Italy certainly has plenty of charms to tempt tourists and international students alike: a diverse landscape; an immense cultural and historical legacy; iconic and historic sites including Rome’s Colosseum and Pisa’s Leaning Tower; incomparable cuisine; an impressive history of inventions and discoveries… and, of course, universities in Italy include some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious.
There are around 32,000 international students in Italy, including independent students and those on exchange programmes. Italy was one of the 4 countries to first implement the Bologna Process, a higher education reform that’s now being implemented throughout Europe. The country has a rich history and tradition of higher education and great intellectuals.
Italy has several levels of higher education. Completing undergraduate studies (bachelor’s degree – ‘laurea’) can lead to master’s studies and earning a master’s degree (‘laurea magistrale’). Undergraduate studies typically take 3 years to complete and master’s studies take 1 year. Following the completion of your masters studies you can continue with a PhD which usually lasts 3 academic years.
The highest-ranked Italian university at 170th in the world, Politecnico di Milano ranks particularly well for its art and engineering courses, with places in the top 20 of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 for art and design (joint seventh), architecture (14th), civil and structural engineering (14th), and mechanical engineering (29th). Notable alumni of Politecnico di Milano include celebrated Italian chemist Giulio Natta, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 for his work in high polymers.
Not far behind is Università di Bologna (UNIBO), at joint 188th. UNIBO lays claim to being one of the very first universities established, although the actual date of its founding is uncertain. If the name sounds familiar, that may be due to Italy’s continued leadership in higher education. The University of Bologna gives its name to the Bologna Process, the ongoing project to make academic systems and qualifications more compatible across Europe.
A new entry in the QS World University Rankings at joint 192nd, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa was established in 1810 by a Napoleonic decree. It’s a small university, with only around 500 students enrolled. It ranks within the world’s top 400 universities for physics and astronomy and receives the highest score among all Italian universities for its research citations per faculty member (18th in the world).
Also new to the World University Rankings in 2018, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa is also located in Pisa and ranked joint 192nd in the world this year. Established in 1987 from previously existing institutions, the university mainly operates in the applied sciences and is part of the Pisa University System alongside Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Università di Pisa.
Ranked joint 223rd in the world, Sapienza - Università di Roma is another of the world’s oldest universities, founded in 1303. Sapienza is one of the largest European universities, with a large student population (110,000) of which around 6,000 are from outside Italy. It counts six Nobel laureates among its alumni and faculty members, including particle physicist and inventor Carlo Rubbia.
Along with such universities as Bologna, Paris, Oxford and Cambridge, that of Padua was one of the first to exemplify the idea of a Gymnasium Omnium Disciplinarum - an educational model that can now be seen throughout the world. Though the university's year of foundation is generally given as 1222, that in fact only marks the date from which there are records of a fixed and publicly recognised university established within the city and so the actual foundation can be dated even early.
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities in Finland
|#||Name||Average tuition fees|
|1||Politecnico di Milano||3898,20 EUR/year|
|2||Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa||4,000 EUR/year|
|3||University of Tampere||2,279 USD/year|
|4||University of Bologna||2,100 EUR/year|
Accomodation and living costs
The overall living costs for students in Italy range between 700 and 1.000 EUR/month, this including: accommodation, food costs, public transportation, local travel and/or entertainment.
Rome is just a little more expensive, compared to the rest of the Italian cities. Check the average monthly expenses for students in these student cities in Italy:
Bologna: around 750 – 1,100 EUR/month
Florence: around 850 - 1,300 EUR/month
Milano and Rome: between 850 and 1,450 EUR/month
Accommodation Out of the total monthly expenses of EU students, they usually pay around 35 % on accommodation, 9% on transportation and around 12% on tuition fees. Rates for accommodation in Italy are in the international range of 250 – 350 EUR/month.
On average, here are the prices students spend on housing, depending on the type of accommodation:
students that live alone: 400 EUR/month
students living in student accommodation: 250-300 EUR/month
students living with partner/child(ren): around 200 EUR/month.
A small percentage of 2% of the international students live in student halls of residence, the rest choose other housing options. Regardless of where they choose to live, 75% of students are very satisfied with their accommodation, which is above the average of 60%.
The monthly costs for phone bills and other utilities expenses can run to 140 EUR.
Entertainment and social activities can add another 30-40 EUR a week.
Books and other learning supplies and materials should cost you around 40 – 50 EUR/month.
Visa fee Now that you have an overview of tuition fees and living costs in Italy, you can start applying to universities. While you do that, don't forget to also check Italian student visa requirements if you are from outside the EU/EEA, which costs 50 EUR.
Scholarships and funding opportunities
In Italy, scholarships are offered by the Italian government at the national and regional level and Italian universities.
Examples of scholarships you can apply to:
Italian government scholarships for international students – for all degree levels, and for teachers of Italian as a second language. The scholarship duration can be three, six, or nine months.
Some Italian universities such as Politecnico di Milano, University of Padova, Bocconi University, Bologna University, offer scholarship programmes for international students; these are usually between 5,000 and 12,000 EUR/year.
Check out some funding options for studying in Italy.