Communications Studies in Rome
Fall Semester

August 29 - December 16, 2022

Program Application

Communications in Rome the Eternal City: from Empire to Modern Europe

Global perspectives and cross-cultural knowledge are essential for students of communications. Rome, with its roots in tradition and history and its role as the capital of one of Europe’s largest economies, is the ideal place to explore the communication and related fields through an international lens, including public relations and marketing, journalism and media analysis. With an interactive Italian language course built into the program, students will be well equipped to delve deeper into the local context. 

 The courses offer unique opportunities to develop individual research interests and writing portfolios through group and individual projects, also introducing students to local experts and organizations through interactive guest lectures and site visits embedded in each course. This program is ideally suited for students with interests in: 

  • Public Relations 
  • Journalism 
  • Media and Communications 
  • Marketing 


University of Pittsburgh students enroll through the Accent/University of California Education Abroad Program in Rome for a minimum of 12 credits to a maximum of 15 credits.  

Students select two communication courses, a one Italian language course and choose one or two courses from a series of Rome-focused history and art history electives.  

In addition to coursework, you’ll have the opportunity to individualize your program with volunteer opportunities and a regular series of activities hosted by the study center to help immerse you in the local culture — cooking classes, language exchanges with local students and film screenings 


Course Offerings

Required Courses

The Italian language course focuses on practical use and oral expression. Italian instructors use Rome as a laboratory, enabling you to engage immediately in the community around the study center. You will also participate in conversation groups and weekly “get to know Rome” outings led by Italian student interns.

Meet the Professor – Prof. Maria Teresa Carbone

To what extent do stereotypes and prejudices affect the way we read and interpret news? How is wrong or inaccurate information conveyed, and how can we detect and contrast it?Is fake news a novelty of our time? This course examines the characteristics of the contemporary Italian media landscape in the light of some specific cultural traits of the country: attachment to family, distrust of institutional power, the influence (now in decline) of the Catholic Church, the low propensity to read books and newspapers.

The course will analyze some famous historical moments where information, disinformation and counter-information are closely intertwined (the rumors -artfully spread? -after the fire of Rome under Nero; the anonymous epigrams of Pasquino and other “talking statues” in the sixteenth century as a reaction to papal censorship; the cause célèbre around a child, Edgardo Mortara, stolen in the mid-nineteenth century from his Jewish family by the papal state) and will then dwell on the last decades. In particular, the topics covered will include the era of “Hollywood on the Tiber” (the birth of the paparazzi, the aggressiveness of the tabloid media, the reactions of the Vatican); the media coverage of two cases between Italy and the US (the Cavalese cable car disaster and Enrico Forti’s life term in Miami); the “Islamophobia” phenomenon (urban legends on the subject, Oriana Fallaci’s xenophobic outbursts, racist overtones in the public debate on migration policies); the long silence on the Italian colonial past finally broken thanks to Black Lives Matter protests; the controversies on vaccines, with a focus on the role of Beppe Grillo’s blog in the rise of the Five Stars Movement; the memes and the conspiracy theories related to the pandemic. On each topic students will research, discuss, edit and produce texts, images, audio and video materials within a simulated newsroom.

Meet the Professor – Prof. Giorgio Caridi

This course goes beyond the fundamentals of public relations emphasizing the concepts, theories, and techniques relevant to the Italian practice. The course explores three key areas of Public Relations: 1) communication: its models, their evolution and what happens in Italy; 2) cross-cultural perspectives/realities of communication media, public relations and mass media; 3) marketing and advertising approaches, news writing, press releases, and social media management of Italian companies.

The course aims to give a cross-cultural perspective and focuses on European andItalian attitude toward Public Relations, giving evidences and granting the students a hands-on experience to compare with their own one. An additional concentration is on the business aspect of the label, in particular, on marketing, branding, and consumer behavior seen from both Italian and international perspective. Business Case Studies and site visits will be part of the course. The course includes topics such as evolution of communications models and techniques, public relations, social media, communications and public opinion, ethics, organizational structures, tactics and strategies, employee relations, media relations, government relations, and public relations research.

Elective Courses (choose one)

Meet the Professor – Prof. Crispin Corrado

The life of the ancient Romans was guided by two important concepts, otium, or leisure time, and negotium, a more structured use of time that we may associate with work of varying kinds. A good Roman life could, and often did, include both. This course will explore Roman daily life and the many activities associated with both otium and negotium. The business of ancient Rome was largely conducted in the central and market areas of the city, and we will study the ancient Roman Forum, the ancient river port in Rome and its associated features (wharves, warehouses, and rubbish heaps), as well as the ancient port city of Ostia. The leisure time of the aristocracy was noticeably different than that of the poor. The rich often spent leisure time in a relaxing environment outside of the city, such as villas, where they could pursue all types of activities deemed beneficial to the mind and body. The poor, instead, tended to stay in Rome, and spend their unstructured time at state-sponsored events and venues such as the games held in the Flavian Amphitheater, or at a monumental bath complex, such as the Baths of Caracalla. Alternatively, they would congregate in small taverns or popinae, or they might just sit on the steps of a city building and play a game.

We will visit and study the places where the Romans spent their leisure time, and we will and study more closely the activities themselves. Throughout the course, too, we will remain conscious of the question, “How do we know what we know about the ancient Romans?” As we attempt to get to know the Romans by studying what they have left us in terms of physical and literary remains, we will discuss how much of what we “reconstruct” together from the evidence can ever be secure, and how much must remain debatable. This course will include visits to Rome-area museums and sites, and special outings to the Roman cities of Ostia and Pompeii.

This course will take the construction memory and identity in Rome as means of analyzing the country and nation’s post-Unification development. Providing a solid grounding in modern Italy, students are also introduced to memory studies and the importance of history’s construction and manipulation. Through a combination of class based lectures, group, discussions, and site-visits to key places of memory and identity construction in Rome, students will develop an understanding of why the state’s relationship with its citizens and the formation of identity has been so complex.

Each week will focus on a certain period of Rome’s history with visits to key objects and important sites of memory, such as the Janiculum hill, piazza Cavour, the Giordano Bruno statue, Verano Cemetery, Porta San Paolo, the Fosse Ardeatine, the Aldo Moro and Giacomo Matteotti memorials, etc. Each site will be considered within the context of memory controversies and polarized debates. Providing a solid grounding in Italian history, students will be encouraged to consider not just the history itself but the manner, nature and long-term impact of its construction.

Meet the Professor – Prof. Paolo Alei

Roman Baroque architecture can be synthesized in the rivalry between Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and Francesco Borromini (1599-1667). Initially they worked together at Saint Peter’s and Palazzo Barberini. Then professional competitions and divergent approaches led to a certain rivalry, but above all to the creation of different, astonishing achievements. While Bernini elaborated his emotional theatrum sacrum in the Cornaro Chapel and Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, Borromini manifested his neoplatonic thought in the complex designs of San Carlino and Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza. Although the course focuses mainly on these two architects-artists, attention will be also given to other protagonists of the Baroque such as Carracci, Caravaggio, Rubens, Domenichino, Cortona, etc. In the seventeenth century, Rome was a leading center of the arts in Europe. Popes, cardinals, nobles, intellectuals and Church officials continued to sponsor the Renaissance project of Renovatio Urbis, the restoration and embellishment of the city. While analyzing urbanism, architecture, sculpture, and painting by some of the major artists of the period, we will consider the artistic trends that characterize the patterns of patronage in Counter-Reformation and Baroque Rome.

Special attention will be given not only to the literary sources that shaped art theory, practice and criticism, but also to important issues such as propaganda, the viewer’s emotional engagement, and the artist’s social status. The unity of the visual arts, rhetorical effects, artistic rivalry, scenic urbanism, the relation between art and poetry, the use of classical and “bizarre” vocabulary, the concept of the pastoral, the representation of ecstasy, and the idealization of death will be some of the themes explored in this course. Each art work, building, or urban plan will be studied as a document to understand broader concepts related to politics, religion, music, science, theater, and philosophy.

Courses are hosted at the Accent Rome Study Center and taught by faculty from local universities who are long-term residents of Rome and experts in their field. Classes are relatively small and are generally held Monday through Thursday. 

All courses are taught in English at the upper-division level. Courses in all locations are complemented by site visits at various organizations, museums, media production centers and more. 

 Key program themes that may be of interest to students are: 

 Contemporary Italian media landscape 

  • Marketing and advertising approaches 
  • Ancient Roman sociology 
  • Italian Baroque art 

Program At A Glance

    Program Price: $11,750

  • 12 - 15 Course credits
  • Double room in shared student apartment with other UPITT students, double room in student residence with UC and UPITT students, or single room in a homestay (includes half-board meal, dinner Monday – Thursday and breakfast daily)
  • Pre-departure and overseas orientation program,
  • Overseas Accent on-site staff support in each city
  • Rome transit pass
  • Walking tour of the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Palatine
  • Opera performance
  • 24-hour emergency and counseling support
  • Transferable college credit through University of Pittsburg

    Unique Study Opportunities

  • Small class sizes, close relationships with faculty who accompany frequent visits and tours outside classroom
  • Learn the theories, techniques and concept of Italian PR practice
  • Learn about the characteristics of the contemporary Italian media landscape in the light of some specific cultural traits of the country
  • Analyze important monuments, cemeteries and war memorials in the city to better understand how memory and myth are key to constructing and communicating an idea of Modern Italy

Students on the fall Rome program have the option to live in a student residence, student apartment or in a homestay with an Italian family.

The rooms in the student residence and apartments are double-occupancy with a shared living space, bathroom and kitchen.

Homestays offer students the opportunity to not only help with language learning but also provide local support as you get acquainted with life in a new city. Homestay accommodations are single bedroom in homestay and include breakfast daily and dinner Monday-Thursday.

All the apartments are equipped with:

  • Washer
  • Wi-Fi
  • Fully-equipped kitchen or Kitchenette
  • Bathroom and Bedroom Linens
  • Heating
  • Microwave and/or oven

Classes will be held at the Accent Rome Study Center located in the heart of Rome’s historic center in Palazzo Bennicelli, originally conceived in the 17th century as headquarters of the Vatican’s Bank of the Holy Spirit. The study center sits between Piazza Navona and the Vatican, just steps away from Rome’s most famous monuments.

  • Application due: with first payment
  • Second payment due: May 31
  • Final payment due: June 30
  • Departure from U.S.: August 28
  • Arrival in Rome: August 29
  • Overseas orientation: August 30
  • Classes begin: August 31
  • Fall break: TBD
  • Return to U.S.: December 16

All participants must check in at the designated arrival point on August 29, 2022 between 9am and 6pm (Note: most transatlantic flights arrive one day after their departure date). Airfare is not included in the program fee. All participants will receive a transit pass.

The Rome Communications Program is open to students who are at least 18 years of age at the time of application, have at least a 2.5 GPA and have sophomore, junior or senior standing. There are no prerequisite courses, and no minimum language requirements.

Program space is limited. Students should complete the online application with the $500 non-refundable first payment as soon as possible. Upon receipt of your application and first payment, Accent will provide you with additional application and enrollment forms. Applications must be received by June 1, 2022. Beyond June 1, limited enrollment is allowed when space permits.

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Optional $400 supplement for single room in shared student apartment
  • Optional $550 supplement for double room in student residence
  • Optional $1050 supplement for single room in student residence
  • Optional $1325 supplement for single room in a homestay, includes breakfast daily and dinner M-Th
  • University of Pittsburgh fees
  • Personal expenses, passports, visas, books, and anything not listed as included
  • Meals, other than described
  • Travel and Personal property insurance

The health and wellbeing of all students, faculty and staff are paramount to Accent Global Learning. Accent has worked with a Medical Advisor following WHO and local health authority guideline to put protocols in place. Students will learn about Covid-19 related protocols, health resources and local regulations through pre-departure materials and in on-site orientations.

All participants are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Many European sites, restaurants, museums and other venues require proof of vaccination in order to enter.

Should a participant test positive for Covid-19, they will be required to self-isolate at their own expense.

Payment Schedule

Non-refundable first payment – $500
Second payment due May 31, 2022 – $5,625

Final payment due June 30, 2022 – $5,625

The payment schedule is the applicant’s contractual obligation. Failure to make each payment when due shall automatically cancel participant from the program one week after payment due date. All payments are effective the day they are received by the Accent U.S. Office. Accent, in its sole discretion, may reinstate an applicant subject to availability of space and late enrollment fees. Accent charges a $30 bounced check fee for each check received that is not promptly paid by your bank in the normal course of business. The program participant shall be the client of Accent for all purposes. The program price is based on 15 participants, the price may change depending on final enrollment.


Cancellation Fees:
70 days or more prior to start of program: $500
45 – 69 days prior to start of program: $3525
15 – 44 days prior to start of program: $5625
0 – 14 days prior to start of program: no refund
All cancellations must be made in writing to Accent and the University of Pittsburgh and are effective the date of receipt by Accent. Participants are liable for payments until written cancellation is received by Accent.

Ready to spend a semester in Rome?

Program Application

Accent Global Learning is not responsible for airline delays of any kind, or for expenses or loss incurred as a result of such delays. With regard to transportation/travel, regardless of the type of vehicle, Accent acts for the passenger as agent only. Accent assumes no liability for accident, injury, damage, or loss in any vehicle, or as a result of default by any person or company engaged in transporting the passenger. CST #1013432-40.