Education in Italy attracts many foreigners: it is the most popular country for the Erasmus exchange program. Italy boasts not only world-famous Renaissance artists, beautiful landscapes or pizza but also the oldest system of higher education. It was in this country that the first higher educational institution of Europe, the University of Bologna, was formed, whose history goes back to the era of the 11th-century crusades. That is what makes study abroad in Italy a unique experience that mixed history with modern life.
Benefits of Education in Italy
Why study abroad in Italy? It is relatively easy to enter Italian universities, although the number of places for foreign students is strictly limited. The procedure for admission to universities in Italy is quite simple. In most areas, there are no entrance exams (the exception is the programs in medicine, law, architecture and some others), it is even not necessary to present a certificate of proficiency in Italian. Applicants need to provide only a school certificate.
Compared to many European countries, Italy stands out with a low tuition cost – about 4000 Euros per year for studying in Italian university. In addition, a foreign student has the opportunity to receive a social scholarship from the state, which is issued to all those who need additional funding. According to it, a student can receive up to 14000 euros per year, which covers expenses not only for training but also for living in the country. University scholarships are also common in Italy, the size of which can range from 1000 euros to 10000 euros.
Freedom of choice: This may surprise a student, but there are no fixed educational programs in Italian universities. What a student will study, for the most part, depends only on him/her : he chooses courses and lecturers. This will allow the student to avoid objects that are useless for him/her but forces him/her to carefully monitor the available courses and the number of credits earned.
There are many colleges in Italy for American students. Similarly, you will find different study abroad programs in Italy. The best programs that are worth going to study in Italy are design, architecture and urban planning. They are taught at polytechnic universities, which have recently begun to gain immense popularity. Today, the Turin Polytechnic and Milan Polytechnic are as well-known as the University of Bologna – this makes studying abroad in Italy the best.
What Is Worth Knowing About Study Abroad in Italy?
A huge number of Italian universities are state-owned. Recently, the government has reduced subsidies to higher education institutions by 15%. Unlike universities in English-speaking countries such as the UK, USA, and Canada, Italian universities lack the practice of endowment – private funding, which is based on voluntary donations.
The reduction in university subsidies negatively affects the higher education system as a whole: it is becoming more closed to foreign specialists. A decrease in teachers’ salaries and a decrease in the number of scientific staff leads to the fact that it becomes almost impossible to build an academic career in Italy for a person who does not have good connections in this field.
The Higher Education System in The Country
Until recently, undergraduate studies lasted 4 years, the first stage of higher education has been reduced to three years. Studying at Italian universities involves a large number of theoretical courses. Seminars and practical exercises are much less. Many Italian universities traditionally assign the degree of “doctor” even to those who have completed their undergraduate studies.
The length of the master’s programs in Italy is two years. A master’s degree does not affect career building in Italy (unlike, for example, from France or Norway), therefore, education is continued mainly by students who intend to receive a Ph.D. degree in the future.
The third stage corresponds to the European degree Ph.D. and involves research with a small number of workshops. Education lasts from 3 to 5 years, where the first year is devoted to classes, and the subsequent ones to work on your own research. Upon completion of training, the student is awarded a doctoral degree.
Education in The Country in English
Due to the fact that Italy is one of the most popular countries for studying among foreigners, the number of programs where the teaching language is English has increased. So, since 2011 their number has increased by 40%. The level of English proficiency required for admission to an Italian university must not be lower than Intermediate (min. IELTS 5.5) for a bachelor’s degree or Upper-Intermediate (min. IELTS 6.5) for a master’s degree.
Grade System and Performance Monitoring
The session in Italian universities is very similar to the European examination time. The main format for examinations is oral: the student answers the teacher with questions that were provided to him/her in advance. Most often, the session lasts two weeks, it takes place in February and July.
The mark is given in points: from 0 to 30. If a student scores more than 18 points, then the exam is considered passed. In turn, 30 points is an exceptional grade, which is received by less than 5% of students.
At each stage of higher education, the student is obliged to write and defend a thesis. As in the UK universities, graduate work at the undergraduate degree is more abstract in nature, while in the master’s and doctoral programs it is already an original study.
Academic Career and Teaching Staff
The initial academic position in Italy is a researcher. A candidate for this position needs to submit his research work and pass an interview. It should be noted that they work on this position under a temporary contract. Full-time employees are associate professors and professors. To get a position in the state, you must have good Bibliometrics indicators, that is, a large number of scientific publications and their high citation.
Academic staff is very busy: they are engaged in research, teach and solve various administrative tasks. During the year, 250 working hours are spent on classes and 100 on organizational and administrative affairs. The salary of the researcher is approximately 1500 EUR per month, associate professor – 2500 EUR and professor – 3200 EUR.