Higher Education in Italy for international students boasts of world’s oldest University, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088AD. The Universities in Italy are one of the most world-renowned Universities. Most Universities in Italy are publicly funded, and for the local students, the fees are nominal to none.

Education System in Italy

There are three bodies for the Higher Education in Italy:

1. Universities in Italy

2. Superior Graduate Schools

3. Professional Higher Education Institutes


1. Italian University System:

Types of Universities in Italy:

  1. Online Universities
  2. Public Universities
  3. Private Universities recognised by Government
  4. High school and institutes with some specialisation
  • Italian Universities adopted the Bologna process in 1999, and follows the same framework. The first degree is called Laurea triennale, and it roughly equivalent to the bachelor’s degree by international standards.
  • The second degree is called Laurea Maguistrale. This resembles to the Master’s programs by international standards. It gives access to the third cycle programs of the Italian Education System. The third cycle includes post MA or doctorate degrees.
  • There is a special “Laurea Magistrale Quinquennale”, literally translated as five-year masters program, are specialist courses for law, music and art.
  • The medical programs are for six years, and the doctors carry the title of Dottore. The “Masters” is something different from a master’s program. Masters are one year, practical education programs done to increase employability.

2. Superior Graduate Schools:

  • Called Scuola Superiore Universitaria locally, these institutes in Italy award the titles of Research Doctorate and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).  These universities are autonomous, and recognised by Ministry of Education in Italy.
  • These Universities from the Italian Education System sometimes organise Master’s degree courses jointly with the University they work with.

3. Professional Higher Education

  • Italy is not known for its vocational courses, but there are two vocational streams: Higher Technical Training and Education (IFTS), and Higher Technical Institute (ITS).
  • IFTS courses are of 1 or 2 years, and ITS courses are for 2 years. ITS courses are done with the collaboration with a local University.

4. AFAM Institutes: 

AFAM Institutions are independent higher Education Institutions for ART, MUSIC and DRAMA.

The main AFAM courses are: State Academies of Fine Arts, Legally recognised Academies of Fine Arts, Higher Schools of Design (ISIA), State Music Conservatories, Higher Institutes for Musical Studies, National Dance Academy, National Academy of Drama. 

AFAM programs can be done collaboratively with other recognised instotutes to aget a dual degree. It can be sone individually, too.

Apart from this, Italy has three institutes as Doctoral colleges, functioning at graduate and postgraduate levels in the Italian Education System.  There are nine further schools, which do not hold the University status.

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Dhruv is Content Creator at He is fond of words and everything related to them. Writing about different things from around the world gives him immense pleasure, and a very healthy by-product is sharing the information and helping others in the process.

Categories: Italy

Tags: Study Abroad

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