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Italy education system - understand how it works​

Italy is widely recognized for its quality education. Let 's find out why.

In Italy, the university system is similar to that of the United Kingdom, and students focus during their degree on one subject. The Laurea, which is approximately equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, and the Laurea Specialistica, which is roughly equal to a master’s degree, are the courses.

There are 41 state universities; as well as 15 other universities, colleges, and higher learning institutes which includes the University of Bologna that was founded in the 11th century, as well as the University of Rome, which is the country’s largest.


The education philosophy of the Italian educational system ranges from teacher-centred to student-centred. The highly structured program was developed in both public and private schools to promote school transitions.

There has been a progressive transition from rote recall assignments and evaluations to less formal approaches that emphasize imagination and the application of critical thinking and higher-order thought skills. In 1989, All concerns related to higher education were passed on to the Ministry of Universities and Scientific Research.

Qualifications Framework

In January 2018, Italy’s National Qualifications System (NQF) was adopted. The Italian NQF has eight levels and expertise, abilities, autonomy, and transparency are it’s level descriptors.

The development of the NQF responds, among others, to the need to incorporate different qualification systems; to enhance the readability, clarity and comparability of qualifications at the national and regional level for various systems; and to encourage geographical and technical mobility at national and European level.

Tuition fees

Italy’s tuition rates are considerably lower than in other European countries. Depending on where you are from, your level of education, the region you are studying in and the type of college, public or private, tuition fees in Italy can differ widely.


Scholarships, grants, scholarships, fellowships, financial scholarships, loans-for foreign students wishing to study in Italy, there are several financial support choices. Scholarship demand is often higher than supply; you should apply as early as you can to maximize your chances.

The relevant websites of the schools and colleges you are interested in can be reviewed. The right time to look for financial assistance is well in advance of the course’s start. Finding funding, particularly midway through the academic year, can be very difficult.

Teaching and learning style

While safeguarding the freedom of teaching, some basic methodological approaches are suggested by the National Curriculum Guidelines, such as taking advantage of the experiences and expertise of students, promoting exploration and discovery practices, promoting cooperative learning, gaining an understanding of one’s method of learning, carrying out in-lab learning, etc.

Teachers select textbooks and instruments for teaching. Teachers may confirm the textbooks adopted in the previous year, or they may introduce new textbooks. Textbooks can be in print or mixed-format in the latter case (mixed format means paper, paper plus print or digital, both with digital content integrated).

In all cases, textbooks and teaching instruments must be compliant with the curriculum and schools. For particular subjects, schools may also develop their interactive teaching resources that students can use as textbooks. Teachers will learn such tools in class during teaching hours, and in partnership with other class teachers and students. They will operate under the guidance of a teacher who will ensure the science and didactic accuracy of the product.

Higher Education

Universities offer strong degree programs and a wide variety of disciplines that are analytical and academically focused. Some colleges, in specific subject areas, are advanced.

Universities, Higher Education for Fine Arts, Music and Dance (AFAM- acronym for Alta Formazione Artistica e Musicale), Higher Technical Institutes (ITS- acronym for Istituti Tecnici Superiori), Universities are also split into private and publicly funded institutions. The Italian Higher Education System includes Universities.

However, the standard of education is comparatively poor at all higher education institutions. Only if they have an educational qualification that enables them to enroll can international students apply to Italian universities. This secondary education certificate must be awarded after a period of study of at least 12 years. Suppose an academic degree has been cited in less than 12 years. In that case, it must be followed by an educational certification of the tests taken or by a postgraduate degree to compensate for any missed secondary education years.

Bachelor or undergraduate degrees

There are entry criteria when applying for a Bachelor’s degree before you hear about enrolling in an Italian university. You must have completed high school studies and have a valid school certificate that qualifies you in your country for higher education studies. Also, you have to prove your degree of Italian language knowledge.

There are two semesters in each academic year for a bachelor’s degree. The first semester starts in September. It finishes in February, and it lasts from February to July for the second semester. The usual bachelor’s degree duration in Italy is three to four years, with the exception of medical courses of at least six years. Courses in law can take 5 years.

Postgraduate Study

In Italy, there are about 90 universities, the majority of which are publicly funded. The higher education field also includes many specialized postgraduate centres, polytechnics and other academies.

Pathway Programs

In Italy, there are several higher education pathways for international students, including foundation studies and English language preparation programs. This guarantees that students get the additional help and assistance they need to excel.

Academic year

In Italy, all schools begin in the first half of September, although the exact starting date varies every year. The primary and secondary school academic year is split into two semesters: the first semester, from September to February, and the second semester, from February to early June.

Learning English

In Italy, there is a perfect English course for you whether you are a student, a business professional, or a traveler. For all fluency levels, ages and time durations, there are English courses online. Italian universities offer research programmes taught in Italian as well as in English. At postgraduate level, however, most English research programmes are available (Master’s degrees and PhD courses). Also, Students who studied English in their Bachelor’s degree’s medium of instruction (at least for three years) are exempted from having any qualification in the English language.

You will have the option of applying for degrees taught in the Italian language at some Italian universities, but take the assignments and exams in English.

Italian language tests:

  • CILS – exam may be taken in Italy and at Italian Institutes of Culture worldwide
  • CELI – take the exam at certified centres in partnership with the University of Perugia

English language tests:

  • IELTS Academic
  • PTE Academic
  • C1 Advanced

After Graduation

You’re permitted to work up to 1,040 hours a year as an international student. Whether you were a graduate at or above the Master’s level, and you will be able to stay in Italy to look for a job for up to 12 months. You will need to change your student permit to an Italian work permit if you have completed your Bachelor’s degree in Italy and want to continue to work, or you can find an employer in the country that will sponsor you. Note that it may take a few months for this visa phase, so try to get organized as early as you can.


There are many options for foreign entrepreneurs who want to immigrate to Italy, all very appealing and most of them easy to obtain. If the government granted the entrepreneur visa until recently through a lengthy and complicated process, things have changed with the implementation of the efficient and easy to access the Startup Visa program.

The process is similar to the work permit residency. Still, depending on the company being developed and on the legal conditions in place when the application is lodged, the documents that need to be lodged will differ. There are several Internal Circulars that modify the process and documents continuously required; thus, the current specifications must be carefully reviewed before beginning a new application. The self-employment permit enables foreign nationals to immigrate and complete various individual activities in Italy.

Interested in studying abroad with DPIMMI ?​