One 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:
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.
Non state funded.
Superior Graduate Schools (Scuola Superiore Universitaria):
These are independent institutions that offer advanced training and research courses specialising 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 programs offered are taught in the Italian language but the number of English language programs available is growing. This is particularly true for graduate level courses. Therefore, it may be possible to find courses and program taught in English if you wish to study in Italy but your Italian language skills are not good enough.