Universities, schools, kindergartens

Universities

Italy has a large and international network of public and state affiliated universities and schools offering degrees in higher education. State-run universities of Italy constitute the main percentage of tertiary education in Italy, and are managed under the supervision of Italian’s Ministry of Education. Italian universities are among the oldest universities in the world. In particular the University of Bologna (founded in 1088), University of Padua, founded in 1222, and the University of Naples Federico II, the oldest public and laic university in the world, are the oldest state universities in Europe. Most universities in Italy are state-supported.

There are also a number of Superior Graduate Schools (Grandes écoles) or Scuola Superiore Universitaria, offer officially recognized titles, including the Diploma di Perfezionamento equivalent to a Doctorate, Dottorato di Ricerca i.e. Research Doctorate or Doctor Philosophiae i.e. Ph.D. Some of them also organize courses Master’s degree. There are three Superior Graduate Schools with “university status”, three institutes with the status of Doctoral Colleges, which function at graduate and post-graduate level. Nine further schools are direct offshoots of the universities (i.e. do not have their own ‘university status’). The first one is the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (founded in 1810 by Napoleon as a branch of École Normale Supérieure), taking the model of organization from the famous École Normale Supérieure. These institutions are commonly referred to as “Schools of Excellence” (i.e. “Scuole di Eccellenza”).

Italy hosts a broad variety of universities, colleges and academies. Founded in 1088, the University of Bologna is likely the oldest in the world. In 2009, the University of Bologna is, according to The Times, the only Italian college in the top 200 World Universities. Milan’s Bocconi University has been ranked among the top 20 best business schools in the world by The Wall Street Journal international rankings, especially thanks to its M.B.A. program, which in 2007 placed it no. 17 in the world in terms of graduate recruitment preference by major multinational companies. Bocconi was also ranked by Forbes as the best worldwide in the specific category Value for Money. In May 2008, Bocconi overtook several traditionally top global business schools in the Financial Times Executive education ranking, reaching no. 5 in Europe and no. 15 in the world.

Other top universities and polytechnics include the LUISS in Rome, the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Politecnico di Milano (which in 2011 was ranked as the 48th best technical university in the world by QS World University Rankings), the University of Rome La Sapienza (which in 2005 was Europe’s 33rd best university, and ranks among Europe’s 50 and the world’s 150 best colleges and in 2013, the Center for World University Rankings ranked the Sapienza University of Rome 62nd in the world and the top in Italy in its World University Rankings) and the University of Milan (whose research and teaching activities have developed over the years and have received important international recognition). The University is the only Italian member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), a prestigious group of twenty research-intensive European Universities. It has also been awarded ranking positions such as 1st in Italy and 7th in Europe (The Leiden Ranking – Universiteit Leiden).

According to National Science Indicators (1981–2002), a database produced by Research Services Group containing listings of output and citation statistics for more than 90 countries, Italy has an above-average output of scientific papers (in terms of number of papers written with at least one author being from Italy) in space science (9.75% of papers in the world being from Italy), mathematics (5.51% of papers in the world), computer science, neurosciences, and physics; the lowest, but still slightly above world-average, output in terms of number of papers produced is recorded in the social sciences, psychology and psychiatry, and economics and business.

University is available to all students if they have completed five years of secondary school and received an upper secondary school diploma. It is possible for students who have attended vocational schools to attend university. If a student attended a four-year secondary school program, an additional year of schooling is necessary to qualify for university. Those attending university after completing their Diploma di Scuola Superiore go for three years (four years for teaching qualifications) to achieve their Laurea (Bachelor’s Degree).

Level Name Duration Certificate awarded
Pre-school education Scuola dell’infanzia (nursery school) 3 years (age: 3 to 6)  
Primary education Scuola primaria (primary school) 5 years (age: 6 to 11) Licenza di scuola elementare (until 2004)
Lower secondary education Scuola secondaria di primo grado (first grade secondary school) 3 years (age: 11 to 14) Diploma di scuola secondaria di primo grado
Higher education Laurea (Bachelor’s degree)
Diploma accademico di primo livello
3 years  
Laurea magistrale (Master’s degree)
Diploma accademico di secondo livello
2 years  
Laurea magistrale a ciclo unico (Bachelor’s + Master’s degree) 5 years only for:
Pharmacy;
Pharmaceutical chemistry;
Veterinary medicine
Law
Architecture)
Architectural engineering
Conservation of cultural properties
Sciences of primary education
 
6 years, only for:
Medicine and surgery

Dentistry

 
Dottorato di ricerca (PhD)
(Superior Graduate Schools in Italy)
3, 4 or 5 years  

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