Course presentation

International Business and Development (IBD) is a second-cycle degree in economics and business (LM77- Management), taught and examined entirely in English, offered by the Department of Economics and Management. It is a two-year course and on successful completion graduates are awarded the “laurea magistrale” or second cycle degree certificate.

IBD is designed for candidates from different academic backgrounds and aims to provide a thorough grounding in international economics and global development. IBD students are encouraged to gain experience abroad during the two academic years and can take advantage of a large number of exchange opportunities (Erasmus+, double degrees, bilateral exchange agreements with non-EU countries, and international internships).

IBD teaching methods are mainly interactive and require student participation. Almost all courses include project work, where groups of students, assisted by the teaching staff, prepare, present and discuss projects with Professor/instructors and peers. There is continuous interaction with teachers and frequent reference to current social and economic problems during classes.

IBD was the first degree course to be taught and examined entirely in English at the University of Parma. June 2012 saw the first graduates and in 2023-24 IBD is entering its fourteenth year. The course is attracting more and more students from overseas to Parma. Today they represent a significant share of the IBD students. IBD classes, as a result, are intercultural and global. Surveys show a very high level of student satisfaction.

Multicultural environment

IBD offers diverse groups of students a unique opportunity.

IBD is aimed at Italians who wish to improve their command of English in a professional context. IBD offers the chance to work towards an advanced qualification in economics and management and also acquire advanced language skills throughout the two-year course taught in English.

IBD is also aimed at non-Italian students who wish to study in Italy. Parma is an ideal destination for foreign students; famous for its art and history, the city also offers a high level of public services. It is small enough for the local people to be welcoming and friendly, but big enough to host important cultural events. The way of life is pleasant and there are many bars and cafés, piazzas and parks, as well as clubs and societies for leisure activities. The city and the University Campus offer facilities for a wide variety of sports and the University Sports Center (CUS Parma - organizes events at all levels throughout the year.

IBD brings many benefits. All students, both Italian and non-Italian, gain advantages in terms of employment. Today, knowledge of the international economy needs to be complemented by language skills for entry to many professions, and an advanced knowledge of English for business and economics is opening up opportunities for young people in Italy and abroad.

But we also enjoy the wider benefits of hosting students from different parts of the world. Intercultural exchange, strong international relationships, and diversification of human capital are all outcomes of studying in different countries. The University of Parma today attracts more than half its intake from outside the Emilia Romagna Region, but the number of foreign students needs to increase. Our hope is that IBD can continue to facilitate academic contacts overseas and give all our students more contact with the wider world. We hope that Parma University can become truly intercultural.

Overview of the programme of study

The first year of the course gives an overview of the field of studies and the basics of statistics, international marketing, international accounting and history of globalization.
Students lacking a university background in economics are required to follow in the first semester the course “Micro&Macro Economics”, compulsory for all students except graduates from degree classes L-18, L-33. The course “Introducing Statistics” held in the second semester will supplement the more advanced course in “Economic Statistics”, and is specifically addressed to students without a previous statistical background.  “Micro&Macro Economics” and “Introducing Statistics” are aimed at aligning the skills of students who come from different disciplines and at giving them support to follow the more advanced courses.

The second year focuses on international financial markets and institutions, international law, industrial policies, cooperation between firms, European Union policies and projects, and environmental economics.

Detailed programme of study


All International Business and Development students are required to obtain a certificate of English at B2 level. Students may enrol for IBD without a certificate, but they must produce it by the end of the first academic year in order to take second-year exams.

Specific language levels are required also for international exchanges. These requirements can be met through internal tests organised by the University of Parma.