The Italian University System is organized in three cycles.
· Undergraduate Programmes: Laurea
The "Laurea" (equivalent to Bachelor of Science in the European university system as defined in Bologna in 1998) is an undergraduate degree obtained after a three-year programme of study. Students are admitted if they have a high school diploma or another qualification taken abroad and recognized in Italy.
Once the student obtains the "Laurea", he can either directly enter the job market or continue his studies by the applying to the "Laurea Magistrale" (equivalent to Master of Science) programmes or a 1st level university Master’s Degree.
· Postgraduate Programmes: Laurea Magistrale
The "Laurea Magistrale" degree (equivalent to Master of Science in the European university system as defined in Bologna in 1998) is obtained after two years of postgraduate studies and aims to provide rigorous, advanced training in specific sectors. Those who already have a Laurea in a different field or have attended a vocational school and want to obtain a Laurea Magistrale certificate must first obtain the necessary credits. Students are admitted with a degree or a qualification taken abroad and recognized in Italy.
Once completed, the Laurea Magistrale programme gives access to a Doctoral programme.
It is important to note that some specific study programmes in Italy continue to be five-year programmes in order to comply with EU regulations and to obtain official recognition.
Some universities also offer a specialization or post-graduate degree course aimed at increasing students’ professional education: this is a 1st level university Master’s Degree. This qualification is not part of the European university system as defined in Bologna in 1998.
· PhD - Doctoral Programmes
The PhD degree is the highest level of university education. The aim of this course is to provide students with a high level of education in order to be able to work in specific environments requiring high-level qualifications. The PhD academic qualification is gained after a programme of study and research lasting at least three years under the supervision of a Board of Professors. Applicants must have an Italian or foreign post-graduate / Master’s degree to be admitted and they have to do an admission exam.
Specializing Masters and Continuing Education Programmes
These courses aim to provide the knowledge and skills required for carrying out the functions required by particular professional activities. They qualify people to work in such professions and aim to train specialists for certain professional sectors. These courses last at least 2 years.