How to Apply to a University in Italy -

How to Apply to a University in Italy

Italy, with its rich history and culture, is not only a top tourist destination but also a sought-after place for international students. Home to the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world, Italy boasts over 1,000 international Master’s degrees listed on our portal.

If you have decided to study in Italy, before you start applying for the best university that suits your dreams and professional goals, check some useful information about the admission process. 

1. Prepare to apply

Before applying to a university in Italy, you will first need to check if your qualifications are considered eligible for higher education studies:

  • Financial planning: Check the tuition fees and living costs where you want to study. While Italy offers a picturesque study environment, living costs can vary based on the city and your lifestyle.
  • Eligibility Check: Before diving into the application process, ensure your qualifications align with Italy's higher education requirements.
  • Scholarship Search: Remember to look for scholarship opportunities in Italy. You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
  • University Outreach: Contact your chosen university for an initial assessment. If you meet the criteria, and are from a non-EU country, the next step involves submitting a pre-application request to the Italian embassy or consulate in your region.

Application procedures are often different between students coming to Italy from other European Union countries versus students from other parts of the world. Let’s have a look at the specific differences and similarities.

For EU Students:

  • Eligibility: EU students typically have the same rights as Italian students. They can apply directly to the university of their choice without going through the pre-enrollment process at an Italian embassy or consulate.
  • Tuition Fees: EU students usually pay the same tuition fees as Italian students. Some universities offer a sliding scale based on the family's income.
  • Entrance Exams: For certain competitive programs, such as medicine or architecture, EU students might need to take the same entrance exams as Italian students.
  • Residence: EU students do not need a residence permit to stay in Italy. However, if they plan to stay for longer than three months, they should register with the local Anagrafe (registry office).
  • Health Insurance: EU students can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for medical services in Italy. This card provides access to the necessary state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay.

For Non-EU Students:

  • Pre-Enrollment: Non-EU students need to go through a pre-enrollment process at an Italian embassy or consulate in their home country. This process typically involves submitting the application form and necessary documents.
  • Study Visa: Non-EU students must obtain a study visa before traveling to Italy. This requires a letter of acceptance from the Italian university and proof of financial means, among other documents.
  • Tuition Fees: While the tuition structure might be similar to that for EU students, the actual fees could be higher for non-EU students, depending on the university.
  • Entrance Exams: Non-EU students might need to take entrance exams, especially if they are applying for competitive programs. Some universities might also require an Italian language proficiency test.
  • Residence Permit: Upon arrival in Italy, non-EU students must apply for a residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno) within eight working days. This permit is essential for their legal stay during the course duration.
  • Health Insurance: Non-EU students need to have health insurance coverage. They can either purchase a health insurance policy from their home country (with coverage in Italy) or buy one upon arrival. Another option is to enroll in the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale).

In both cases, it's essential for students to check specific requirements with their chosen university and the Italian embassy or consulate in their home country, as procedures and requirements can vary and change over time.

Find Bachelor's degrees in Italy

2. Application Insights

  • Universities typically rank admitted students based on their previous GPA. Ensure you meet the GPA criteria for your desired course.
  • Some specialized courses like Medicine, Architecture, and Engineering might require specific entrance exams.
  • If your country's education system is shorter than the standard 12 years, you'll need to provide proof of additional exams or studies.

Just graduated highschool and interested to continue your studies at a university in Italy?

Check out Bachelor’s in Italy

3. Document Checklist for Application

Document Checklist for International Students Applying to Universities in Italy:

  1. Application Form: Completed and signed.
  2. Passport: A valid copy of the passport's personal details page.
  3. Passport-sized Photographs: Typically, two recent photos.
  4. Academic Transcripts: Translated and legalized copies of high school diploma and transcripts (or equivalent) and any post-secondary education transcripts.
  5. Declaration of Value (Dichiarazione di Valore): An official document that provides a short description of your qualifications, the name of the issuing institution, and the academic and professional status of your qualifications.
  6. Letter of Recommendation: Usually one or two, depending on the university's requirements.
  7. Statement of Purpose or Motivation Letter: Detailing your reasons for applying to the program and university.
  8. CV or Resume: Detailing your academic and professional experiences.
  9. Language Proficiency Certificate.
  10. Portfolio: For students applying to courses such as architecture, design, or arts.
  11. Entrance Exam Results: If applicable, especially for competitive courses like medicine.
  12. Pre-enrollment Application: For non-EU students, the Italian embassy or consulate might require a pre-enrollment application.
  13. Proof of Financial Means: To demonstrate you can cover tuition fees and living expenses.
  14. Health Insurance: Proof of a valid health insurance policy.
  15. Study Visa: For non-EU students, a copy of the Italian study visa is required.

Note: Always check the specific requirements of the university you're applying to, as they might have additional or different requirements.

Find Master's degrees in Italy

4. Language proficiency requirements

Italian universities offer courses in both Italian and English. Depending on the university, you might have the flexibility to study in Italian but take exams in English. Accepted language tests include:

If students can show they studied their Bachelor's degree in English for at least three years, they don't need to provide an English language certificate.

5. University application deadlines in Italy

In Italy, university application deadlines can vary based on the university and the specific program. However, there are general timelines that are commonly followed for both EU and non-EU students:

For EU Students:

First Cycle (Undergraduate/Bachelor's) and Single Cycle Programs:

  • First Session: Applications usually open in January and close in February. This is followed by entrance exams (if required) in March or April.
  • Second Session: A second round might be available, typically opening in July and closing in August, with exams in September.

Second Cycle (Graduate/Master's) Programs:

  • Deadlines can vary widely. Some universities have rolling admissions, while others might have specific deadlines. It's common for applications to open in the spring (around March-April) and close in the late summer or early autumn (around September).

For Non-EU Students:

Pre-enrollment at the Italian Embassy/Consulate:

  • This process typically starts in February and ends in July. However, it's crucial to check with the specific Italian embassy or consulate in your country as dates can vary.

First Cycle (Undergraduate/Bachelor's) and Single Cycle Programs:

  • First Session: Applications usually open in January and close in February. Entrance exams (if required) are generally in March or April.
  • Second Session: A second round might be available, typically opening in July and closing in August, with exams in September.

Second Cycle (Graduate/Master's) Programs:

  • Similar to EU students, deadlines can vary. Applications often open in the spring and close in the late summer or early autumn.

Visa Application: After receiving the acceptance letter and completing the pre-enrollment, non-EU students should apply for a study visa. The sooner you start this process, the better, as visa processing can take time.

Important Note: Always check the specific deadlines of the university and program you're interested in, as these general timelines might have exceptions. Additionally, some universities might have additional application sessions or specific dates for international programs.

Find Master's degrees in Italy

5. Post-Acceptance Steps

After receiving an acceptance letter from an Italian university, international students need to follow several post-acceptance steps to ensure a smooth transition to their studies in Italy:

  • Study Visa Application (for Non-EU students): Apply for a study visa at the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country. Provide required documents, including the acceptance letter, proof of financial means, health insurance, and accommodation details.
  • Health Insurance: Secure a health insurance policy that covers your stay in Italy. EU students can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Non-EU students can either purchase a policy from their home country or buy one upon arrival in Italy.
  • Accommodation Arrangements: If not already done, finalize your housing arrangements. This could be university dormitories, private rentals, or shared apartments.
  • Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno): Non-EU students must apply for a residence permit within eight working days of arriving in Italy. This is done at the local police station (Questura).
  • University Enrollment: Officially enroll at the university. This might involve paying the first installment of tuition fees and submitting any final documents.
  • Local Registration: Register with the local Anagrafe (registry office), especially if you plan to stay for longer than three months.
  • Bank Account: Consider opening an Italian bank account, especially if you'll be in Italy for an extended period. This can make managing finances, receiving funds, and paying bills more convenient.
  • SIM Card and Connectivity: Purchase an Italian SIM card for your mobile phone to stay connected and benefit from local rates.
  • Orientation and Welcome Events: Attend orientation sessions and welcome events organized by the university. These events are designed to help international students acclimate to the university and Italy.
  • Local Transportation: Familiarize yourself with local transportation options. Consider getting transportation passes or cards if you'll be using public transport frequently.
  • Learn Basic Italian: If you aren't already proficient, consider taking a basic Italian language course. Even if your program is in English, knowing some Italian can enhance your experience in Italy.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including the local embassy or consulate, university contacts, local emergency services, and contacts of close friends or relatives.

Remember, each university might have its specific post-acceptance procedures, so always refer to the guidelines provided by your chosen institution.

For more details regarding applying to an Italian university, you can always check the official website: Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, specifically the section on international students who want to apply to a university in Italy (it is in Italian, but you can surely find a way to translate it online).

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