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John Cabot University

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University Overview

John Cabot University (JCU) was founded in 1972 with a mission to offer English speaking students undergraduate degree options.   Located in the heart of Rome, students will discover a vast metropolis for history, culture and the arts.  With a total enrollment of around 1,000 students, class sizes are small and intimate (typically 15 students), providing close interaction with peers and professors.  As a full university abroad, course offerings are widely available in Business and the Humanities. 

Beyond the study abroad opporunity, JCU offers both community service and internship options for students.  Placements can be competitive, but offer an enriching way to give back the community and expand your professional skill set.

City Overview


Rome gives the impression of being at once a spawling capital city and a very knowable, comfortable neighborhood.  Strolling the cobblestone streets is like a lesson in history as the architecture of the ancient Romans has stood the test of time, transporting visitors to the age of the gladiator, the Republic, or the seat of the Catholic Church in Vatican City.  Rome is a very modern city rooted in classical tradition with a majesty all its own.  English is widely spoken in the region, though less so in smaller, more remote parts of Italy.

JCU students will enjoy housing in the prestigious Trastevere district, home to some of the most beautiful piazzas and churches as well as some of the best dining and nightlife in the city.  Travel within the neighboring districts of Rome is relatively easy by foot, taxi or metro.

Program Highlights

  • Courses for many popular majors, especially in Business, the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Community service and internship opportunities
  • Study in English in the heart of Rome
  • Students from over 55 different countries

Academic Calendar

Fall Semester:  Late August to Mid-December

Spring Semester:  Early January to Early May

Please see the 2013-14 Academic Calendar for specific dates

Academic Focus  

  john cabot main entrance

  • Exchange students can enroll in any class, provided they meet the prerequisites, but selection preference will be given to students studying in their academic majors/minors
  • Lower-division classes are labeled 100-299, junior/senior level courses are 300-399, and advanced senior level classes are 400-499
  • Thirteen majors are on offer at JCU including Art History, Business Administration, Classical Studies, Communications, Economics and Finance, English Literature, History, Humanities, International Affairs, International Business, Italian Studies, Marketing, and Political Science.
  • Teaching will largely resemble the American style, with lectures, discussions, midterms, papers, and final exams.
  • All work transfers back to San Marcos and can be used to fulfill all graduation requirements.

Language of Instruction



  • Class Level:  Upper-division status (completion of 60 units)
  • GPA of 2.75 or above and good academic standing to departure
  • Prerequisites may apply.  Be sure to read the course description for details on course eligibility.
  • Special Note to Business Majors:  In order to receive credit for upper-division courses abroad, you must have already completed your Pre-Core course work at CSUSM.


15 semester units.  Typically this equates to 5 classes/semester.


There are a variety of housing options available at JCU, and each has its own fee structure.

Option A is the Gianicolo Residence, the most popular option offering an apartment style student residence in the heart of the Trastevere neighborhood.  All residents will be comprised of JCU students with apartments accommodating between 2-8 students.

Option B is the Viale Trastevere Apartments, offering students large apartments in a building also comprised of Italian neighbors.  Apartments have all the modern amenities and can accommodate up to 9 students.

Lastly, should the previous two options already be at capacity, JCU has a number of overflow apartments near the school, able to house between 4-6 students each. 

Please review additional information on JCU Housing options on the Housing and Residential Life page.  It is important to note that all housing must be pre-paid a few months prior to your arrival.  Be sure that you have adequate funding available for these expenses.

Housing Applications are due on June 1 for Fall study and October 15 for Spring study.

Estimated Expense

  • Students accepted for the exchange program pay their normal State University Fee to CSU San Marcos, currently $3,532/semester.  No tuition or fees due at John Cabot University.  Those offered space for the fee-based program
  • Campus-run residences:  On average, $1,000-$1,200/month for a shared apartment with full kitchen, common space, and shared bathrooms.
  • Health Insurance:  Proof of Travel Medical Insurance is required for all study abroad.  Rates through Wells Fargo Study Abroad Health Insurance are currently $47/month.
  • Cost of meals and personal expenses will vary, but average $500 per month.

Application Deadlines

For Fall Semester Study:  March 15

For Spring Semester Study:  October 1

We cannot accept yearlong students due to impaction issues at this partner.

How to Apply

  1. Visit the John Cabot University website at to learn about the university.  For life in and around Rome, visit a good tourism site such as
  2. Meet with the Study Abroad Advisor in Administrative 3200 to determine if you are eligible for this program.
  3. Obtain course descriptions from the Academics tab and view course schedules and syllabi to determine when courses will be on offer.  Choose a minimum of 8 courses so you have options should scheduling conflicts arise.
  4. Consult with a faculty advisor in your major/minor department to determine if JCU courses will count toward your major/minor.  If so, complete a Study Abroad Credit Approval Form.  Please note:  For GE classes, simply list those on your credit approval form.  This form MUST be submitted to Global Education before departure.
  5. Order an official transcript from CSUSM and any other college from which you have taken a semester or more in classes (even if you have already transferred credit to CSUSM) Please pick your paper transcripts up in person and deliver them to Administrative 3200.  Keep in mind that transcripts are now taking 7-10 business days to process.  Plan accordingly.
  6. Read about Housing options.  Fill out the online housing request form by the deadline indicated.  All housing is first come, first served and there is no guarantee that space will be available.  Apply early!!
  7. Complete the John Cabot University Online Application and submit a paper version of this along with your other application materials to Administrative 3200.  
  8. Submit a photcopy of your passport along with your medical disclosure form, personal conduct agreement, air travel release form, and later on, proof of travel medical insurance to the Study Abroad Advisor.
  9. Attend the pre-departure orientation and consult with the Study Abroad Advisor as necessary regarding the Student Visa process after JCU acceptance.