Italy is a fascinating country whether you come to study or simply visit, but as an international student, you can do both.
Home to one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Bologna, which also initiated the university system that we know today, you can’t go wrong with choosing to study in Italy.
Before you start applying for a top Italian university, check some useful information about the admission process.
1. Italian universities to consider for your studies
Here are some top universities in Italy you should consider for your study abroad adventure:
- Politecnico di Milano
- SDA Bocconi School of Management
- Politecnico di Torino
- University of Pisa
- University of Padova
- Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
- Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
- Tor Vergata University of Rome
Check out more universities with English-taught Masters in Italy.
2. 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:
- Check the tuition fees and living costs. Cities in Italy might be beautiful, but can be fairly expensive depending on the limits of your budget.
- Contact the university you are interested in and ask for a prior assessment.
- The university will give you feedback regarding your eligibility; if you meet the admission requirements, then you will have to submit a pre-application request to the Italian embassy or consulate in your area.
- The Italian embassy or consulate will submit your application and documents to the Italian higher education institution you chose to apply to.
- The Italian embassy or consulate publishes a list of admitted candidates usually at the end of August.
3. University application tips
Admitted students are usually ranked based on their grade point average (GPA) from previous studies. Check with your favourite universities and see the minimum GPA you need to obtain in order to qualify for the degree you wish to study.
You may have to attend specific admission exams for certain specialised fields of study, such as:
Students from countries where admission to university is possible after 10 or 11 years of study must prove that they have passed all necessary examinations for two years or one year, in order to reach the total of twelve years of study.
4. Language requirements for the Italian university application
Italian universities offer study programmes taught both in Italian and English. However, most English study programmes are available at postgraduate level (Master’s degrees and PhD courses).
At some Italian universities, you may have the option to apply for degrees taught in the Italian language, but take the assignments and exams in English. The following are the language tests accepted by universities in Italy:
Italian language tests
- CILS – exam may be taken in Italy and at Italian Institutes of Culture worldwide
- CELI – take the exam at certified centres in partnership with the University of Perugia
English language tests
Students who can prove that English was the medium of instruction of their Bachelor's degree (at least for three years) are exempted from providing any English language certification.
5. Required university application documents
- Identity document
- Passport type photograph
- Academic transcript
- University application form
- Detailed study programmes/course description (must contain the number of hours of the courses or training activities that you have completed according to your academic curriculum)
- Letter of recommendation
- Letter of motivation
- Language proficiency (English or Italian)
- Portfolio (only for applicants to architecture, urban planning, or any design programme)
- Official score SAT or ACT
6. University application deadlines in Italy
Mid-April to mid-May: contact the Italian embassy/consulate to receive a Letter of Academic Eligibility and Suitability (Dichiarazione di Valoro in Loco).
Deadlines for applications may vary according to each institution, so always check with the university you are interested in and try to apply as early as possible.
7. Final steps after receiving your acceptance letter
Studying in Italy means a few extra steps after the application process:
- Apply for a student visa if you need one (mainly students that come from non-EU/EEA countries).
- Apply for a residence permit by registering with the local police (Questura), within eight working days of your arrival in Italy.
- Prepare a health insurance plan that covers at least 30,000 EUR. EU citizens holding a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) have access to the same range of medical services as the Italian citizens. Both EU (without an EHIC) and non-EU citizens can either pay for a health insurance policy from their home country before they depart for Italy or can purchase one as soon as possible after their arrival. They can also subscribe to the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale - S.S.N.).
- Students must officially enrol in the university after arriving in Italy before they can start their classes.
For more details regarding applying to an Italian university, you can always check the official website: Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research.