Università degli Studi de Siena (University of Siena), Italy

The University of Siena is located in the heart of Tuscany and is one of the oldest universities in Italy.

Please note this exchange is currently pending renewal of the exchange agreement.

University of Siena website

Who can go?

Postgraduate research students in the School of History.

There is currently a limit of one postgraduate research student per academic year for a period of three to six months. Available places may vary from year to year depending on the exchange balance.

The language of instruction is Italian and students should have a basic level of Italian. Supervision may be in either English or Italian (or both), this is established before a student is accepted.

How to apply

Students must check that there is an academic at Siena who can act as the host supervisor.

Interested PhD students should submit the following documents to the School of History study abroad coordinator:

  • cover letter
  • CV
  • description of the proposed research (500 words maximum)
  • supporting letter.

In the event of more applications than spaces for the same exchange, the School of History postgraduate committee will decide which application to prioritise.

Once accepted by the School of History, you will have to:

  • complete an online application form for the University of Siena
  • complete (in consultation with your supervisor at St Andrews) a "Postgraduate Learning Agreement". This will need to be approved before you leave St Andrews to study abroad.

Current students can contact study abroad coordinators to find out more. 

Your studies

The University of Siena provides a welcome week in the final week of September which provides international students with useful information about university and academic life. It is also an opportunity to get to know the main University facilities and meet other students from different nationalities.

Passports and visas

EU citizens can stay in Italy up to three months without any formality, provided they have a valid passport. After three months, the student must register themselves as a resident of Siena. In order to do this, the student must present a document that confirms their enrolment at the University of Siena.

You should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK. You should scan your passport and keep a copy for your records.

If you are a European Union national, you will not require a visa and may enter the European Union countries with your passport or national identity card. Please note that you may have to comply with legal obligations, such as registering your address with the local authorities.

If you are an international student who has a visa to study in the UK, and you have any questions about the implications of studying or working abroad whilst matriculated at St Andrews, you should consult Student Services by emailing advint@st-andrews.ac.uk. You can also check the passports and visas page for further information.

About the University

Siena is located in the heart of Tuscany. Built on three steep hills and encircled by ancient walls, the medieval city of Siena welcomes visitors with a Latin motto at the Porta Camollia entrance to the centre "Cor Magis Tibi Saena Pandit" (Siena opens its heart to you wider than this gate).

Building upon a history dating back to 1240, Siena is one of Italy’s leading universities for research, teaching and facilities. Students make up a sizable and diverse part of the local population, numbering over 16,000 undergraduates and over 6,000 postgraduates.

The University of Siena has a number of doctoral research schools that modern and medieval history students may be interested in, such as the Cultural Heritage and Medieval History School and the Historical Studies in the Contemporary Age School. Students will have access to the facilities of the University of Siena and neighbouring libraries and institutions.

There are many cultural and recreational activities students can get involved with. Students are encouraged by the University to participate in theatrical and musical events by offering contributions, reduced rates, partial reimbursements of cinema season tickets or passes and organises other cultural initiatives such as guided tours of museums and the area.


As an exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, and will only be liable for your normal St Andrews tuition fees.

Research Council students should make sure that they have their funding body’s permission to study abroad, notifying them particularly for any mobility grants that they may be receiving.

The University of Siena provides information about the estimated costs of living in Siena. You will be responsible for meeting any additional costs accruing from accommodation, food, travel, etc.


Around 100 places at the University of Siena’s residences are reserved for international students. Almost all of these rooms have double-sized beds. Students should apply using Seina’s accommodation form.

The University of Siena’s Public Relations Office can provide students with a list of available private accommodation including apartments, shared flats and shared rooms.

Find out more about how to apply, and other accommodation options at the University of Siena.

Travel and transport

The nearest airports are Florence Airport and Pisa International Airport. Siena can be reached from both airports by train via a change at Empoli. The travel time for this journey is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes.

The railway station is 2km from Siena’s town centre and can be easily reached via a five-minute bus ride (buses leave regularly from Piazza del Sale) or a 30-minute walk.

There are bus connections with several northern and southern cities; the most frequent are for Florence, Rome and Bologna.

Siena town centre is predominantly pedestrianised, though public transport is available via the TRA.IN bus company.

Find out more about getting to and travelling around Siena.

Student support

The University of Siena offers a Buddy System, a programme promoted by the University of Siena in collaboration with Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Siena, through which incoming exchange students are matched with students of the University of Siena.

The main purpose of this programme is to assist exchange students with practical information on living and studying in Siena and to facilitate their integration in the Italian academic life and the student community.

International students are welcomed with a series of meetings to acclimatise them to Italian culture and the language. These sessions are free and take place at the beginning of the first semester. They focus on basic communication in Italian and provide practical information on living in the city of Siena.

The University of Siena also offers Italian language courses for exchange students who require further tuition in Italian language.  

The University of Siena’s Office of Disabled Student Services provides a range of support for students with disabilities.


Global Office
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Westburn Lane
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2245
Email: studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk