Data and Computer Sciences and Italian in Pavia, Italy

Tufts Global Education, in cooperation with the School of Engineering and the Program of Italian Studies, has created a 5-week program in Pavia, Italy aimed to provide students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the wonderful culture of Italy while earning credits in Data or Computer Science. This program is designed for all students with an interest in Computer Science and an eagerness to learn about Italy, with its rich history and culture. No background in Italian language or Computer Science is needed. 

Pavia, Italy

Pavia, a charming city nestled in northern Italy, is situated just 30 kilometers south of Milan, easily accessible within 30 minutes by train. It is a treasure trove of art and culture, boasting several world-renowned churches and museums, such as the iconic Certosa of Pavia. With its roots tracing back to pre-Roman times, Pavia is celebrated for its rich history and fine cuisine, including the world-famous wines from the Oltrepò hills, mouthwatering cheeses, and the traditional risotto alla Certosina. 

This culturally vibrant town offers numerous opportunities for social interaction and entertainment, with four theaters and cinemas, twenty-two libraries, nineteen museums, and two cultural centers. Its location is the ideal hub for venturing around Italy and Europe. Pavia is just an hour and a half away by flight from cities like London and Paris, and a mere five-hour train ride from the breathtaking Sorrento and Amalfi coast in southern Italy. Sports enthusiasts will find a wide range of courses, championships, tournaments, and pools available throughout the summer through the University Sports Centre (CUS).  

Spires in Pavia, Italy


Students enroll in two courses—one course in either Computer or Data Science and one course in Italian language or culture—and earn 6 Tufts SHUs. All courses are taught by University of Pavia professors.  


This program is open to Tufts and non-Tufts undergraduates who are in good academic and disciplinary standing and who have a genuine interest in Data Science, Computer Science, and Italian culture. No prior Italian language nor Computer or Data Science classes required.  

Non-Tufts students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA.  

University of Pavia  

Founded in 1361, the University of Pavia (UNIPV) is one of the world’s oldest academic institutions. Much like the revered institutions of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, the University of Pavia is structured using a college system, dating back to the 16th century, and is nestled within an enchanting historic campus. 

UNIPV has achieved notable recognition in various QS rankings. It ranked within the top 550 institutions globally in the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16. UNIPV is particularly competitive in the fields of linguistics, civil and structural engineering, pharmacology, life sciences, and medicine, as highlighted by the QS World University Rankings by Subject in 2016. 

Comprised of 20 colleges, each with a unique history and distinct opportunities, UNIPV is an open community where academic achievement, traditions, celebrations, and sporting rivalries all have their place. 

Initially established with a focus on law, humanities, and medicine, the University of Pavia has evolved to offer a selection of 83 courses spanning various disciplines, including: Communications, Economics, Engineering and Architecture, Health Professions, Languages, Law, Literature, Mathematics, Medicine, Musicology, Natural Sciences, Pharmacology, Philosophy, Physics, Political Sciences, Psychology, and Sports Sciences.


Computer Science and Data Science Courses 

Students choose one of two Computer and Data Science courses offered by the University of Pavia. Both courses have been designed and approved by Tufts Engineering and Computer Science faculty.

    1. COMP 11 Introduction to Computer Science (30 hours): The course will provide students with a broad foundation in computer science. Topics include: 
      • Historical review of computer science. 
      • Binary and hexadecimal systems.
      • Integers and floating-point numbers representation, fundamentals of logic gates. 
      • Von Neumann architecture and its basic components, CPUs and memory hierarchy. 
      • Types of removable media. 
      • Introduction to operating systems.
      • Programming paradigms, basic programming concepts. 
      • Concept of algorithm, representation, correctness and performance of algorithms. 
      • Introduction to objects. 
      • Programming will be introduced with simple examples and exercises in Python.  

        Prerequisites: No previous CS experience required 
    2. COMP 52 Data Science and Data Analysis (30 hours): This course will examine the following topics: 
      • Storage for data analysis. 
      • Data representation, structured vs non-structured sources; data indexing (selectivity vs value distribution); access methods (on-premise and distributed data); logical models (flat tables; key value storage, etc.); scalability. 
      • Foundations of statistical data analysis and visualization. 
      • Univariate and multivariate random variables; boxplots, histograms, scatter plots; correlation; statistical estimation and confidence intervals; multiple linear regression; bias-variance tradeoff; nonlinear regression. 
      • Principles of machine learning: Supervised Learning by examples; logistic regression; representation, evaluation, optimization; Artificial Neural Networks; Clustering. 
      • Python for data science Lab: Introduction to Python. NumPy and Pandas by examples. Experiments in machine learning with scikit-learn. 

        Prerequisites: Some programming experience required, ES 2 or CS 10 or CS 11by the end of the spring 2024 semester 

Italian Language Courses

All students will be required to take one Italian language course. The Italian language program at Tufts, in cooperation with the University of Pavia, has designed the two options, Italian 001 and Italian 002, for students in this program.

Students with a level of Italian higher than Italian 002 will participate in either smaller classes or an independent study. Students who have completed their language requirement in Italian (Italian 22) will enroll in an Italian culture course. These special courses will be designed by the Italian language program at Tufts in cooperation with the University of Pavia. Like the other language courses, they will aim to advance the student’s language skills, develop their cross-cultural awareness and foster their intercultural competences. The availability of Italian sections will be confirmed upon program acceptance. 

    1. Italian 001: Development of basic language skills. Introduction to Italian culture and fundamental grammar structures with emphasis on speaking, listening comprehension, and short writing assignments. Conducted in Italian. 

      Prerequisites: None; however, enrollment in Italian 10 during the spring semester is encouraged.
    2. Italian 002: A continuation of Italian 001. Advances the study of basic grammar and vocabulary. Readings and films will provide the cultural context for class activities, oral presentations, and compositions. Conducted in Italian. Pre-requisites: Italian 001 or prior consent of the Italian Language Program Coordinator. 

      Prerequisites: Italian 001 or prior consent of the Italian Language Program Coordinator.

Student Life


Students will attend a mandatory pre-departure session in the spring semester preceding the summer program. The Program Leader and University of Pavia staff will provide an onsite orientation and welcome activities upon arrival in Pavia. 

Housing and Meals  

Students will live close to campus at the Palazzo Vistarino, a rare example of baroque art in the Lombardy region. This historical 18th-century building, once the residence of a local noble family, is adorned with breathtaking frescoes and golden decorations throughout its rooms. It features spaces dedicated to music, reading, and conversation, as well as a park, scenic views, and a private chapel. Now owned by the University of Pavia, it serves as a venue for conferences and provides guest accommodations for student groups and other visitors. 

Breakfast is included daily, and lunch is included Monday–Friday. Students are responsible for dinner and evening meals. 

Co-curricular Activities  

The program offers mandatory weekly field trips and cultural excursions to all the students. Weekly cultural activities are designed to engage students in the unique history of Pavia and Italy, broaden their knowledge of the territory and its uniqueness, while complementing the topics studied in the language classes.  

Planned 2023 activities included: 

  • Program Orientation and Walking Tour of Pavia. 
  • Guided Tour of Pavia (history, art, food, etc.) with final "Aperitivo." 
  • Contemporary Milan and its Architecture 
  • Visit of a local vinery and Oltrepo hills. Included transportation, tour guide, and a light lunch. 
  • Visit Turin and Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino  
  • Guided 3-day Trip to the National Park of Le Cinque Terre, in the Liguria region. Included transportation, some meals, activities that provided students multiple options to explore the National Park, and tour guide. 
  • Free Weekend for personal exploration within Italy 

Activities may be modified for summer 2024 and will be confirmed upon acceptance.  All planned activities are a required cultural component of the program and are included in the cost of attendance, with the exclusion of the Free Weekend. 

Mentor and Italian Peers  

Living with the students will be a local “Tutor” or mentor that will be assigned by the University of Pavia. They will provide helpful advice on how to adjust to Pavia and the program. They also will attend the field trips and activities that occur during the course of the program to assist students and facilitate the many aspects of their experience abroad. The University of Pavia will also provide “Italian peers” for Tufts students. The “Italian peers” will have the main role to facilitate Tufts students’ knowledge of the territory and to promote their cultural immersion. The Italian peers will organize fun cultural activities with Tufts students, will encourage them to practice their language skills, and will introduce them to different aspects and practices of the Italian social life. 

Program Staff

Students will be accompanied by a Tufts Faculty Leader throughout the entire duration of the program. The Faculty Leader will help students navigate the town, address all students’ concerns and issues, ensure the academic rigor of the program, and will act as liaison between Tufts administration and the University of Pavia while there.


Student Perspectives

I have always wanted to study abroad, but as a student in the school of engineering it was difficult to fit a study abroad program into my schedule. Tufts in Pavia was perfect for me because I was able to fulfill the CS11 requirement for my degree, as well as have the chance to study abroad.

Summer 2022 Participant

“It was perfect for engineers to learn a new language and really have an experience outside of a lab or classroom that can help develop them as humans.” –Summer 2022 Participant  

“Beyond the classroom, my time in Pavia taught me invaluable life skills. From navigating unfamiliar streets to communicating in a foreign language, I became more adaptable and resourceful. I learned to appreciate the beauty of spontaneity and the joy of connecting with people from diverse backgrounds.” –Summer 2023 Participant  

“Tufts in Pavia is an amazing experience. It allows you to immerse yourself in Italian culture while exploring the beauties of small-town Italy. If you get the opportunity, reach out to some of the local students, everyone is super welcoming and you will have a phenomenal time.” –Summer 2023 Participant 

3 students stand on porch looking out at scenic view, pavia, italy

Dates and Fees

Program Dates: May 25 – June 29, 2024 

Tuition & Fees: $9,975 

What’s included:  

  • Full tuition and fees  
  • Single room accommodations with the possibility of a shared bathroom with one other student 
  • Breakfast every day and lunch Monday – Friday 
  • Transportation to and from the airport 

What’s not included:  

  • Airfare and other travel costs (visas, etc.)
  • Dinner Monday–Friday and weekend meals  
  • Local gym pass or University of Pavia pool pass  

Financial Aid 

Global Education Scholarships for Summer 2024 are reserved for Tufts University students who have applied by the December 1 priority deadline. All students are encouraged to meet with their financial aid counselor to explore access to any additional funding sources. 

Tufts University students who are registering for a Short-Term Abroad Program are eligible to apply for a Global Education Scholarship. There are a limited number of scholarships available and are awarded based upon financial need.  Priority will be given to students with a family contribution under $7,000. Scholarships are available only to current Tufts University students (international students may apply but must contact  

To be considered, students must upload a Global Education Scholarship Application to the Global Education portal and meet with Aliki. Recipients will be notified of scholarship awards before the program deposit deadlines. 

Federal aid may also be available to students attending a summer program. Eligibility will be determined by the Financial Aid Office based on the student’s 2023-24 financial aid application and award. Federal aid may include Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized) and/or Pell grants. 

For additional questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office. 

Additional Resources