Italian university system

Italian university system

An average student must pass over 20 exams to obtain a degree. Subjects like medicine require students to take around 50 exams most of which are oral rather than written.

Main conditions

There is a number of obligatory and common to all study programmes while the rest are in subjects chosen by students.

Courses, each of which is followed by an exam, can be pursued in any order and, if you fail an exam, you’re permitted to retake it any number of times. Attendance at lectures is mostly voluntary, leaving students free to pursue their studies at home if they prefer, although some professors insist on attendance at lectures. The regular submission of essays throughout a course isn’t generally required, although students must write a thesis (usually of between 50,000 and 60,000 words) at the end of their course in order to earn their degree.

The number of years necessary to complete a degree at an Italian university is a minimum of four years but some (medicine and architecture) are for six. However, few students manage to complete their degrees in the minimum period and it’s usual for students to take seven or eight years.

The qualifications

Italian university systemThe qualifications awarded at Italian universities include a university degree, a specialized diploma and a research doctorate. Universities have recently introduced a university diploma or short degree course lasting for two or three years.


Italian universities aren’t usually providing student accommodation. The majority of students make their own arrangements and there is usually a university notice board where you can find rooms for rent. You should expect to pay around 300 euro for a room in major cities like Rome.

EU nationals who wish to complete part of their studies at an Italian university may be interested in the Erasmus programme funded by the European Commission. Under this programme, students don’t pay fees for attending an Italian university and grants are available to cover the costs of moving, language training and a higher cost of living.

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