Italy’s university system has three cycles:

  • Cycle I awards a Bachelor’s Degree (Laurea) as academic title or qualification. Degree courses are three years in duration and entail the acquisition of 180 credits*. A minimum requirement for being admitted to a degree course is a secondary school leaving certificate or a comparable foreign qualification (for some Degree courses an admission examination may be required).
  • Cycle II awards the Master’s Degree (Laurea magistrale) as principal academic title. Second level degree studies last two years and entail the acquisition of 120 credits*. A minimum admission requirement is a first level degree course or comparable foreign qualification (for some Degree courses an admission examination may be requested).

For some courses the Laurea magistrale is taken in a single cycle: medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, engineering and architecture. A minimum requirement for admission is an upper secondary school certificate or a comparable foreign qualification. A national competition is organised, taken at single universities, exclusively in Italian, with the contents of examinations the same for all candidates, Italian or foreign.

  • Cycle III awards the Research Doctorate as the principal academic title. These courses have a minimum duration of 3 years. An admission examination (competition) is mandatory, and one must already possess a second level Degree of comparable foreign qualification.

* Credits: Italy’ university system is based on the CFU (university credits) system in compliance with the ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, used to facilitate the international mobility of students). This credit system is student-centred, and is based on the workload required to achieve the goals of a study course, i.e. results through learning and acquired skills.
The workload (the time in which an average student achieves the set goals) over the course of one year is measured as 60 credits, the equivalent of 36/40 weeks of study per year. One credit stands for about 25 hours of work a week.

Registration, enrolment and facility procedures are different for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. See the relative sections:

To find out more
DM 509/1999 and DM 270/2004 istruzioni per l’uso