Harvard Summer Program in Trento, Italy

June 9, 2018 to August 4, 2018
Apply by: 
January 25, 2018

The Trento program was a perfect blend of science, sightseeing, and adventure. From the winding canals of Venice to the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps, the variety of locations we experienced was absolutely breathtaking.”

Study the mind and brain through lectures, field trips, and demonstrations at the University of Trento’s Center for Mind/Brain Sciences. 

In this program, you delve into the field of neuroscience through lectures, hands-on laboratory sessions, and experimental research. Courses are taught in English, exposing you to several different methodologies for analyzing the mind, brain, and behavior. In addition to coursework and research, you take advantage of your surroundings with field trips and excursions throughout Italy.

Program Structure

The University of Trento's Center for Mind/Brain Sciences provides this unique opportunity for you to study neuroscience and cognitive science, as well as explore Italy. Courses generally run Monday through Thursday, with Fridays dedicated to program outings.

The program's multifaceted offerings are designed to give you a broad understanding of the mind and brain. You learn about cognitive neuroscience research by participating in experiments, as well as attending talks and presentations at the research center. 

Interesting classes with fantastic professors in the mornings, delicious gelato in the evenings, and a different Italian city every weekend. What more can you ask for? The professors succeeded in sharing their passion and excitement for neuroscience and psychology. I can't praise the program enough for creating an environment conducive to both learning and community. I will cherish my Trento memories forever.” 


The program is designed to give you a broad understanding of the mind and brain. In the first half of the program, you take MBB S-101; during the second half, you take MBB S-93. The two courses together meet the General Education requirement for Science of Living Systems.

In general, tracks in MBB will give one course (4 credits) for completion of the program. Please consult with concentration advisor to confirm. Note: MBB S-101 does not substitute for either MBB foundational course (SLS 20 or MCB 80).

MBB S-93 Study Abroad in Trento, Italy: Neuroeconomics (34147)

Giorgio Coricelli
4 credits
UN Limited enrollment.

Economists have produced remarkable theories describing how people make decisions, but, until recently, their approach treated the human brain as a "black box." The introduction of neuroscience tools (brain imaging, neuropsychological studies, single-cell recording) and the discovery of evidence about the importance of emotional and social states in economic decision making are revealing new perspectives in the field of behavioral economics. This new discipline combines economics, psychology, and neuroscience in order to study decision making in individual and social contexts. Students learn about economic decision-making principles (for example, choice under risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choices, bargaining, cooperation, and competition); lectures and laboratory sessions cover contemporary theories of behavioral economics as well as the application of methods from neuroscience (for example, single-cell recording, fMRI, TMS) to the study of decision making.

MBB S-101 Study Abroad in Trento, Italy: Windows into the Structure of the Mind and Brain (33300)

Alfonso Caramazza
John A. Assad
4 credits
UN Limited enrollment.

The mind/brain can be studied at multiple levels of description and with various methodologies. The course reviews methods from psycholinguistics perception and language processing to neuroimaging, and from computational modeling to cellular and clinical neuroscience. Each method is illustrated through laboratory demonstrations. This course is mandatory for all program participants, and it is meant to provide the neuroscience and cognitive science foundation necessary to explore specific topics in the field.

Prerequisite: none.

Where You Live and Study

Program outings and trips are designed to immerse you in Italian culture and tradition. You participate in hikes in the Italian Alps, a weekend getaway on Lake Garda (Italy’s largest lake), and day and overnight trips to nearby cities such as Verona and Florence.

On free weekends, you can organize additional trips to nearby lakes (Lake Caldonazzo, Lake Levico, or Lake Garda) or to explore other popular destinations in Italy (in the past students visited Milan, Rome, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre).

Coming to Italy for this program was the best decision I made this summer! Pasta, history, and neuroscience made every moment unforgettable.”


You receive on-campus housing at the University of Trento, where you have the opportunity to interact with Italian students. There is access to lounge areas and kitchens in the individual entryways. Laundry facilities are also available on site.

How to Apply

Review How to Apply before submitting your application.

Application materials include: 

  1. A personal statement of interest in the program
    • ​Include information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
  2. Letter(s) of recommendation from a current or recent teacher or advisor
    • Harvard College applicants: Submit one recommendation.
    • Non-Harvard applicants: Submit two letters of recommendation so program staff can learn about your academic background and preparation for this program.
  3. Transcripts
    • Harvard College applicants: You may submit an unofficial transcript accessed from my.harvard.edu.
    • Non-Harvard applicants: Submit an official transcript from your university.
  4. A $50 nonrefundable application fee

Note: Interviews may be requested.

Applications are now closed.


The program fee includes tuition, accommodation, scheduled excursions and activities, and some meals.  

See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options. 

Student budget

Student budget

In addition to the program fee, you will need to budget for a number of personal expenses: 

  • International airfare ($1,300 to $1,600)
  • Local transportation ($500)
  • Meals during personal travel and some during organized weekend excursions ($600)
  • Personal expenditures, laundry, communications, and miscellaneous ($300)

Please note: The amounts are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not listed here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including your personal spending habits and currency exchange rates. If you have specific questions about budgeting, please contact the program directly.

Additional Information

Program director

Alfonso Caramazza


  • Giorgio Coricelli, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics and Psychology, University of Southern California
  • John A. Assad, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
  • Alfonso Caramazza, PhD, Daniel and Amy Starch Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and Visiting Research Professor, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento