Higher education system in Italy
The Italian higher education system is supervised and under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Italian: Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca, MIUR) which was established in 1861 and headquartered in Rome. MIUR is a government ministry that is responsible for determining the policies and direction of the higher education system in Italy.
Types of higher education institutions in Italy
In Italy there are 3 different types of higher education institutions including:
- State Universities: State Universities (Italian: Università statali) in Italy are multidisciplinary public institutions of higher education and research that can provide academic degrees and education in various fields at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Italian State Universities are autonomous and are responsible for their management structure, resource allocation and budgets, staff and student enrolment policies, accreditation of qualifications, quality assurance and University curricula. uniRank currently includes 61 Italian State Universities, including 3 Polytechnics which focus on Engineering and Architecture fields.
- Non-State Universities: Non-State Universities (Italian: Università non statali) in Italy are private institutions of higher education which are recognized by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research and can provide academic degrees and education in various fields at undergraduate and postgraduate level. uniRank currently includes 20 Italian Non-State Universities.
- Superior Graduate Schools: Superior Graduate Schools (Italian: Scuole Superiori Universitarie) in Italy are specialized and autonomous institutions of higher education which can provide academic degrees and research in a few fields at a graduate or post-doctoral level. uniRank currently includes 5 Italian Superior Graduate Schools.
Access to higher education in Italy
Italian students access higher education after a total of at least 13 years of primary (Italian: scuola elementare), lower secondary (Italian: scuola media) and higher secondary school (Italian: scuola superiore) studies, from the age of 6 to the age of 19, and after obtaining the Diploma di Maturità which is the official Italian diploma awarded at the end of the higher secondary school.
Languages of instruction in Italy
University programs and courses are mainly taught in the Italian national languages, Italiano. A limited number of courses are taught in English.
Stages of higher education in Italy
- First stage: the first stage of University-level higher education in Italy usually lasts 3 years, depending on the area of study, and leads to the award of the Bachelor's degree (Italian: Laurea).
- Second stage: once obtained a Bachelor's degree, the second stage of University-level higher education lasts 2 years and leads to the award of the Master’s degree (Italian: Laurea Magistrale) or 1 year (Italian: Master Universitario di 1° livello).
- Third stage: the third and last stage of University-level higher education in Italy requires at least 3 years, depending on the area of study, and leads to the award of the Ph.D. or Doctoral degree (Italian: Dottorato di ricerca). Another third-cycle title is the Specialization Diploma (Italian: Diploma di Specializzazione), gained after a 2 year (Law, Diploma di Specializzazione in Professioni legali) or a 3 to 6 year (Medicine, depending on the field) course of study and research. Lastly, the Master Universitario di 2° livello can be obtained after a Laurea Magistrale and is useful for pursuing further studies, such as a PhD or for professional achievements.
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