Higher Education System in Italy

Many ideas and inventions arose on Italian soil, which have influenced the entire cultural and social life of Europe. Just think of personalities like Leonardo da Vinci or Galileo Galilei. When it comes to education and science, the Italians undoubtedly played a pioneering role across Europe.

According to a2zdirectory, the higher education landscape in Italy has its origins in the establishment of the University Almer Mater Studiorum in Bologna in 1088 – the Università di Bologna is not only the oldest university in Europe, but also in the entire western world. Significantly, the Bologna Declaration was signed in 1999 in the venerable university town. Even before the first university was founded in Germany, numerous other universities existed in Italy, such as the Sapienza in Rome (1303) and the Federico II in Naples (1224). So who is surprised that since the Middle Ages, those who are hungry for education have been drawn to Italian universities from all over the world? Italy is still one of the most popular countries today, and not just in terms of itSemester abroad, but also in the area of full study.

Types of universities in Italy

The university landscape in Italy looks back on almost a thousand years of history and is accordingly diverse and rich in traditions. This can be seen not least in the designation of the degrees: Italy introduced a two-tier system as early as 2001, but the old designation laurea, a reference to the Roman laurel wreath, has been retained. The first degree, the laurea triennale, corresponds to a bachelor’s degree and the subsequent degree, the laurea magistrale, corresponds to a master’s. The way of imparting knowledge also follows the traditions, Studies in Italy are more theory-based, with lectures and oral exams dominating. The hierarchies also play an important role at universities in Italy.

With almost 2 million students, Italy has one of the largest higher education markets in Europe. The high number of students is mainly explained by the fact that there is no form of training in Italy that is comparable to the dual vocational training that is common in Germany. There are also no universities there that correspond to the type of a German, practice-oriented university of applied sciences.

The following types of universities exist in Italy:

  • 66 State Università (universities)
  • 4 state Politecnici (technical universities)
  • 29 private, state-recognized universities / colleges
  • 3 Scuoli Superiori (for business-related courses in the graduate area)
  • 3 Università per Stranieri (universities especially for international students)
  • 11 Università Telematiche (distance learning universities)
  • Pontifical Universities (all based in Rome)
  • Numerous universities in the fields of music, art, design and restoration (AFAM institutes)

For example, an overview of all Italian universities can be found at www.universitaly.it.

The higher education landscape in Italy is not dissimilar to that in Germany: State universities are clearly in the majority, with private institutions gradually increasing in importance. The universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, most of them also doctorates. The universities for foreigners, the Scuoli Superiori and the Pontifical Universities in Rome are special. As in this country, the universities are divided into faculties (facoltà), at the head of which is a dean (preside della facoltà). Depending on the size of the facility, individual departments are in dipartimenti summarized and the smallest organizational unit are the institutes.

The education and higher education system in Italy is organized nationally by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Ministerio dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, MIUR). The Italian higher education system is thus, in comparison to the German, centralized ; However, the universities act largely autonomously, especially in the areas of finance, administration, teaching and research.

Most of the 2 million students are enrolled at state universities, but non-state universities are enjoying increasing popularity, as state-funded universities in particular have been hit hard by huge cuts in the last few years. Only in economically well-off regions with autonomous status (e.g. Trentino-Alto Adige or Friuli-Venezia Giulia) do universities receive additional financial injections from the regional government.

Quality of research and teaching in Italy

The Information Center on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA) is responsible for the accreditation of Italian universities. This institution is also the point of contact when it comes to the recognition of foreign qualifications.

The universities in Italy carry out independent research work in their faculties and institutes, although the focus is of course very different. The universities often cooperate with research centers and with business.

The MIUR is responsible for the content of teaching – this means that the curricula are issued at national level. For this reason, the number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees is much clearer than in this country. There are currently 45 standardized bachelor’s degrees and 95 master’s degrees in Italy.

The higher education landscape in Italy enjoys a very good reputation worldwide, if only because of its considerable age. However, it has suffered from chronic underfunding for a number of years. Only a few Italian universities make it into the international rankings in terms of their overall rating. However, they score points when it comes to the evaluation of individual disciplines – these are often even excellent.

The universities in Italy are of course particularly outstanding in the traditional humanities as well as in the field of art and design. 132 particularly renowned institutes that offer courses in the fields of music, art, design and restoration have come together to form the so-called AFAM association (Alta Formazione Artistica, Musicale e Coreutica). But Italian universities can also score points in the natural and engineering sciences.

So if you want to study in Italy, you should above all look at how the Italian universities are positioned in the respective subject area. Here it is worth taking a look at the various national rankings in Italy.

National rankings

The most important ranking of Italian universities is the annual “La Grande Guida Università” of the daily newspaper “La Repubblica” and the polling institute CENCIS. Almost all universities in Italy take part. The ranking assesses the individual departments of the universities according to criteria such as internationalization, attractiveness of studies or research performance. The results are summarized according to the size of the university (very large to small university and technical university) and for 20 faculties.

The university magazine “Campus” publishes a comparable ranking every year: “Guida all’università”. This ranking also lists the universities according to categories such as size and subject orientation.

Internationalization of the Italian university landscape

Italy has largely implemented the provisions of the Bologna reform. In terms of internationalization, however, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Although the number of international students has doubled in the last ten years, the proportion of students from abroad is only between four and five percent. The university marketing agency “UNI-ITALIA” is constantly driving the internationalization of the Italian university landscape. After all, the Italian universities can lure with comparatively low entry barriers, for example in terms of language level (B2), visa application or a late enrollment time. Not to mention the tremendous cultural appeal that theBel Paese radiates. And the number of English-language study programs on offer has more than doubled since 2011.

Higher Education System in Italy