Study in Italy

Start your future in Historical higher education hub & highly developed industrial Region. 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 a popular destination for international students, offering quality higher education, highly-ranked universities and more affordable tuition fees than many other Western European countries. For these reasons, many internationals choose to study abroad in Italy.

There are around 32,000 international students in Italy, including independent students and those on exchange programmes. Italy was one of the 4 countries to first implement the Bologna Process, a higher education reform that’s now being implemented throughout Europe. The country has a rich history and tradition of higher education and great intellectuals, which makes Italy a very attractive option for international students.

Why Study in Italy?

Some of the first universities in Europe were founded in Italy during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. For example, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is recognized as the oldest university in continuous operation. Today, Italy is the home of many prestigious universities and other institutions of higher education. Many of Italy’s universities perform well in the QS World University Rankings, such as the Università di Bologna (194), The Sapienza University of Rome (216), Politecnico di Milano (244), Università di Roma in Rome, Università degli Studi di Milano, Università degli Studi di Padova in Padua, Università degli Studi di Firenze in Florence, and the Università di Pisa in Pisa.

Italy has played an important role in recent reform of higher education known as “Bologna Process”, as one of the four countries that created the European Area of Higher Education, formed by signing the Sorbonne Declaration in 1998, which was to be the first step in the higher education reform. Today the Bologna Process is now being implemented throughout Europe.

Italy has 89 universities, which are divided into several categories:

  • State universities: These are state funded public universities which comprises of most of the universities in Italy, particularly the larger universities.
  • Other publicly funded universities: Funded by Province rather than state.
  • Private universities: Non state funded.
  • Superior Graduate Schools (Scuola Superiore Universitaria): These are independent institutions that offer advanced training and research courses specializing in postgraduate studies.

There are also certain non-university institutions of higher education, such as higher schools of design, schools of higher education in language meditation and schools of higher integrated education.

Italy has several levels of higher education. Completing undergraduate studies (bachelor’s degree – ‘laurea’) can lead to master’s studies and earning a master’s degree (‘laurea magistrale’). Undergraduate studies typically take 3 years to complete and master’s studies take 1 year. Following the completion of your masters studies you can continue with a PhD which usually lasts 3 academic years.

Most of the courses and programmes offered are taught in the Italian language but the number of English language programmes available is growing. This is particularly true for graduate level courses. Therefore, it may be possible to find courses and programmes taught in English if you wish to study in Italy but your Italian language skills are not good enough.

Universities & Colleges in Italy

Italian higher education is structured in a binary system, consisting of two main articulations:

– the university sector

the non-university sector

At present, the university sector is made up of 89 university institutions which are classified in:

– 58 State universities

– 17 non-State universities (legally recognised by the State)

– 2 universities for foreigners

– 6 higher schools specialised in postgraduate university studies

– 6 telematic universities.

The non-university sector includes 4 education typologies with their institutions:

– higher schools of design: polytechnics for the arts, academies of fine arts, higher institutes for applied arts, music conservatories and recognised music institutes, higher institutes for musical and choreographic studies, national academies

– higher education in language mediation: higher schools for language mediators

– higher integrated education (FIS): programmes of higher technical education & training (IFTS)

– a few specific fields (e.g. archiving, diplomatics, restoration, military studies, etc.) which, along with their respective institutions, fall under the supervision of ministries other than that of Education.


University of Bologna University of Trento Free University of Bozen – Bolzano
University of Bergamo University of Brescia Sapienza University of Rome
University of Florence University of Ferrara University of Bari Aldo Moro
Milano Fashion Institute

Manuelina Culinary

University of Genova The American University of Rome

Italy Education Costs

Tuition fees at Italian universities vary, but they are generally much lower than in other parts of Western Europe or North America, making Italian universities an enticing proposition for foreign students. Those who wish to study in Italy have a chance to receive a quality higher education at an affordable cost.

The cost of tuition fees depend upon several factors. The most important is whether the university in question is a state or a private institution. State universities have much lower  tuition fees. Tuition fees also depend on your country of origin; they are more affordable for EU students, but even non-EU students may find them more affordable than fees in other Western European or North American universities. Also, fees will depend on your chosen programme and level of study. For example, you can expect to pay around £680-£800 per year (€850 – €1,000) for undergraduate tuition fees.

Also bear in mind that state universities in Italy have a means-tested element to their tuition fees. This means the fees are weighted depending on a student’s parental income.

The next thing you need to consider is accommodation. Most Italian universities don’t have halls of residence, however they often provide accommodation services to help students to find appropriate rental apartments or shared rooms in the private rental market. These options usually come at a lower cost if you use the university services to find your accommodation.

There are various types of financial assistance you may be eligible to receive while studying in Italy. There are some scholarships available and international students are eligible to apply for student loans and grants. However, keep in mind that financial assistance is often merit-based or means-tested so it may not be available to all students. Check the websites of your chosen universities to learn about the scholarships and grants that might be available to you.

Another option you may wish to consider to help with your finances is to seek employment whilst you study. EU students can work in Italy without additional permission, while for non-EU students employment rights are regulated through your study visa status. To increase your chances of finding employment you will find it useful to have good Italian language skills.

Documents Requirement

Below are the required documents for admission in Italy.

  1. Educational Documents (SSCE/O Levels and Onwards)
  2. 5.5, 6 bands in IELTS (For students applying for Bachelor studies)
  3. 6, 6.5 bands in IELTS (For students applying for Masters and Phd studies)
  4. Experience certificates if any
  5. Resume/CV
  6. Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Research Proposal
  7. 8 Pictures (Blue/White Background)
  8. Passport
  9. Reference Letters from Lecturers/Teachers of Last College/University Attended
  10. Bank statement equivalent to 12000 USD to 15000 USD in account of student in any Bank for 3 to 6 months.


1. What is the admission fee structure in Italian universities?

Italy’s university fees differ depending on the institution and course. According to government guidelines, average fees are between US$850 and US$1,000 per year, but private universities will be more expensive

2. Can you give me some general information about scholarships?

International students are eligible for the same scholarships and grants as local students, assessed by academic merit or financial need. Italy describes its higher education system in terms of three ‘cycles’, which can sound rather confusing, but basically refers to undergraduate degrees, master’s degrees and doctorates.

3. What is the Cost of Living in Italy for students?

Prices vary from city to city or even with regions. Generally one could look forward to spend between 350 – 600 Euros depending on your location and average expenses.

4. How many hours/week of work is allowed on a Student Visa?

The Italian laws permit a student to work 4 hours a day and a maximum of 20 hours a week. Irrespective of your years of experience and personal profile, Generally Italian Companies look to hire you as an intern and the pay would be around 500 – 1000 euros. Paid Intern-ships are possible in rare cases.

5. Is that 20 hrs/week limit applicable with some special category of Student Visa?

Nope, the visa just gets you a “permesso di soggiorno per motivi di studio” when you arrive, which is what allows you to study and live in Italy.

6. Admission, entry, and Italian Education System?

The academic year is split into two semesters, from September/October to January/February, and from February/March to July. Typically each semester in Italy will consist of 14 teaching weeks, followed by a six-week exam period. It is usual for most exams to be oral, which means a series of one-on-one question and answer sessions with the examining professors – rather a daunting prospect for many international students!

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