Italy is a popular destination for international
students, offering quality higher education, highly-ranked universities and more
affordable tuition fees than many other Western European countries. For these
reasons, many internationals choose to study abroad in Italy.
There are around 32,000 international students in Italy, including independent
students and those on exchange programmes. Italy was one of the 4 countries to
first implement the Bologna Process, a higher education reform that’s now being
implemented throughout Europe. The country has a rich history and tradition of
higher education and great intellectuals, which makes Italy a very attractive
option for international students.
Why Study in Italy?
Some 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 recognised 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:
State universities: These are state funded public universities
which comprises of most of the universities in Italy, particularly the larger
Other publicly funded universities: Funded by Province rather
Private universities: 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
Most of the courses and programmes offered are taught in the Italian language
but the number of English language programmes available is growing. This is
particularly true for graduate level courses. Therefore, it may be possible to
find courses and programmes taught in English if you wish to study in Italy but
your Italian language skills are not good enough.
Italy is a beautiful country located in Southwestern Europe, on the Apennine
peninsula. The country comprises of the mainland Italy and the surrounding
islands. The country stretches southwards almost to the coasts of North Africa.
Italy is a country full of contrasts: stunning old cities, the Mediterranean and
breathtaking natural views, passionate people and simple but delightful food. At
the same time, it is among the 8 most industrialised countries in the world,
hosting many of the world’s biggest companies and research facilities. Italy has
a rich cultural tradition and history as well as many World Heritage Sites that
you might wish to visit during your stay.
Top tourist attractions in Italy include:
The Colosseum: the largest and most famous amphitheater in the Roman world,
built in the first century AD.
Canals of Venice: “The City of Water”, as Venice is called, has over 150 canals.
The main tourist attractions are romantic gondolas and Italian architecture
along the Grand Canal. If you plan on visiting Venice in Italy, don’t forget
about St Mark’s Basilica, located on Piazza San Marco.
Pompeii: a town that was covered in ash and soil in 79 AD Italy, when the
volcano Vesuvius erupted, preserving the italy city under ashes.
Leaning Tower of Pisa: its construction started in 1173 and soon after the tower
began to sink due to a poorly laid foundation.
Lake Como: the lake is shaped like an inverted ‘Y’ and it’s famous for the
attractive villas which have been built here since Roman times.
Santa Maria del Fiore: a famous basilica in Florence; the construction began in
1296 and completed in 1436.
Piazza del Campo: located in the historic center of Siena, Tuscany, this is one
of Europe’s greatest medieval squares.
Towers of San Gimignano: 14 medieval stone towers in Tuscany.
Manarola (Cinque Terre): one of the oldest towns in Cinque Terre, the “Five
Lands” comprising of five villages noted for their beauty.
Cost of Studying & Living in Italy
Tuition fees at Italian universities vary, but they are generally much lower
than in other parts of Western Europe or North America, making Italian
universities an enticing proposition for foreign students. Those who wish to
study in Italy have a chance to receive a quality higher education at an
The cost of tuition fees depend upon several factors. The most important is
whether the university in question is a state or a private institution. State
universities have much lower tuition fees. Tuition fees also depend on your
country of origin; they are more affordable for EU students, but even non-EU
students may find them more affordable than fees in other Western European or
North American universities. Also, fees will depend on your chosen programme and
level of study. For example, you can expect to pay around £680-£800 per year
(€850 – €1,000) for undergraduate tuition fees.
There are various types of financial assistance you may be eligible to receive
while studying in Italy. There are some scholarships available and international
students are eligible to apply for student loans and grants. However, keep in
mind that financial assistance is often merit-based or means-tested so it may
not be available to all students. Check the websites of your chosen universities
to learn about the scholarships and grants that might be available to you.
Another option you may wish to consider to help with your finances is to seek
employment whilst you study. EU students can work in Italy without additional
permission, while for non-EU students employment rights are regulated through
your study visa status. To increase your chances of finding employment you will
find it useful to have good Italian language skills.
Funding and Scholarships in Italy
There are many funding and scholarships that students undertaking an education
in Italy can apply for. Some scholarships not only cover tuition fees but living
costs as well. Scholarships and funding are often limited and are given to the
students based on merit, after an assessment of their previous grades.
Italian government Scholarships for foreign and IRE students:
These are offered to foreign citizens studying in Italy, as well as Italian
citizens studying aroad, and are available for a large number of program types.
Visa of Italy
The entry and visa regulations you need to complete to study in Italy will
depend on several factors; first of which is your nationality.
When it comes to your citizenship and visa requirements to study abroad in
If you are from EU: You don’t need a visa to study in Italy.
If you are from a non-EU country: You will probably need a
student visa to study in Italy. For more details, contact the Italian embassy or
consulate in your country and your desired university to inform yourself about
the details on how to obtain your student visa.
Please note that visa requirements are not the only thing you need to think
about. Anyone who wishes to study abroad in Italy, even if they are from the EU,
need to have a residence permit. EU students have to apply for a residence
permit within 3 months of arrival. For students outside EU, the conditions of
your stay will be handled through your student visa.
All students will need to present details of accommodation, proof of financial
stability and a comprehensive health insurance policy. For these reasons, it’s
highly advisable to seek accommodation as soon as you’re accepted by an Italian
Another thing to keep in mind is your language proficiency. You need a high
competency in Italian if your course and programmes are taught and delivered in
Italian. You may need to complete a language test or show evidence of language
In order to fully appreciate life and study in Italy, you should be able to
speak the Italian language. This will help you to get by in day to day
situations and may also be important for your studies. Many programmes at
Italian universities are taught in English, particularly business related
courses, but most of the available courses are taught in Italian.
You may need to pass a proof of language proficiency test before you can start
your studies or are able to enrol. If your Italian is not great, there are many
language courses offered to international students so you can improve your
language skills whilst you study, or before you arrive in Italy.
- Bocconi University
- Ca' Foscari University of Venice
- Florence University of the Arts
- Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
- ISAD School of Design
- Milano Fashion Institute
For further information please Contact
Vatslya Education Consultancy