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Universities : Why Study in the Italy

  • Italy is a country of great food, great weather, and is fast becoming an ever-more popular study abroad destination with some of the world's top universities.
  • Italy is situated on the West Southern border of Europe; the peninsula, along with its sorrounding islands, stretches out southwards almost to the coasts of North Africa, while eastwards it faces the Slav-Balkan territories.
  • Study in Italy" is a valuable information tool for students wishing to attend higher education (H.Ed.) programmes in Italy, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
  • Italy has played an important role in European higher education: it is one of the four countries that first engaged to create the so-called "European Area of Higher Education" (Sorbonne Declaration, May 1998), thus starting that type of higher education reform which, known as "Bologna Process" (Bologna Declaration, June 1999) is being implemented all over Europe. Today Italy ranks among the 8 most industrialised countries in the world. Alongside some big companies, both state-owned and private, it has developed a sound network of small and medium-sized undertakings, promoted a few scientific parks, and is incentivating basic and applied research in a great variety of fields (biology, ICT, medicine, physics, etc.)
  • There are 15 Italian universities ranked in the 2010 QS World University Rankings, two of which are in the Top 200 in the world. Italy's higher education system is strictly evaluated by the state to ensure that legal, budgetary and educational standards are met. The Italian undergraduate degree has a 'First Cycle' or Laurea, a three-year undergraduate degree characterized by both theoretical and applied studies, and accessed by a general school-leaving certificate. It requires 180 ECTS credits. There are 47 degree classes identified by the Ministry of Education. The 'Second Cycle' or Laurea Specialistica, is a two-year equivalent to a postgraduate course and requires 120 ECTS credits. It is strongly theoretical with specialist studies in a given subject field. There are 109 such degree classes to choose from in Italy.

Practical information

Academic Calendar

The academic year in Italy is made up of two semesters. The first semester starts in September/October and ends in January/February. The second semester starts in February and ends in July. The actual start and finish dates will vary in the different universities but each semester lasts around 20 weeks and is made up of a teaching period lasting around 14 weeks and an exam period lasting around 6 weeks.

Teaching and learning

Most teaching still takes place in large lecture halls but this will depend very much on the single course of study. Students are also expected to carry out a considerable amount of self study outside the classroom in order to prepare for exams.

Assessment

Exams are held after the teaching period and are mainly oral exams although some courses will have written tests taking place during the semester or before the oral exam. Each exam will have a number of dates offered during the exam period and students can choose which date they wish to take the exam. They are also entitled to turn down a mark and take the exam again if they are not satisfied with the result. Rules apply as to how often a student can take an exam within an examination period.

Grading systems

Examinations are graded according to a scale ranging from 0 to 30, with 18 as a pass mark. A "cum laude" may be added to the highest grade (30; 30 e lode) as a mention of special distinction. All examination results are used to calculate the overall degree mark on a scale of 0 – 110. The final result is based on exam results plus the presentation of a project or dissertation in front of a Board of Examiners. The pass mark is 66 and students who obtain full marks of 110 may also be awarded ‘summa cum laude’ (110 e lode).

Fees and Costs

Universities and other Higher Education Institutes establish their own fees but in the case of university education there is a legal minimum fee for enrolment and maximum level for student contributions to costs and services, which cannot exceed 20% of state funding.

The average fees a student has to pay is somewhere between 850 euro and 1,000 euro per year since this varies from one university to another and also depends on the chosen course of study. Private universities are clearly much more expensive.

Admission to “master universitari” and other specialisation courses also have much higher fees. Doctoral students who receive a grant from the university do not pay fees, but non- grant holders are required to pay the fees, which will vary again according to the university chosen.

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