Foundation Year

The Ca’ Foscari Foundation Year is a propedeutic year-long programme designed to prepare international students for undergraduate studies at an Italian university. Students take courses on Italian and European history, Academic English and Italian language, along with a Study Track that aims to provide a basic introduction to the main disciplines available at Ca' Foscari for future study. 

Applications for the 2024/25 Academic Year are closed.

Tel. +39 041 234 7343

Our Programme

The Ca' Foscari Foundation Year is a full-time year long programme that offers students the following three components:

Taught in English, the general curriculum provides preparation for University studies in Italy. All students take the following subjects: Modern and contemporary Italian and European history, Critical thinking and Academic skills for university preparation.

Each student chooses a Study Track - a group of courses that provide an elementary background in the subjects they are interested in pursuing during their undergraduate studies - taught in either English (ENG) or Italian (ITA):

  • Economics and Management (in ENG)
  • Humanities and Arts (ENG)
  • Humanities and Arts (ITA)
  • Science and IT (ENG)

Economics & Management

Students enrolled in this track will dedicate a substantial part of their study to Mathematics, providing them with the necessary basis for enrolling in any undergraduate Economics programme. They will also learn the fundamentals of Data Analysis and Financial Literacy, and will cover basic notions in Law, Business Administration and Management.

Humanities and Arts

The courses in this track are offered in both Italian and English. Students will be provided with an introduction to the history and culture of the classical period of Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as an overview of Italian literature, tracing early works from the 14th century up until recent times. This track also gives insight into the principal concepts in western philosophical thought and Italian art history, with a special focus on Venice's immense cultural heritage.

Students enrolling in the Study Track in Humanities and Arts in Italian will be required to provide B1 language certification, or to enrol in the Bridge B2 language option.

Computer Science and IT

This track is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in Mathematics, as well as the fundamental notions in Physics, Biology and Chemistry necessary for all undergraduate Science programmes. Students will also take an introduction to Computer Science that aims to introduce the concept of computational thinking so as to acquire fundamental skills for future studies in technology and programming.

Students can focus on either Italian or English language, depending on the degree programme they are planning on enrolling in following Foundation Year. Each language module offers 300 hours of language instruction, including tutorials.

Bridge B2 Italian language requirement

In order to enrol in the Bridge B2 language option, students need to have a prior knowledge of Italian at approximately the A1 level. Students who do not provide A1 Italian language certification by the deadline (see "Applications" and "Required documents") are required to register for our *online beginner Italian course offered free* to Foundation Year students specifically in preparation for the Bridge B2 language module. This course will be offered over the summer, before the programme starts.


Focus on English with classes at B2 and C1 levels, alongside an elementary Italian language course aimed at supporting the student’s life in the city and at the university. 

Choose this option if you are not a native speaker of English, or want to do your undergraduate studies in English.

Bridge Options

Intensive Italian language classes aimed at preparing students for studying in Italian:

  1. Bridge B1: from beginner A1 to pre-intermediate B1 (no prior knowledge required)
  2. Bridge B2: from elementary A2 to intermediate B2 (A1 entry level required)

Choose these options if you want to do your undergraduate studies in Italian, or if you are a native speaker of English and want to learn Italian.

Native Speaker

Advanced Italian and English: academic Italian with extra disciplinary courses in English.

Choose this option if your level of both Italian and English is above B2 / native speaker.

Programme completion

Attendance is mandatory. All students take all three components and are required to pass all courses in order to receive the final diploma. For further course information please see our complete course guide.

Why take a Foundation Year?

Our Foundation Year is principally designed for students who have completed high school but who do not have the 12 years of schooling, and/or the formal entry qualification, required for entry to an Italian university (for example: students who studied in the American school system who do not have three Advanced Placement, students who studied within the British school system who do not have three A-levels, students who have a vocational qualification, and others).

For further information on Italian University entry requirements for the country in which you completed your studies, see this webpage.

Eligibility for Foundation Year

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

  1. English B2: students must hold a certified B2 level of English (according to the CEFR)
  2. 11 years of schooling: students must have finished their 11th year of education, OR are be currently enrolled at high school in their 11th year
  3. High school diploma: students must hold the full and complete high school diploma, school leaving certificate, or equivalent, issued at the end of the high school programme the student is enrolled in. Students who are currently enrolled can apply with provisional grades, and in this case enrolment in the Foundation Year is conditional on the student receiving the final High School Diploma.

Students are not eligible for enrolment if they have received a partial high school education within the school system they are/were enrolled in, for example (but not limited to):

  • If they have have only passed individual IB courses (students must receive an IB diploma or Bilingual diploma)
  • If they have only completed O-levels/GCSE/IGCSE (the GCE is required)
  • If they have only completed 11 years of school in a system that offers 12 or 13 years in total

Please note that the high school must also be legally accredited to teach the programme the student is enrolled in. If our evaluation committee is unable to verify the school's accreditation, students will be required to provide a certificate of comparability from CIMEA.

Underage students (minors)

Students who have not yet reached 18 years old at the time of their application can apply for the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year provided they will turn 18 by March 31st of the year of programme completion. For the 2024/2025 programme this means students must be born no later than 31st March, 2007.

Underage students who are admitted to the programme are required to send us extra documents:

  • Consent form for admission signed by both parents
  • Official nomination of a legal guardian residing in Italy for the duration of the Foundation Year programme until they reach legal age
  • Both parents' ID
  • Legal guardian's ID
  • Delegation form for requesting an Italian taxpayer's code (codice fiscale)

Required documents

All applicants must provide the following mandatory documents for their application to be valid:

  1. Valid ID (for EU and Italian applicants only) or passport
  2. Valid Residency Permit (for non-EU applicants residing in Italy)
  3. Letter of motivation with your original and personal reasons for studying our Foundation Year
  4. Final high school diploma OR certificate of enrolment (see below)
  5. Transcript of records for the final year OR partial grade transcript (see below)

Students who have already completed high school in 2022 or earlier must mandatorily provide their final high school leaving qualification and transcript of records in order to be admitted for evaluation.

Students who are currently enrolled in their final year of high school, or students who have recently completed high school but have not yet received their final leaving qualification, can provide a certificate of enrolment and a partial grade transcript for the final year. In this case the final diploma and final transcript of records must be integrated to the student's application by August 20th.

All applicants

Applicants must also provide the following by July 31st:

  • Certification of a B2 level (or higher) of the English language (see the following webpage for recognised certifications), or proof of having studied at least one full year of high school in English
  • ONLY if enrolling in the Bridge B2 language module: certification of an A1 level of the Italian language (see the following webpage for recognised certifications) OR registration in our online beginner Italian course
  • Documents required for underage students (see above)
  • ONLY if enrolling in the Study Track in Humanities taught in Italian: certification of a B1 Italian language level, or enrolment in the Bridge B2 language module

NB: All documents must be original / traceable, that is, signed and stamped by the issuing authorities, and must be translated into English or Italian if necessary.

Applications for the Foundation Year are organised in three intakes:

  • January intake

    • Application period: January 18 - February 5th
    • Applicants can expect a decision by: early-mid March

  • February intake

    • Application period: February 8th - 26th
    • Applicants can expect a decision by: mid April

  • March intake

    • Application period: March 7th - April 2nd
    • Applicants can expect a decision by: end May

Applicants will be evaluated on their motivation to study our programme, and on their eligibility in terms of the requirements outlined.

Application process

You application will be submitted entirely online through our online application portal.

Students must first create an account, and can then start to fill out the application for the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year. For assistance, please read the Handbook above.

Once we have evaluated and approved your documents, you will receive an email to let you know your application has be sent to the Admissions Committee for acceptance into the programme. Your application status at this stage will be "Ready for Admission Committee". If there are mandatory documents missing from your application, you will be notified and will have 7 days to send them to us.

If the Admissions Committee approves your application you will be sent a letter of eligibility with which you can request a visa, along with confirmation of admission or of conditional admission (if there are outstanding documents required for enrolment). If your application is not approved, you will receive a letter of rejection explaining why your application has failed.

Please note that we aim to reply to your application within a month; please do not send emails requesting early admission approval - we will reply to all applications in the order in which we receive them.

To accept your place within the program you must pay the first fee installment of €300 within 10 days after you have been accepted or conditionally accepted onto the programme.

  • The payment must be made online. Once you have been accepted (or conditionally accepted), you will see that your application will have a new task to resolve (Application Fee Payment FY), and you will receive an email with all the relevant information on how to pay.

IMPORTANT: Once you have carried out your payment, you will have to click a second time on the payment link to finalise the process; the status will then change to "PAID" and the task will be resolved.

Please note that the first fee instalment is non-refundable under any circumstances. Students will be sent our Terms & Conditions of enrolment once they have been accepted or conditionally accepted.

Following the payment period for the first fee instalment for all candidates (approximately in June), our office will send confirmed students information on how to reserve accommodation at the student residence, and how to apply for a fee reduction.

We will also notify you if your chosen Study Track or language module has not been activated and you will have the chance to transfer into another option. The approximate period for this will be the end of July.

Students who receive conditional admission are required to send us their outstanding documents as follows:

  • language certifications: July 31st

    • All students: B2 English language certifications
    • Bridge B2 students: A1 Italian language certification, or registration for our free online course
    • Students taking the Track in Humanities in italian: B1 Italian language certification, or enrolment in the Bridge B2 language module

  • documents for underage students: July 31st
  • final diploma and transcript of records: August 20th

All NON-EU students are required to request a Visa through the procedure on Universitaly by July 31st.

We aim to approve (or reject) your Visa application within 2 weeks.

Students who fail to integrate their documents, or request a Visa, by the deadlines above will be withdrawn from the programme.

The final step for enrolment, and for being able to start the programme, is through payment of the second fee instalment €1700. You will receive a link so you can pay online.

Students who do not make the payment on time will be withdrawn from the programme. The second fee instalment is only refundable if a student receives a visa denial.

Following payment, students will receive an updated status within their online application along with a confirmation of acceptance letter.

Final enrolment in the programme will take place in September.

Tuition costs


Total tuition is €5,000 to be paid in three instalments: (1) € 300 10 days after receiving the admission decision; (2) €1,700 before the programme starts; (3) €3,000 in late 2024.

Tuition includes all teaching activities and tutorials, and all University administrative and support  services. Extra curricular activities, transport, accommodation and living expenses, if any, must be covered by the student.

Fee reductions 

Every year, a limited number of fee reductions of €2.000 per student are available for the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year. The fee reductions are assigned on the basis of merit and motivation, and are applied to the third fee instalment.

Withdrawal policy

The first fee instalment is non-refundable. Students withdrawing from the programme following payment of the second fee instalment will receive a refund if they have been denied a visa (documentation is required).

Students who are unable to meet the payment deadlines will be promptly withdrawn from the program without reimbursement, unless specific arrangements have been made in advance, and in exceptional circumstances only.

All admitted students will receive our Terms & Conditions by email along with their letter of eligibility.

Course list

Please note that detailed course syllabi are updated throughout the year, and that the links below may contain information from previous years.

General Curriculum

Study Tracks

Economics & Management

Humanities & Arts

Science & IT

Language Modules

International Option

Bridge B1 Intensive 

Native Speaker Option

Students in this option take academic writing in Italian and an optional B2+C1 Italian language course, along with two extra disciplinary courses taught in English. They are also required to write a short thesis aimed at demonstrating advanced academic skills in either Italian or English.

Arriving on Campus

Programme dates

  • Orientation: Monday October 2nd - Friday October 6th, 2023
  • Lessons start: Monday October 9th, 2023
  • Winter break: December 23rd, 2023 - January 7th, 2024
  • Spring break: March 23rd - April 1st, 2024
  • Lessons/exams end: Friday June 21st, 2024

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.


Visa requirements

In order to complete enrolment in the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year, students from non-EU countries must have a valid study visa, even if they are to follow some of the programme online. Your visa needs to be requested once you have been accepted and have received your letter of eligibility, by pre-enrolling through the Universitaly portal.

If you pay the first instalment on time (and the task is resolved within your application) the School be able to will confirm that you are enrolled in the programme, and you will then be able to proceed with your visa application.


We have a limited number of places at the Santa Marta Residence reserved for Foundation Year students and will send information on how to request one of the places to you as soon as the application process is over, around late June/early July.

Accommodation in Venice can seem limited, and hard to find, but if you are well-prepared and and get organised early, there are a lot of options available. If you wish to receive information on all accommodation options our Housing Office can assist you for a small fee: find out more on their webpage.

Residence permit (Permesso di soggiorno)

All non-EU students staying in Italy for longer than 90 days are required to apply for a Residence permit. You will need to prepare your documents and apply at the Post Office as soon as you arrive. You will then be given an appointment at the Questura (Police station). For further information see the website, or contact


Living expenses

Your weekly grocery shop will be around 40-50 euros, but if you wish to eat out, that will cost around 10 to 30 euros per meal.

In terms of transportation, getting around Venice is always best if you go on foot, but you can take the vaporetto (public transport by boat) for €9,50 (for a 75 minute trip). Alternatively, you can register for the transport pass "Venezia Unica card" for all public transport (bus, tram, vaporetto) which normally costs €100, but with special discounts applying to students under the age of 26, you can buy it for €20. More information is available here.

Accommodation can be expensive in Venice, so we strongly advise you to come prepared with a budget that allows you to cover your rent for the entire programme.

Working while studying

Seeing as the Foundation Year programme is not a university level programme, there are no specific funds to support Foundation students, as they are not yet enrolled in a degree programme. While we understand some students may choose to work during the programme, we do not encourage it because lessons can be planned at any point during the day, from 8:30 AM to 7 PM, and the workload for this programme is intensive.

We therefore strongly recommend students to come to Venice with the necessary funds for covering all expenses once they arrive.

Enrolment at Ca' Foscari following Foundation Year

Students who successfully complete the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year will be eligible for enrolment in any of the many undergraduate programmes 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. Foundation Year students will be guided through the enrolment process during the months of December to March for enrolment in the following year.

Foundation Year students can apply to Ca' Foscari during any of the admission rounds: from December through to September for open-admission programmes, and until June for limited admission degree programmes (for which an admission test is required). However, it is strongly suggested you apply early in case there are issues with your documents, pre-requisites or qualifications.

For the purposes of enrolment in a degree programme, former Ca' Foscari Foundation Year students are equivalent to EU citizens / Italian residents. This means that they should follow the procedures outlined here.

Eligibility for enrolment at other Italian Universities 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.

Language requirements

  • Undergraduate studies in Italian: students are required to have a minimum B2 language level in Italian. However, students who take the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year can access undergraduate degree programmes in Italian language without B2 language certification as long as they pass an official B2 Italian language certification during their first year of undergraduate studies. Please note:

    • Students who completed the Bridge Options do not need to provide official B1 Italian language certification wen they enrol
    • Students who completed the International Option must provide an official B1 Italian language certification when they enrol

  • Undergraduate studies in English: students are not required to have a minimum language level in Italian if they choose to study in English, but must have a B2 level of the English language.

    • Students who take a Study Track in the English language are not required to produce B2 language certification of their English language level

"Dichiarazione di valore"

Students who have completed their Foundation Year still need to provide a Declaration of Value or a Cimea Statement of Comparability when applying for a Bachelor's degree if they belong to certain categories. You can usually request a "Dichiarazione di valore" from the Embassy or the Consulate of Italy in your country.

You are not required to provide this document for admission to the Foundation Year, but we strongly recommend you start the process before you leave your home country for Foundation Year.

Financial aid for international students at Ca' Foscari

The three best performing students who successfully complete the Ca' Foscari Foundation Year and then enrol in a degree programme at Ca' Foscari will receive a scholarship of € 6,500 for tuition fees on the first year, which can also be renewed provided they complete 42 ECTS per year.

We look forward to having you with us!

For further information on enrolment at Ca' Foscari as an international student please visit the webpage or contact our International Welcome Unit

Last update: 12/07/2024