The European Education Directory

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Structure of Educational System
Pre-higher Education System
Higher Education System
Administrative structure of higher education  
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition


Types of higher education institutions:

Universitą (University)

Politecnico (Technical University)

Istituto Universitario (University Institute)

Accademia (Academy)

Istituto Superiore (Higher Institute)

Scuola Superiore (Higher School)

Conservatorio di Musica (Music Conservatory)

Istituto Musicale Pareggiato (Legally recognized Musical Institute)


School leaving and higher education credentials:

Diploma dell' Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore


Diploma Universitario

Laurea (triennale)

Diploma di Laurea

Attestato/Diploma di Perfezionamento

Diploma di Specializziazione

Laurea Magistrale

Laurea Specialistica

Master di 1° Livello

Magister Philosophiae

Master di 2° Livello

Dottorato di Ricerca

Dottorato di Ricerca (new system)




Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 6

Age of exit: 15

Structure of school system:


Type of school providing this education: Scuola Elementare

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 6 to: 11

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma di Licenza della Scuola Elementare

Lower Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Scuola Media Inferiore

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 11 to: 14

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma di Licenza della Scuola Media Inferiore

Technical Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Istituto Tecnico

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 14 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Maturitą Tecnica / Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo del Corso di/per (name of technical option in the Istituto Tecnico concerned (since September 1999)

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Liceo Classico, Liceo Scientifico, Liceo Linguistico

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 14 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma di Maturitą / Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo del Corso di Liceo Classico/Liceo Scientifico (since 1999)

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Istituto Magistrale, Istituto Secondario Superiore per i servizi socio-educativi

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 14 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma magistrale ad indirizzo "scienze sociali" or "socio-psico-pedagogico / Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo del Corso di/per… (name of the option within the Istituto Secondario concerned) (since 1999)

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Liceo  Artistico, Istituto d'Arte

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 14 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: Maturitą Artistica / Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo del Corso di/per...(name of the option within the Istituto Secondario concerned) (since 1999)


Type of school providing this education: Istituto Professionale

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 14 to: 17

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma di Qualifica (name of the option within the Istituto Professionale concerned)


Type of school providing this education: Istituto Professionale

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 14 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma di Maturitą Professionale di/per… / Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Professionale di/per...(name of the option within the Istituto Professionale concerned) (since 1999)

School education:

Elementary education lasts for five years and leads to the Diploma di Licenza della Scuola Elementare. Secondary education covers eight years, divided into three years' lower secondary, followed by five years' upper secondary education. The upper secondary courses consist of classical, scientific, artistic, technical, vocational and teacher training options. Classical secondary school/Liceo Classico lasts for five years, with emphasis on the Humanities, but with scientific subjects in the second cycle. Scientific secondary school/Liceo Scientifico also lasts for five years,  but provides more specialized preparation in scientific subjects. The Liceo Linguistico focuses on the study of foreign languages together with the corresponding literature and civilization. The technical upper secondary programmes are offered by the Istituti Tecnici and last for five years. Vocational secondary education is provided by the Istituto Professionale, Liceo Artistico, and Istituto di Arte. All these programmes used to lead to different types of Diploma di Maturitą (Maturitą Classica, Scientifica, Linguistica, Artistica, Magistrale, Tecnica, etc). A Maturitą was the minimum admission requirement to university studies, as well as to most programmes at non-university institutions of higher education. Since 1998-1999 the school leaving qualification is the Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo del corso di… (see examples above). The options are the same as those listed for the Maturitą.

Higher education:

Higher education is provided by universities, technical universities, university institutes, as well as by a wide range of academies, higher institutes/schools, especially, but not exclusively, in the artistic sector, and by a number of professional training institutions in a variety of fields related to commerce, e-technologies, fashion, industry, etc.. Most of the existing university institutions were established directly by the State, while a limited number, originally set up by private entities, were later recognized by the relevant Ministry. At present (2005-2006), the university system includes 89 university institutions (55 state universities, 3 technical universities, 17 non-state legally-recognized university institutes,  2 universities for foreigners, 12 higher schools/institutes regulated by special legislation). From 1989 to 1999, MURST was responsible for university education, some sectors of non-university education (interpretation and translation, psychotherapy) and the allocation of  funds to the state universities and the private universities that had conformed with the structure of the public sector (i.e. legally-recognized university institutions). The main advisory bodies for university education are the National University Council (CUN), the University Student National Council (CNSU) in which the representatives of the various categories of university staff and students participate, and the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI). In the same decade (1989-99), the supervision and development of primary and secondary education were entrusted to the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione (MPI) (Ministry of Education), whereas responsibility for the non-university sector of higher education was shared between the Ministry for the National Cultural Heritage (institutions and programmes in conservation and restoration) and MPI (institutions for fine and applied arts, dance, drama, and music, as well as, since 1998-99, all FIS programmes (higher integrated technical education). In 1999, the reform of the artistic sector (drama, dance and music) was entrusted to MURST (Law 508/99). More recently, the new Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) was established and all the financial resources, staff and functions of the former MPI and MURST were transferred there. The merging of the two ministries took place in 2001. Degree programmes are structured in credits (crediti formativi universitari-CFU at universities and crediti formativi accademici-CFA at AFAM institutions). A CFU or CFA corresponds to a minimum of 25 hours of work, time for personal study included. The average annual workload of a full-time student is usually fixed at 60 credits.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Law no. 127 Year: 1997

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Law no. 144 Year: 1999

Concerns: FIS (Formazione Integrata Superiore) with IFTS programmes

Decree: Law no. 168 Year: 1989

Concerns: Ministry of the University and Scientific and Technological Research (MURST)

Decree: Law no. 210 Year: 1998

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Law no. 224 Year: 1999

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Law no. 370 Year: 1999

Concerns: University evaluation

Decree: Law no. 508 Year: 1999

Concerns: Arts and Music Institutions

Decree: Law no. 59 Year: 1997

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Ministerial Decree no. 214 Year: 2004

Concerns: TNE universities in Italy

Decree: Ministerial Decree no. 270 Year: 2004

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Ministerial Decree no. 509 Year: 1999

Concerns: Universities

Decree: Presidential Decree no. 212 Year: 2005

Concerns: AFAM system (institutions and degrees)

Academic year:

Classes from: Sep to: Aug

Languages of instruction: Italian

Stages of studies:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

I - NON-UNIVERSITY HIGHER EDUCATION (non-university level; programmes of a technical/professional nature) a) Conservation and restoration of the cultural heritage are taught at the central institutes/schools for the cultural heritage which are under the responsibility of the Ministerio dei Beni Culturali. Admission is normally open to applicants who have previous knowledge and experience in the chosen field. Courses usually last between 3 and 4 years. Short programmes are also available. They consist in further specialization for professionals who are already experienced in a given field. b) Higher integrated education: In 1998, the FIS (Formazione Integrata Superiore) initiative was promoted by MPI: . FIS aims at a more effective coordination of all professionally-orientated education at higher education level from the 3-year DU and other more advanced university programmes such as the Corsi di Perfezionamento or Professional Master's to post-secondary regional courses and the IFTS described below. FIS's objective is to re-qualify the entire system of professional education by better exploiting existing resources and facilities and making it easier for students to pass from one educational route to another. A pilot project within FIS was launched in 1998 by setting up some 150 experimental programmes of advanced technical education and training, the "Istruzione e Formazione Tecnica Superiore" (IFTS). The IFTS pilot project became official by virtue of Art. 69 of Law 144/1999. Courses last for a maximum of 4 semesters. Contents must include basic technical and scientific subjects, practical applications, training periods in private concerns or public bodies, other professionally-orientated activities "in the field" and, at intervals, occupational experiences. Practical training periods must cover no less than 30-40 % of the global length of each programme and may take place both in Italy and abroad, in EU or non-EU countries. The final qualification conferred is generally called "Attestato/Certificato di Competenza", the corresponding workload is expressed in credits so as to make the qualification valid for further studies both in Italy - either in the university system or in the 2nd or 3rd level of regional professional education - and abroad, in particular in the European Union. c) Regional education and training in other fields (Formazione Professionale regionale-FPR): it includes a variety of programmes at post-secondary level (admission by any Italian "Maturitą/Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo dei corsi di istruzione secondaria superiore" or by an equivalent foreign qualification). The main fields are business, commerce, communication, computer sciences, technical disciplines related to industrial applications, marketing, tourism, etc. It also covers post-secondary programmes in Applied Arts (Design, Graphics), Cinema, Dance, Fashion, Media and Communication, Landscape Architecture, Music, Theatre, etc. All the FPR programmes are offered by schools/institutes that have been directly established either by the Regions, Provinces, Municipalities or by non-public bodies and have subsequently requested and obtained the legal recognition of all or some of their courses from the relevant offices of the above mentioned local authorities. II - HIGHER EDUCATION OUTSIDE UNIVERSITIES BUT RANKING AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL includes the following institutions and programmes: Academies of Fine Arts, Higher Schools of Design, Music Conservatories and other similar institutes, various National Academies/Schools (for Cinema, Dance, Drama and advanced musical studies) which together constitute the system of advanced education in the arts and music (AFAM); it also includes the Higher Schools for Interpreters and Translators, Higher Institutes/Schools of Psychotherapy, Schools for Archivists and Experts in Palaeography and Diplomacy, Military Academies, etc. A) State artistic education. A) EDUCATION IN THE ARTS AND MUSIC: it is offered by the institutions listed from a) to e). a) The Academies of Fine Arts (ABA) have traditionally offered four-year courses in Painting, Sculpture, Decoration and Scenography; b) The Higher Schools of Design (ISIA) used to offer four-year courses in industrial and visual design. c) The National Dance Academy (AND) offered programmes for the basic training and further specialization of dancers, choreographers and dance teachers. d) The National Academy of Drama (ANAD) offered programmes for the training of stage actors and directors. e) Music Conservatories (CM) and recognized music institutes (IMP) offered music education and training. The latest reform of state education in Fine Arts, Design, Drama, Dance and Music, the Legge 508/1999,  provides for the setting up of a new system of advanced education and specialization in the Arts and Music (the AFAM system). According to this law, music and dance education are provided by ISSMCs (higher institutes for music and dance studies), including all MCs, IMPs and AND, while education in visual arts, design and drama is offered by ABAs, ISIAs and ANAD. The AFAM system is therefore made up of ISSMCs together with all the mentioned art institutions. The AFAM institutions are endowed with full autonomy (statutory, scientific, teaching, managerial, financial). They must refer to MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research) as their national reference authority for all matters related to planning, orientation and coordination (Art. 2 paragraph 3 of Law 508/99). The AFAM institutions may establish programmes at different levels, from the basic to the advanced and specialized level, and promote research in the Arts and Music. The minimum access requirement to their basic programmes is the Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore. Admission is normally subject to an entrance examination. Final qualifications have been defined by law as equivalent to university degrees so that their holders may participate in public competitions and/or pursue more advanced studies both within the University and the non-University sectors of higher education. The full implementation of the reform will take some years, since the reorganization of curricula is still in an experimental phase. In 2004-2005, all AFAM institutions have established 1st cycle and 2nd cycle programmes (bachelor-level and master-level, respectively) which have been approved by MIUR. They are structured according to the Bologna Declaration model and are called "Corsi di Diploma Accademico di 1° livello" and "Corsi di Diploma Accademico di 2°livello". In addition to AFAM institutions, the arts and music sector includes some more higher institutions such as f) the National Music Academy (ANM di santa Cecilia) which still offers post-graduate programmes at advanced level for qualified musicians; admisssion is by a Diploma di Conservatorio (or an equivalent foreign qualification) and is subject to a very selective competition; course length varies up to a maximum of 3 years; the final qualification is called Diploma di Perfezionamento in … (the name of the subject filed follows) , an advanced diploma ranking at postgraduate level; g) the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema, which offers cinema studies for actors and directors; admission is by a highly selective national competition which is also open to foreign candidates; applicants must be aged 19-26 (maximum age for actors is 24); they must hold the Italian school leaving diploma or an equivalent foreign qualification, documentary evidence of previous education and training in the chosen specialization and adequate knowledge of  Italian; the School offers 2-3-year programmes in Acting, Direction, Production, Management, Screening, etc; all programmes apply to both cinema and television. B) OTHER FIELDS. a) Studies in interpretation and translation:  The Higher Schools for Interpreters and Translators-SSITs offer a great variety of programmes in these fields. In conformity with Law 697/86, their 3-year course leading to the Diploma di Traduttore e Interprete was restructured after the pattern of similar university qualifications; in 1993, it was remodelled according to the national typology of the 1st level university degree in the same fields, ie the DU for Interpreters and Translators. The SSIT Diploma is recognized by the State as having legal validity for professional ends. The competence for the supervision of recognized SSIT programmes was once attributed to MPI; in 1989 it was transferred to MURST.Since 2002, SSITs have been able to reform their structure and programme according to Ministerial Decree 38/02. The whole process is taking place under the supervision of the MIUR. Once reformed, the Schools will be renamed Higher Schools for Language Mediators (Scuole Superiori per Mediatori Linguistici-SSMLs). SSMLs' programmes provide students with a solid mastery of at least two foreign languages and technical written and oral language skills for professions in language mediation (interpretation and translation). These new courses last for 3 years. Their final qualification (Diplomi) is equivalent to the 1st university degree in class 3 (sciences of language mediation = scienze della mediazione linguistica) and gives access to 2nd degree classes in interpretation and translation. It requires an Italian school leaving qualification or equivalent. Admission may be subject to an entrance test to check the knowledge of both foreign languages and mother tongue. b) Studies in psychotherapy: Iin addition to the university specialization schools that offer advanced (3rd level) programmes in Psychology (clinical/health), many Higher Institutes/Schools' 4-year postgraduate programmes in Psychotherapy  devised for professional psychologists have been recognized by the Ministry for University and Research (MURST). c) Archival studies, palaeography, diplomacy: Schools for archivists and experts in Palaeography and Diplomacy are state institutions of university rank that fall under the supervision of the Ministry for the National Cultural Heritage. They are established at the State archives in several cities. Their main purpose is to provide the theoretical notions and practical experience required to record and rearrange documents, etc. or to carry out research in related fields. Admission requirements include knowledge of Latin and the passing of a selective competition. Programmes last for two years and lead to the award of a Diploma in Archival Studies, Palaeography and Diplomacy (Diploma di archivistica, paleografia e diplomatica) which is equivalent to the diploma conferred by the Special School for Archivists and Librarians of the University La Sapienza in Rome.


University level studies:

University level first stage: First Cycle/Laurea:

NEW UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: In 2001-2002, the new teaching regulations as provided for in DM 509/99 were implemented in the first cycle of university education. For some years, two main types of programmes and degrees will co-exist in Italian universities: the traditional one based on the former regulations which is gradually disappearing and the new ones based on the above mentioned regulations and the subsequent ministerial decrees. Independently of the latest reform, the Italian university tuition fees and additional contributions to be paid by students are calculated on the basis of their income and may vary from one degree programme to the other according to course level, typology and subject area. The same regulations are applied to both Italian and foreign students. In the new system, undergraduate studies consist in Corsi di Laurea (CL) (first degree courses) which aim at guaranteeing students an adequate command of general scientific methods and contents as well as specific professional skills. The general access requirement is the Italian school leaving qualification, the Diploma di Superamento dell'Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore. Equivalent foreign qualifications may also be accepted. Admission to individual degree courses may be subject to specific requirements. First degree courses last for three years. The Laurea-L (first degree) is awarded to undergraduates who have obtained 180 credits.TRADITIONAL UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: First level studies included Corsi di Diploma Universitario (DU) and courses run by the Scuole Dirette a Fini Speciali (SDAFS) (schools for special purposes), both leading to the award of a university degree called Diploma universitario (DU).  Both DU and SDAFS courses are gradually being phased out and replaced by the 3-year Laurea (L3), the new first degree offered by Italian universities.

University level second stage: Second Cycle:

NEW UNIVERSITY SYSTEM:  Graduate studies include Corsi di Laurea Specialistica (CLS) and Corsi di Master Universitario di 1° livello (CMU1). 1) CLS provide graduates with an advanced level of education to exercise highly qualified activities in specific areas. Access to CLS is through the Italian first degree (L) or an equivalent foreign degree and the course lasts for two years. The final degree, the Laurea Specialistica- LS (second degree) is awarded to graduates who have obtained a total of 300 credits, including those of the first degree that have been recognized for access to the CLS (maximum 180). The writing of an original dissertation is also compulsory. A limited number of CLS regulated by specific EU directives (in Dentistry, Human Medicine, Veterinary Medicine) share the following features: access is through the Italian school leaving certificate or an equivalent foreign qualification, admission is always subject to an entrance examination; the course lasts for 5 years ( 6 in Human Medicine).  2) CMU1 consist in advanced scientific courses or higher continuing education studies that are open to holders of a Laurea-L or an equivalent foreign degree. Admission may be subject to additional conditions. The length of the course is a minimum of one year. The degree of Master Universitario di 1° livello -MU1 (first level university Master's) is awarded to graduates who have obtained at least 60 credits. The latest legal provisions on university education have changed the name of the Laurea Specialistica into "Laurea Magistrale" (LM), the related programme into "Corsi di Laurea Magistrale" (CLM) and "Corsi di Laurea Magistrale a ciclo unico" (CLMu) in Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. TRADITIONAL UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: Second level studies consisted exclusively in Laurea Degree courses (Corso di Laurea, CL) which lasted from four to five years, depending on the faculty and the course. Only the Laurea degree course in Medicine and Surgery lasted for six years. The curricula of certain CLs were divided into two stages: a first two-year period which was considered as a preliminary stage with basic theoretical disciplines, and a second three-year stage consisting in specialized application and generally articulated in groups of more specific disciplines selected for specialization. A large number of these long programmes leading to the DL are already phased out.

University level third stage: Third Cycle:

NEW UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: Postgraduate studies include Corsi di Dottorato di Ricerca-CDR (research doctorate programmes), Corsi di Specializzazione-CS (specialization courses) and Corsi di Master Universitario di 2° livello-CMU2 (second level university Master's degree courses). 1) CDR train postgraduates for very advanced scientific research or professional appointments at the highest level: they use suitable teaching methodologies such as updated technologies, study periods abroad, internships in specialized research centres. Access is based on an Italian second degree (LS/LM) or a comparable foreign qualification recognized as suitable and admission is subject to the passing of very competitive examinations. The official length of the programme is a minimum of three years. Students must write an original dissertation to be awarded the Dottorato di Ricerca-DR. 2) CS provide postgraduates with the knowledge and skills required for the practice of highly qualified professions. They may only be established in application of specific Italian laws or EU directives. Access is based on the LS/LM (second degree) or a comparable foreign qualification recognized as suitable. Admission may be subject to additional conditions. Courses last from two to 5/6 years in the health sector. 3) CMUs consist in advanced scientific courses or higher continuing education courses which are open to holders of an LS/LM or a comparable foreign qualification recognized as suitable. Admission may be subject to additional conditions. Studies last for a minimum of one year. The Master Universitario di 2° livello-MU2 is awarded to postgraduates who have obtained a minimum of 60 credits. TRADITIONAL UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: Third level studies (Post-Lauream)  consisted in courses offered by Scuole di Specializzazione (specialization schools), Corsi di Dottorato di Ricerca (DR) (research doctorate programmes) and Corsi di Perfezionamento. The former aimed at professional training and academic education in specialized disciplines and the latter at advanced training in  research. The duration of studies at specialized schools was two to five years, depending on the field of specialization. A period of practical training was usually included, as well as some research activities. These courses were subject to a numerus clausus. They led to the award of the Diploma di Specializzazione, that gave the right to the title of Specialista in the field concerned. Entrance to DR programmes was based on very competitive examinations. The length of studies varied between three and four years as minimum law requirement. Since the latest DR reform (Art. 4 of Law 210/1998), the evaluation of candidates' performance once carried out by national examination boards, while the final titles were attributed by MURST, has become the responsibility of locally-appointed boards at individual university institutions; the DR title is now conferred by the Rector. Areas include Agriculture, Architecture, Economics, Pharmacy, Law, Engineering, Humanities, Modern Languages and Education, Biomedicine, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Natural Sciences, Physics and Mathematics and Political Science. Corsi di Perfezionamento (CP) form a special branch of university studies. They should be classified as Post-Lauream (postgraduate) courses but their admission requirements may sometimes be an academic qualification below a Laurea degree. They also offer opportunities for professional retraining and for continuing education. The maximum duration of studies should not exceed one year. Attendance in Corsi di Perfezionamento used to lead to an Attestato di Corso di Perfezionamento and in some cases to a Diploma di Perfezionamento. This category used to include a considerable number of Master's programmes derived from the UK and US systems. The Italian Master's degrees had been adapted to the Italian system by making them third level university qualifications which, thanks to their problem-orientated approach and professional character, proved complementary to the theoretical contents of the long DL programmes.


Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Infant and Elementary school teachers  follow a four-year university curriculum (Laurea in Scienze della Formazione Primaria)(LSFP) which was first instituted in 1996 (DPR 471/1996). In LSFP two different programmes prepare the students for teaching in infant school or in elementary school. Students must choose at the end of the second year. The second two-year period for elementary school is centred upon a few disciplines to take into account the structure of elementary school.

Training of secondary school teachers

Prospective secondary teachers, who are educated  in four- to five-year Corsi di laurea at almost all university faculties, are entitled to teach either after completion of a two-year "Post-Lauream course" in a specialization school, or after passing the relevant state examination entitling to teach a specific subject (or group of subjects) at a defined level, i.e. lower secondary or upper secondary (after obtaining the traditional "abilitazione all insegnamento").The reorganization of teacher education and training in conformity with the latest university reform remains to be defined.


Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

The Consorzio Nettuno is an official university-business consortium which provides distance higher education. Voice, data, video and print are all available resources for distance education. Internet plays an important part of distance education and gives the students an opportunity to obtain IT Security degree(s), healthcare/administrative degree(s) or Leadership degree(s) in Italy. The Consorzio Nettuno is made up of a number of universities and public companies, it offers open education programmes that mainly lead to the award of DUs. The Consorzio FOR.COM, a non-profit body recognized by MURST (DM 9.10.97) is the result of cooperation between certain Italian and foreign universities. Within its educational offer, it is worth mentioning new 3-year Laurea programmes as well as post-laurem courses (Master's, specialization courses, other advanced programmes). ICON (Italian Culture on the Net) is a consortium made up of 24 Italian universities. The main seat is at the State University of Pisa. Legally established in 1999, ICON aims to promote and disseminate the Italian language, civilization and culture worldwide. At present, it offers a Laurea programme in Italian Language and Culture for Foreigners.There are also two open universities (decree 17.4.03): Guglielmo Marconi Open University (Universitą telematica Guglielmo Marconi) and Tel.m.a Open University (Universitą telematica Tel.m.a).

Lifelong higher education

Universities also offer short advanced study courses (falling within the category of corsi di perfezionamento) and post-experience courses in the framework of lifelong education. A degree is not obligatory for admission. An Attendance Certificate is issued at the end of these courses. There are also Universities of the Third Age.

Other forms of non-formal higher education

Alongside the state higher education system, other educational opportunities have been established locally by the Regions which establish and manage vocational programmes in a broad variety of fields and at various levels. They train participants for better occupational opportunities in industry, trade and crafts. With respect to university education, regional post-secondary courses offer an alternative route which is more centred on specific technical notions and skills. They are open to holders of a secondary school leaving qualification (corsi post-diploma) or to Laurea graduates (corsi post-laurea). Their main purpose is to train professionals in new functions required by the ever-changing production system and the further specialization of already existing professional profiles. Some post-secondary professional programmes are set up jointly by the Regions and the Ministry of Labour and benefit from financial contributions from the European social fund. The regional office for professional training (Assessorato Regionale alla Formazione Professionale) or information offices run by local bodies (e.g. the Informagiovani) give information on regional/provincial professional programmes.




Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

MIUR - Ministero dell' Istruzione, dell' Universitą e della Ricerca (Ministry of Education, University and Research)

Head: Letizia Moratti, Minister

Direzione Generale Universitą e AFAM
Piazale Kennedy, 20
00144 Roma

Tel: +39(06) 58491



Role of governing body: Plans and coordinates developments and changes in the university and university-level systems.


CUN - Consiglio Universitario Nazionale (National University Council)

Head: Luigi Labruna, Presidente

Piazzale Kennedy 20
00144 Roma

Tel: +39 (06) 59912502-2622




Role of governing body: Elected body carrying out advisory functions.


CRUI - Conferenza dei Rettori delle Universitą Italiane (Italian University Rectors' Conference)

Head: Piero Tosi, Presidente

Administrative officer: Alessandro Bianchi, Segretario generale

Piazza Rondanini 48
00186 Roma

Tel: +39 (06) 684411

Fax: +39 (06) 68441399




Role of governing body: Investigates and analyses issues regarding the university system.


Comitato Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario (National Committee for the Assessment of the University System)

Head: Luigi Biggeri, Presidente

Ministero dell'Universitą e della Ricerca scientifica e tecnologica, P.le Kennedy, 20
00144 Roma

Tel: +39 (06) 5991 2111/2809

Fax: +39 (06) 5991 2223




Role of governing body: Fixes the general criteria for the assessment of university activity.




Admission to non university higher education studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Maturitą

Minimum score/requirement: 36 (before 1999)

Name of secondary school credential required: Diploma dell' Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore

Minimum score/requirement: 60/100 (since 1998-99)

Entrance exams required:

For the Academie di Belli Arti, students who hold secondary qualifications that are not related to education in the arts must sit for an entrance examination. For the ISIAs, applicants must sit for an entrance examination consisting of aptitude tests related to the chosen specialized area.

Numerus clausus/restrictions:

There is a numerus clausus.

Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Maturitą

Minimum score/requirement: 36

For entry to: All universities (before 1998-99)

Name of secondary school credential required: Diploma dell' Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore

Minimum score/requirement: 60/100

For entry to: All universities (since 1998-99)

Numerus clausus/restrictions: Some programmes are regulated by a numerus clausus (e.g. Architecture, Dentistry, Medicine, Surgery, Veterinary Medicine) which is determined every year by the Academic Senate of the University. Individual universities may also decide to limit admission according to place availability, facilities and services.

Foreign students admission

Definition of foreign student: A foreign student is a person who is not a permanent resident of Italy and is enrolled at an Italian higher education institution

Quotas: Yes.

Admission requirements: EU applicants : they are subject to the same conditions as Italians. For admission to degree programmes regulated by numerus clausus they have to pass a selective entrance exam. Non-EU applicants: They are admitted to and enrolled in any degree course according to quotas which vary from one institution and degree programme to the other.

Entry regulations: An entry visa, residence permit and financial guarantee are required.

Language requirements: Good knowledge of Italian. International students must pass an Italian language exam prior to matriculation. Universities organize language courses.

Application procedures:

Apply to individual institution for entry to: Universities

Apply to national body for entry to: All types of universities and programmes.

Apply to:

EU applicants : Student Secretariat of the chosen HEI/ Non-EU applicants : Italian Embassy/Consulate in the home country.



Application closing dates:

For non-university level (technical/vocational type) studies: Apr

For university level studies: May

For advanced/doctoral studies: Apr

Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in home country (System of recognition/accreditation): Contents of individual degree courses are determined autonomously by universities. Individual institutions, however, in doing so have to adopt several general requirements fixed at national level in relation to groups (classi) of similar degree programmes. These national requirements may not bind more than 2/3 of each curriculum. Degree programmes which share the same objectives and same fundamental types of teaching/learning activities are organized in groups called classi di appartenenza (classes of degree programmes).

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

ENIC-NARIC, Centro di Informazione sulla Mobilitą e le Equivalenze Accademiche (CIMEA), Fondazione Rui

Head: Carlo Finocchietti, Director

Administrative officer: Silvia Capucci, Deputy Director

Viale XXI Aprile, 36
I - 00162 Roma

Tel: +39(06) 8632 1281

Fax: +39(06) 8632 2845




Services provided & students dealt with: CIMEA offers information and counselling on academic recognition of diplomas, periods of study, and publishes guides and directories on matters related to academic mobility. CIMEA acts on behalf of MIUR.


Ministerio dell'Istruzione, dell'Universitą e della Ricerca (MIUR)

URST - Uff. X
Piazzale Kennedy 20
00144 Roma

Tel: +39(06) 2080/ 5991-1

Fax: +39(06) 5991 2242



Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: European Convention (CoE) on the equivalence of diplomas leading to admission to universities (Legge 901/1956)

Year of signature: 1953

Name of agreement: European Convention (CoE) on the equivalence of university study periods (Legge 258/1993)

Year of signature: 1990

Name of agreement: European Convention (CoE) on the equivalence of university study periods in foreign languages (Legge 197/1958)

Year of signature: 1956

Name of agreement: European Convention (CoE) on the recognition of university qualifications (Legge 1940/1962)

Year of signature: 1959

Name of agreement: International Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab and European States Bordering on the

Year of signature: 1976

Name of agreement: Joint Convention on the Academic Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications in the European Regions (Legge 148/2002, Arts 2,3)

Year of signature: 1997

Name of agreement: UNESCO Convention on the recognition of higher education studies and qualifications in the States of the Europe Region (Legge 376/1982)

Year of signature: 1979

Bilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign credentials

Name of agreement: DM 11.06.90

Year of signature: 1990

Country/state involved: San Marino

Name of agreement: DPR No. 175

Year of signature: 1994

Country/state involved: Holy See

Name of agreement: Exchange of Letters (16.07.99)

Year of signature: 1999

Country/state involved: San Marino

Name of agreement: Exchange of Notes (14.07.99)

Year of signature: 1999

Country/state involved: Spain

Name of agreement: Law No.

Year of signature: 2000

Country/state involved: Switzerland

Name of agreement: Law No. 103 (Memorandum of Understanding)

Year of signature: 1997

Country/state involved: Slovenia

Name of agreement: Law No. 322

Year of signature: 2000

Country/state involved: Austria

Name of agreement: Law No. 49

Year of signature: 1996

Country/state involved: Germany

Name of agreement: Verbal Proceedings of 24.10.97

Year of signature: 1997

Country/state involved: Australia

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: Guida all'Universitą e alle Professioni

Author: CIMEA della Fondazione RUI

Publisher: Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universitą e della Ricerca (MIUR)

Year of publication: 2006

Title: Study in Italy, website on Italian higher education (

Author: CIMEA della Fondazione RUI

Publisher: Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universitą e della Ricerca (MIUR)



Main student services at national level

Associazione Nazionale degli Organismi per il Dirrito allo Studio Universitario (ANDISU)

Salita Monte Valerio, 3
34127 Trieste

Tel: +39(040) 3595326

Fax: +39(040) 3595319




Category of services provided: Academic and career counselling services


National student associations and unions

CNSU - Consiglio Nazionale degli Studenti Universitari (National Council of University Students)

Piazzale Kennedy, 20
00144 Roma




Student expenses and financial aid

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Guida al Servizi per gli Studenti Universitari 2000-2001

Author: Ministero dell'Universitą e della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica

Year of publication: 2000

Title: Study Abroad 2005-2006

Publisher: UNESCO

Year of publication: 2005



Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:

Agenzia Nazionale SOCRATES/ERASMUS

Via delle Montagne Rocciose, 60
00144 Roma

Tel: +39(06) 54210483

Fax: +39(06) 54210479




Ministero dell' Istruzione, dell' Universitą e della Ricerca (MIUR)

Piazzale Kennedy 20
00144 Roma

Tel: +39(06) 58491



Punto Nazionale di contatto ERASMUS MUNDUS

CIMEA della Fondazione Rui
Viale XXI Aprile, 36
I - 00162 Roma

Tel: +39(06) 86321281

Fax: +39(06) 86322845




Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes

Name of exchange programme: LEONARDO

Name of exchange programme: SOCRATES



Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: 0-10

Highest on scale: 10

Pass/fail level: 6

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: For Laurea: 0-110 (66 as min. passing grade) + con lode/cum laude. For examinations during the degree: 0-30 with 18 as the pass mark. For specialist diploma, the most common scale is: 0-70, 42 being the qualifying grade. AFAM institutions use the same grading scale as universities: 0-110 ( 66 as minimum passing grade) + code lode/cum laude, to assess performance in the final degree examinations; 0-30 with 18 as the passing grade to assess individual subject exams during the degree course.





Data for academic year: 2005-2006

Source: IAU from Italian NARIC-ENIC, CIMEA de la Fondazione Rui, 2006

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