and real numbers. Properties of powers. Logarithms and their properties. Algebraic expressions and polynomials. Percentages.
  • Elements and sets. Subsets and operations between sets.
  • Functions. Composite and inverse functions. Real functions of real variables: monotone; periodic; even; odd . Graph of a function. Transformations of function graphs. Linear, quadratic, exponential and logarithmic functions.
  • Equations and inequalities: rational; irrational; with absolute value; exponential; logarithmic.
  • Coordinate systems in the plane and in the space. Distance in the plane. Line, circumference, ellipse, hyperbole and parabola.
  • Basics of Trigonometry

Fundamentals of Financial Literacy

This course introduces students to some of the main topics in economics by improving their knowledge of financial markets and their comprehension of the financial behaviour of individuals along the life-cycle.

Topics:

  • Current and future value of money: interest, compounding interest and present value
  • Prices, inflation and purchasing power of money
  • An introduction to the life-cycle model
  • Risk and risk attitudes
  • Loans and mortgages (both fixed and floating rate mortgages) 
  • Investment products: bank saving accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), retirement accounts, life insurance policies
  • Financial markets: the relationship between price and return
  • Financial markets: the relationship between risk and return
  • Diversification and portfolio choice
  • Biases in investors' choices
  • Investors' protection
  • Pension systems: defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans. Multi-pillar pension systems

Business Management and Administration

This course is an exploration of some of the fundamental themes at the basis of business administration and contemporary management studies. In particular, the course aims at equipping students with concepts, definitions and tools that will be useful in their further management studies at the university. 

Topics:

  • Business administration and Management: subjects and fields  
  • Organizations and modern business firms
  • The nature and content of management as a profession;
  • Organization structure and human resources management
  • Strategy, marketing and innovation: the interfaces between firms and demand
  • The relevance of accounting in measuring and reporting financial performance

Introduction to Law

Topics:

  • Introduction to the phenomenology of legal systems in modern and contemporary Western experience.
  • Common aspects.
  • The national States and the Constitutions. Formal sources and customary.
  • Civil law and common law.
  • The traditional legal partitions.
  • From the Constitution to the other branches of law
  • The impact of the European Union on national systems, from the point of view of public law and private law.
  • Fundamental rights.
  • The legal regulation of relations between private subjects.
  • Patrimonial relations and personal relations.
  • The fundamental institutes of relations between individuals: obligations and contracts; rights on things and immaterial resources; responsibility; person and family models.

Data analysis

Coding tools for data management

  • Definition of a research question and identification of the relevant variables to consider
  • Introduction to a statistical software for data-analysis
  • Data collection and organization of datasets
  • Basic notions of coding: conditional expressions, loops
  • Examples and applications

Applied statistics for data analysis

  • Variable types: quantitative and qualitative variables
  • Summary statistics and graphical data visualisations of the distribution of quantitative and qualitative variables
  • Statistical tools and graphical data visualisations to describe the relationships among variables

The course is expected to include hands-on sessions to give students the possibility to carry out data analyses assisted by the course instructor.


Track B: Humanities and Arts

This set of courses is designed for students wishing to apply for a degree course in the fields of Humanities such as literature, languages, linguistics, art history.

Italian literature

The course will provide an introduction to and a broad overview of the Italian literature through its key authors, from Dante Alighieri, through the Renaissance, to our days. Students will work on texts of world-known poets, novelists, playwrights, including "libretto d'opera".

At the end of the course students will be able to identify the main period of Italian History (late medieval, Renaissance, Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment, Romanticism and Modernity) and associate themes and ideas to specific epochs.

Art History

This course offers a chronological survey of the major artistic styles of Italian art from the Early medieval period up to the mid 1800s and the Neoclassical art. At the end of the course, students will be able to identify the main periods of Italian art history within their historical and cultural context and analyse the characteristics of prominent works of art.

Philosophy

This course is designed to enable students to read and analyse philosophical texts and topics. It will cover the development of Western philosophical thought throughout the ages, providing students with the key philosophical concepts and questions, as well as insights into the historical and theoretical context surrounding the development of the framework of Western philosophy, from its ancient origins (Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine) and through key-figures of the Middle Ages and early modern period (Saint Thomas, Descartes), up to modern day (from Kant to Hegel).

Students will gain an understanding of the main schools of thought and their approaches (e.g. metaphysics, idealism, materialism, empiricism, etc.) and will become acquainted with a variety of philosophical issues (e.g. the mind-body problem, the nature of beauty and goodness, and the relation between human freedom and necessity) which are key to critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Introduction to classics

This course will provide an introduction to the history and literature of ancient Greece and Rome based on extracts from key authors and texts such as Homer, Virgil, Greek tragedy and Latin love poetry. By addressing these texts in their cultural and historical context, students will gain a basic knowledge of Classical culture and society. The course will help students identify the Classical roots of European culture, and of Italian culture within it.


Track C: Science

This set of courses is designed for students wishing to apply for a degree course in the fields of science, such as Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Engineering Physics.

Mathematics

Topics:

  • Terms and forms of mathematical language: logical connectives; implication; quantifiers; definition; axiom; theorem.
  • Natural and integer numbers. Rational and real numbers. Properties of powers. Logarithms and their properties. Algebraic expressions and polynomials. Percentages.
  • Elements and sets. Subsets and operations between sets.
  • Functions. Composite and inverse functions. Real functions of real variables: monotone; periodic; even; odd. Graph of a function. Transformations of function graphs. Linear, quadratic, exponential and logarithmic functions.
  • Equations and inequalities: rational; irrational; with absolute value; exponential; logarithmic.
  • Coordinate systems in the plane and in the space. Distance in the plane. Line, circumference, ellipse, hyperbole and parabola.
  • Basics of Trigonometry

Physics

Topics:

  • Definition of position, velocity, acceleration. Uniform linear motion. Linear motion at constant acceleration.
  • Force. Newton's laws of motion. Mass and weight. Projectile motion. Pendulum motion. 
  • Work, energy, power. Energy conservation. Friction.
  • Fluids. Pressure. Pascal's and Archimedes' principles.
  • Temperature. Heat. Ideal gas law. Changes of phase. First law of thermodynamics. Second law of thermodynamics (outline).
  • Sound. Propagation. Intensity. Echo, resonance, interference.
  • Light. Propagation. Reflection. Refraction. Dispersion and colors. Speed, frequency and wavelength.
  • Electric charge. Static electricity. Coulomb's law. Insulators and conductors.
  • Magnetism. Magnets. Magnetic dipoles. Earth's magnetic field. Compass.
  • Electric current. Electric battery. Ohm's law. Electric power. Electromagnetic induction.
  • Radioactivity (outline). Atomic theory of matter (outline).

Chemistry

Topics:

  • Elements, compounds and atoms.
  • The gas laws.
  • Atomic mass.
  • Mole.
  • Basic rules of nomenclature.
  • Stoichiometry.
  • Subatomic particles and atomic structure.
  • Periodic table.
  • Chemical bonds, intermolecular forces.
  • The properties of solutions.
  • Thermodynamics.
  • First principle, enthalpy, state functions, entropy.
  • Second principle, free energy.
  • Reaction kinetics and chemical equilibrium.
  • Chemical reactions: acids and bases, redox reactions, electrochemistry.
  • Alkanes alkenes, alkynes, aromatic compounds.
  • Functional groups.
  • Biomolecules: carbohydrates, aminoacids, polysaccharides, proteins, DNA.
  • Cellular metabolism and photosynthesis.

Biology

Topics:

  • Definition of "life". Life molecules and organic compounds. Biomolecules.
  • The cell: shapes, dimensions, membrane and cytoplasm. Difference between animal and plant cell. The cytoskeleton. Transport mechanisms through the cell membrane: passive transport (simple, facilitated diffusion, osmosis). Active transport. Cell and energy: metabolism, ATP. Aggregation of cells and tissues formation. Cellular reproduction.  The cell cycle. Mitosis. Meiosis.
  • Genetics: Mendel's experiments and his laws. Variations on Mendel's laws, incomplete dominance, co-dominance.
  • The evolution: evidences. Fixism and evolution. Lamark and Darwin. Modern evolutionary theory.

Track D: Architecture, Art and Design

This set of courses, provided by IUAV – University of Venice, is designed for students wishing to apply for a degree course in the fields of architecture, arts, design, fashion or urban planning.

This track is taught mainly in English but some lessons will be in Italian towards the end of the module.

As suggested by the national admissions policy for undergraduate studies in Architecture, students will take two admission test simulations (in Italian) during the course.

Italian Architecture

This course aims to develop knowledge and skills in order to prepare for the Italian admission test for BA programmes in Architecture. The modules focus on the following main areas:

  1. art and architectural history;
  2. design and drawing sessions;
  3. physics and mathematics.

Communication, visual and interior Design

Starting with a module on industrial design theory, this course aims to develop knowledge and skills in order to prepare for the Italian admission test for BA programmes in Product and Visual Design and Interior Design. The modules focus on the following main areas:

  1. industrial design history;
  2. product design and visual communication;
  3. drawing sessions (product and interior design)

Fashion Design

Taking into consideration all peculiarities of fashion BA or MA programmes, this course focuses on the following main areas:

  1. fashion history;
  2. communication strategy for fashion;
  3. Italian art and fashion system;
  4. drawning sessions.

Urban planning

This course is focusing on different issues related to the modern planning and urban design: cli-mate change, energy, place identity, city and territory resilience, social equality and inclusion, participation, management of specific applications for planning and urban design in ICT.

Visual Arts

This course aims to develop a basic knowledge of the different languages that dominate today’s planning and production of visual artworks, from photography to film, and from performance to 2D and 3D representation. A particular focus is related to the language of the visual arts both as a tool of expression and as a tool for non-verbal communication.

Eligibility

The Foundation Year is principally designed for students who have finished high school but who do not have the 12 years of schooling required to enrol at an Italian university and/or the formal qualification required for University entrance in their home country.

Eligibility for Foundation Year

Students applying for the Foundation Year need to meet the following obligatory eligibility requirements:

  1. have an adequate certified mastery of English (a minimum of B1 according to the CEFR)
  2. have finished their 11th year of schooling OR are currently enrolled at high school in their 11th year of schooling 
  3. hold a high school diploma, school leaving certificate, or equivalent, or will have one at the completion of the current school year (NB: in this case enrolment in the Foundation Year is conditional on the student receiving a High School Diploma)

How does this apply to me?

You are eligible for the Foundation Year if you meet the above critieria, and are in one of the following specific situations:

  • YES if you studied in the American school system and do not have the 3 APs required to access tertiary studies in Italy
  • YES if you studied in the British school system and do not have the 3 A-levels required to access tertiary studies in Italy
  • YES if you studied in a system where a) there are only 11 years of schooling, or b) the 12th year is optional
  • YES if you have 12 years of schooling and any exam required for university entrance in your home country, but still want to improve your English or your Italian and your background knowledge before enrolling at an Italian university

Eligibility for University enrolment following Foundation Year

Upon successful completion of the full Foundation Year, students will be eligible for enrolment at Ca' Foscari. Participation in the Foundation Year does not entitle students to directly access their chosen degree programme; students must take an entry test, where necessary.

Students can apply for their chosen degree programme through the Ca' Foscari Welcome office. For further information on enrolment at Ca' Foscari as an international student please visit the webpage.

NB: Eligibility for enrolment at other Italian Universities students is not guaranteed. Students who are planning on enrolling at other Universities or Tertiary Institutions should contact the appropriate office at the Institution in question.


Applications

Required documents

  • Final secondary education leaving qualification (or Certificate of Enrolment, if you are currently attending the last year of secondary School and your final leaving qualification is not yet ready) and eventual English or Italian translation
  • For all students: Certification of English language - level B1 or higher (see the following webpage for recognised certifications) or proof of having studied at least one full year of high school in English
  • Only for students choosing the Bridge option: certification of Italian language - level A2 or higher (see the following webpage for recognised certifications) or proof of having studied at least one full year of high school in Italian
  • Valid ID (for EU and Italian applicants only) or passport
  • Valid Residency Permit (for non-EU applicants residing in Italy)
  • Transcript of records
  • Letter of motivation

Dates and deadlines

Applications for the Foundation Year 2020/21 are currently open.
Application deadline: July 4th 2020.

  • Candidates will receive a reply to their application by mid-July.
  • Documents required for the successful completion of the enrolment procedure (such as the final study title, language certifications...) must be sent by September 13th 2020 to the email address:  foundation.cfsie@unive.it (please specify in the subject line: SURNAME NAME - SUPPLEMENT TO FOUNDATION YEAR APPLICATION 2020).
  • Arrival in Venice: October 4th, 2020
  • Orientation: Monday October 5th - Thursday October 8th, 2020
  • Lessons start: Monday October 12th, 2020

For more information, please contact  foundation.cfsie@unive.it.


Fees and scholarships

Fees

Total tuition is €5.000. Tuition includes all teaching activities (150 hours + 230 hours), tutorials and access to University facilities and services. Extra curricular activities, transport, accommodation and living expenses must be covered by the student.

Tuition costs are to be paid in two installments

  1. €1.000 15 days after receiving the invitation letter (to be reimbursed should your visa application not be accepted)
  2. €4.000 one month after arriving in Venice

Payment details

Payment must be made by bank transfer/wire to the following account:

Account name: Ca’ Foscari School for International Education (CFSIE)
Account number: 46603825
Bank name/addresss: Banca Popolare FRIULADRIA, San Marco 4121 Salizada San Luca, 30124 VENEZIA
IBAN: IT 96 U 05336 02020 000046603825
Reference: "Foundation Year 2020/2021 - student name"
For international transfers, SWIFT code: BPPNIT2P326

All transfer fees are to be covered by the student.
NB: students must send confirmation of payment to  foundation.cfsie@unive.it


Scholarships for the Foundation Year 

8 scholarships of €2.500 per student are available for the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year, based on merit and motivation. The scholarship is a reduction of the full fee and is to be applied to the second instalment of tuition.

More information will be available soon.

Financial aid for international students at Ca' Foscari

Students who successfully complete the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year and then enrol in a degree programme at Ca' Foscari will receive a tuition fee waiver on the first payment for tuition fees, and for all future payments provided they complete 42 ECTS per year. 

In addition, they can apply for a scholarship of € 5,000.00 awarded to international students through an annual call.

For further information visit the webpage.

Foundation Year students receive comprehensive pre-departure arrival information and assistance with the visa process, and upon arrival will find out how to access students services at Ca’ Foscari such as fully equipped libraries (open late), student cafeterias, campus-wide wifi, the buddy programme for international students, and more.

Housing

The Housing Office can assist Foundation Year students with finding accommodation if needed: find out more on their webpage.

To find out more about what the University has to offer, read through the Ca' Foscari Welcome Guide.

2019/2020

 The Foundation Year programme runs throughout the academic year, from October 2019 until June 2020 (8 months).

The programme offers two main study tracks, each of which consists of 30 credits and additional 30 credits of general preparation for studying at an Italian university on topics within modern European history, as well as English language and basic Italian.

Track A: Economics and Science

This set of courses is designed for students wishing to apply for a degree course in English in the fields of economics, management or science. Four courses are offered: Mathematics, Introduction to Law, Critical Thinking, and Computer Science, for a total of 30 credits.

Mathematics - 12 credits

Instructor: Luciano Battaia

Topics:

  • Terms and forms of mathematical language: logical connectives; implication; quantifiers; definition; axiom; theorem.
  • Natural and integer numbers. Rational and real numbers. Properties of powers. Logarithms and their properties. Algebraic expressions and polynomials. Percentages.
  • Elements and sets. Subsets and operations between sets.
  • Functions. Composite and inverse functions. Real functions of real variables: monotone; periodic; even; odd . Graph of a function. Transformations of function graphs. Linear, quadratic, exponential and logarithmic functions.
  • Equations and inequalities: rational; irrational; with absolute value; exponential; logarithmic.
  • Coordinate systems in the plane and in the space. Distance in the plane. Line, circumference, ellipse, hyperbole and parabola.

Critical thinking - 6 credits

Instructor: Matteo Giannasi

The course will explore the foundations of critical thinking, to provide awareness of our own beliefs about the world, where they come from and why we might have them—with a focus on how power and politics shape the ways that we understand the world, and how critical thinking can serve as a resource to empower people.

Topics:

  • fundamental thinking, reasoning, and language abilities
  • statements, arguments, beliefs, and evidence
  • think critically about media
  • use critical reasoning to address problems
  • critical thinking about difficult moral and societal issues
  • communicate more effectively

Introduction to Law - 6 credits

Instructor: Alessandro Bernes

Topics:

  • Introduction to the phenomenology of legal systems in modern and contemporary Western experience. Common aspects. The national States and the Constitutions. Formal sources and customary.
  • Civil law and common law. The traditional legal partitions. From the Constitution to the other branches of law
  • The impact of the European Union on national systems, from the point of view of public law and private law. Fundamental rights.
  • The legal regulation of relations between private subjects. Patrimonial relations and personal relations. The fundamental institutes of relations between individuals: obligations and contracts; rights on things and immaterial resources; responsibility; person and family models.

Computer science - 6 credits

Topics

  • Introduction to computational thinking
  • Computer fundamentals:   how computers store and transmit data; how hardware and software operate on data; levels of abstraction in computing
  • Element of programming and data structures
  • Element of management of digital data: collecting, storing, searching
  • Special topics: history of computing, social/ethic issues in computing, artificial intelligence

Track B: Humanities and Arts

This set of courses is designed for students wishing to apply for a degree course in English in the fields of Humanities such as literature, languages, linguistics, art history. Four courses are offered: Italian Literature, History of Italian Art, Philosophy, and Introduction to Classics, for a total of 30 credits.

Italian literature - 12 credits

Instructor: Federico Tanozzi

The course will provide an introduction to and a broad overview of the Italian literature through its key authors, from Dante Alighieri, through the Renaissance, to our days.
Students will work on texts of world-known poets, novelists, playwrights, including "libretto d'opera". At the end of the course students will be able to identify the main period of Italian History (late medieval, Renaissance, Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment, Romanticism and Modernity) and associate themes and ideas to specific epochs.

Art history - 6 credits

Instructor: Myriam Pilutti Namer

This course offers a chronological survey of the major artistic styles of Italian art from the Early medieval period up to the mid 1800s and the Neoclassical art. At the end of the course, students will be able to identify the main periods of Italian art history within their historical and cultural context and analyse the characteristics of prominent works of art.

Philosophy - 6 credits

Instructor: Charles Wolfe

This course is designed to enable students to read and analyse philosophical texts and topics. It will cover the development of Western philosophical thought throughout the ages, providing students with the key philosophical concepts and questions, as well as insights into the historical and theoretical context surrounding the development of the framework of Western philosophy, from its ancient origins (Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine) and through key-figures of the Middle Ages and early modern period (Saint Thomas, Descartes), up to modern day (from Kant to Hegel). Students will gain an understanding of the main schools of thought and their approaches (e.g. metaphysics, idealism, materialism, empiricism, etc.) and will become acquainted with a variety of philosophical issues (e.g. the mind-body problem, the nature of beauty and goodness, and the relation between human freedom and necessity) which are key to critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Introduction to Classical studies - 6 credits

Instructor: Antonio Pistellato

This course will provide an introduction to the history and literature of ancient Greece and Rome based on extracts from key authors and texts such as Homer, Virgil, Greek tragedy and Latin love poetry. By addressing these texts in their cultural and historical context, students will gain a basic knowledge of Classical culture and society. The course will help students identify the Classical roots of European culture, and of Italian culture within it.

General university preparation

All students take classes in modern European history, English (the equivalent of a B2 level) and Italian (A1-A2) in order to meet the entry requirements for studying at an Italian university.

Modern and Contemporary European and Italian History - 12 credits

Instructor: Giulia Bonazza

This course will provide an overview of the major cultural and political developments that have defined modern and contemporary European history, and of Italian history within it. Starting from the French Revolution and the rise of Nation States, the course will then analyse the rise of Fascism in the context of the two World Wars, following the development of European politics during the Cold War and until its end. The course will pay special attention to the transition from Italian Fascism to the Republic and the challenges faced by the post-war Italian state and Italian society.  At the end of the course students will have gained a general knowledge of the key concepts and main periods in modern and contemporary European and Italian history.

Last update: 25/05/2020