Academics: Rome, Italy Program

An opportunity like none other...

  • A semester or a summer program studying in the "Eternal City" Rome, Italy!
  • Tuition, room and board go with you to Rome (this includes scholarships and financial aid). Just add a small program fee for academic excursions, buy your plane ticket, and go!
  • A home to call your own in a quiet neighborhood, just a bus ride from Saint Peter's Square.
  • A program that integrates academics, faith, and community.

So what are you waiting for? Andiamo!


Benjamin Helget studied at the University of Mary’s Rome Campus. In this video, he shares about his experience studying in Rome, and also traveling through Europe during his time abroad.


Why Rome? 

Rome is one of the most incredible cities on earth, was once capital of the world, and stands at the center of the University of Mary's Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine tradition. Walk the streets that martyrs trod, see the ruins of the palace of the emperors, gaze upon the works of Michelangelo and Caravaggio, and visit the places where Saint Benedict himself actually lived!

At Mary we aim to educate students to be leaders in service of truth, and students can powerfully come to know and understand the truth about the world and themselves through a living encounter with history and faith at the very heart of Christianity. Truly, students who study in Rome have a first-hand encounter with everything that makes the University of Mary "joyfully Christian, faithfully Catholic, and gratefully Benedictine."

Oh, and did we mention that while you're there you'll become a seasoned world-traveler? Making the most of your experience abroad, you'll come to know the Eternal City like the back of your hand, you'll master the art of riding trains, buses, and subways everywhere in Europe, and you'll make friends from countries all over the globe.

So what you waiting for? It's time to sign up for a semester or a month in Rome - let's go! Or as the Italians would say... andiamo!

Studying abroad in Rome was the most formative experience I have ever been a part of! Rome provided an atmosphere which allowed my greatest dreams to arise, my studies to become real, and for my passions to flourish! Rome forever becomes a part of your heart."
My experience in Rome and in Europe has opened my eyes to how big the world is. There is so much history and Rome is a never ending adventure. It is crazy to think you are amongst some of the holiest sites in the world.”
Sydney Weber, Exercise Science student


The mission and vision of this program

Italian ice cream (gelato) is great, the weather over there is beautiful, and it's sure exciting to see the Pope, but what is it that really stands at the heart of this program? What drives it?

In continuity with our founding mission to prepare young people for leadership in the service of truth, our Rome campus seeks to offer students in every program and discipline a unique opportunity for academic growth and personal development. So whether you're studying a medical profession, education, business or biology, in Rome you will work toward fulfilling courses from the university's core curriculum in a dynamic international setting created especially for you.

In the classroom you'll be invited into an engaging liberal arts environment which pays particular attention to the way the lessons of history, the great achievements of human reason, and the light of Divine revelation allow us to see more clearly how we might respond to the pressing questions facing humanity today.

But the classroom is only the beginning. When in Rome the ideas and ideals introduced in class are brought to life outside of it in an encounter with the world of the Italian people and culture. It's this encounter, so different from any other experience, that offers the context for students to examine their own hearts and minds so that they might hear with greater clarity their own calling in life.


"Okay," you're saying, "Rome sounds cool, but I still don't get how this all works."

We'll break it down piece by piece. Here's what you need to know...

Where is the campus located?

The University of Mary's home in the Eternal City is a clean, comfortable guesthouse in the quiet Roman neighborhood of Monteverde Nuovo. Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, the campus integrates history with modern technology. All rooms have a private bathroom/shower and high-speed internet is available. Study areas, a library, outdoor recreation grounds, classroom space, and a chapel are on-site. The campus is a bus ride from the Vatican and the cobblestones of downtown Rome.

How long can I study abroad?

Students may choose between a semester or summer program.

Who gets to go?

Students are eligible to study in Italy after a semester at the university, and must be in attendance at least one semester immediately prior to participating.

Participation is a privilege, and approval by the University of Mary is required. Only students in good academic and behavioral standing are eligible to apply.

Students should have a lively interest in the liberal arts and the intellectual tradition of Western civilization. Preference is given to sophomores and students who have a declared major or minor in the Catholic Studies program. Space is limited and 25 students are accepted each semester.

What is the cost?

The cost of room, board, and tuition is the same as our Bismarck campus. All scholarships and financial aid apply to the cost of the program. Students are responsible for round-trip airfare, a program fee for academic excursions, and spending money for personal travel and meals on the weekends.

What happens when I'm there?

The program features specialized courses in the liberal arts from the core curriculum. They'll cover topics such as history, theology, art history, italian and philosophy. Classroom days are coupled with excursions into the center of Rome where students will have special access to the hidden excavations under St. Peter's Basilica, the treasures of the Vatican Museum, and even an audience with Pope Francis. But beyond the city of Rome, students will also venture out into the Italian countryside where they will encounter those places shaped more directly by the life of Saint Benedict himself. Truly, students who study have a first-hand encounter with everything that makes the University of Mary "joyfully Christian, faithfully Catholic, and gratefully Benedictine."

Will I be free to travel?

Classes are during the week, leaving many weekends free for travel. Student travel in Europe, if carefully planned, can be exciting and relatively inexpensive.

Are there special occasions to build community?

On Wednesdays, students gather together with the campus chaplains and seminarians from the North American College, for an experience that is the heart of the University of Mary Rome Campus, our weekly Community Night. Students come together first around the Lord's Table for a joyful celebration of the Mass, and afterwards, swap stories and reconnect with one another over a traditional Italian meal.

Why study abroad?

The University of Mary is committed to ever higher levels of intellectual and cultural engagement for its students and advocates for leadership development in a global environment. The goal is for students to have a rich experience of other cultures and ways of life. This is a unique opportunity for them to experience great beauty and wonder firsthand in the cradle of Christian faith and our Benedictine values. Students who take this opportunity seriously will return home with an entirely new vision for life and its purpose.

A day in the life of a University of Mary Rome Campus student: Making Rome your Hometown.

Wake up and get ready for a great day.

You walk downstairs to the breakfast room to enjoy a simple Italian breakfast of bread, jam, and a delicious cappuccino.

Classroom work

Today in class, you learn about the decay and fall of the late Roman Empire. You pay close attention, because tomorrow your class will visit the Roman Forum, where you will come face-to-face with what you have just encountered in the classroom.


The class moves to our private dining room to enjoy an authentic Italian meal: pasta alla norcina, roasted chicken and rosemary potatoes, and fresh fruit.

An afternoon trip with friends

With your snacks and backpacks in hand, you and some friends hop on the 8 Tram that runs from the Via del Casaletto into the city center. On the tram, you overhear a conversation between a mother and a little boy and you understand more Italian than you expected!

Taking in the sights and sounds

You and your friends are hunting down a famous painting, The Vocation of St. Matthew by Caravaggio, for your Art History course. With maps in hand, you walk your way from Largo Argentina to San Luigi dei Francesi where the painting can be found. On your way there, you take a drink at one of the many small fountains that run throughout the city of Rome, still working through the ingenuity of the ancient Roman aqueducts. After taking notes for your paper on the painting, you and your friends settle onto the steps of a church in a nearby piazza to do a bit of reading for class the next day.

Making new friends

On the walk back to the Tram, you and your friends run into a group of American students from another university. They tell you that last weekend they took the train to Milan and saw the Duomo and Da Vinci's The Last Supper and that you simply can't miss it. They give you information about which train they took, as well as the hostel where they spent the night while they were there.

Enjoying the evening

You hop on the tram and head back to the neighborhood of the Rome campus. Before returning home you notice a few of your classmates enjoying gelato at a local shop and join them. After a long day, you fall exhausted into bed, wondering what surprises the next day will hold!

Courses Available 

Fall and Spring Semester

  • 100-level Italian language and culture course (3 credits, liberal arts core elective)

  • ART 121 Art of Rome and Paris (3 credits, Art core)

  • CTH/PHI 210 Search for Happiness (3 credits, Ethics core)

  • THE/CTH 234 Benedict: Yesterday and Today (3 credits, Theology core or “THE 200-level or above” core elective)

  •  HIS/CLA 311 Grandeur of Rome (3 credits, liberal arts core elective) 

May Term

  • THE/CTH 234 – Benedict: yesterday and today (3 credits)