About the Higher Education system in Italy

The Italian higher education system is divided into the university and non-university sector. The university sector is made up of 89 university institutions including 58 State universities, 17 non-State universities (legally recognised by the State) and 6 higher schools specialised in postgraduate university studies. The non-university sector includes 4 education typologies with their institutions: higher schools of design (e.g. academies of fine arts and music), higher education in language mediation, higher integrated education (FIS) (programmes of higher technical education and training (IFTS)) and a few specific fields (e.g. archiving, restoration, military studies, etc.) which, along with their respective institutions, fall under the regulation of ministries other than that of Education. In addition Italy boasts about 77 private institutions. The academic year in Italy is made up of two semesters - starting in September/October and ending in July. The actual start and finish dates will differ across the universities, however each semester lasts around 20 weeks and consists of 14 weeks teaching period and a 6 week exam period.

Entry Requirements for Italian Universities

Every institution has its own set of regulations, however the minimum requirements to enter a bachelors programme in Italy six GCE passes of which two must be at A’ level. Moreover some fields like medicine require specific A’ levels. In addition some competitive courses might require additional qualifications and private universities such as Universita Bocconi often have their own entrance tests or use the American SATs.

For competitive subjects in Italy there may be a requirement to sit an entrance exam locally. This may take place only a few weeks before the commencement of the degree so it might be difficult to arrange accommodation in advance. For some bachelors degrees the entrance exam might be in Italian even if the course itself is entirely in English. It is not unheard of for universities to translate the questions and answers into English during the exam. In this case, the questions will be multiple choice. There may be changes to the entrance procedures as some Italian universities are looking at offering all courses in English in the future, most notably Politecnico di Milano.

For public universities offering medicine there is a standard entrance exam that can be taken in the UK or in Italy in the English language. University places are typically awarded on academic merit alone so the best performing students will be offered places. It is also necessary to have a UKCAT score to access an Italian university to study medicine.

How to apply to an Italian university?

You have to apply individually to the institution of your choice. This can be done mostly online.

Application deadlines at most Italian universities are between May and June. Letter of Acceptation will be send out around August. This letter will also include the dates, if you need to take any exams for additional qualifications.

How much does it cost to study in Italy?

Public universities are allowed to set their own fees. That’s why annual tuition fee charges can vary between €1000 and €4000.  Fees at Italian universities are means-tested so the amount you pay may be linked to your family’s income.

If you are considering studying at a private university, fees can be as high as €15,000 per annum although scholarships may be available.  

How do I get a visa to study in Italy?

As Italy is part of the EU, you do not need a visa, if you have a EU/EEA passport. However, you need to register with the local police station (Questura) to obtain a residence permit (carta di soggiorno).

Can I work there as a student?

After registering and obtaining your residence permit, you can work in Italy.

Universities in Italy

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.


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