Italian Higher Education System

Italian academic qualifications are organised into three cycles

First Cycle (Primo Ciclo): Undergraduates Studies
Academic qualification: Doctor

■ Bachelor Degree (Corso di Laurea)
Credits: 180
Years: 3

■ Single-Cycle Degree (Corso di Laurea Magistrale a Ciclo Unico)
Credits: 300/360
Years: 5/6

BACHELOR DEGREE (LAUREA)
Academic qualification: Doctor
This 1st-Level Degree course provides students with appropriate knowledge about general scientific methods and principles focusing on specific professional knowledge. Furthermore, it represents a solid base for those who wish to continue with their studies in a 2nd-Level Degree or a 1st-Level Master. To be admitted to a 1st-Level Degree course you must hold a secondary school diploma or a suitable equivalent foreign qualification. 1st-Level Degrees last three years. In order to obtain such qualification (1st-Level Degree) you must collect 180 credits, i.e. 60 per course year.

SINGLE-CYCLE DEGREE (LAUREA MAGISTRALE A CICLO UNICO)
Academic qualification: Doctor
In Single-Cycle Degrees no distinction between the initial three-year term and the following two specialisation years is drawn. The entire study cycle is structured over a single period of five or six years, at the end of which a 2st-Level Degree (laurea magistrale) is awarded. Single-Cycle Degrees provide students with advanced education and training for professions in specific fields regulated by European directives. Such professions require high qualification levels (Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and Architecture, legal professions). To be admitted to a Single-Cycle Degree you must hold a secondary school diploma. In order to obtain such qualification (Single-Cycle Degree) you must collect 300 credits (for five-year courses) or 360 credits (six-year courses), i.e. 60 per course year.

Second Cycle (Secondo Ciclo): Graduates Studies
Academic qualification: Master Degree Doctor

■ Master Degree (Corso di Laurea Magistrale)
Credits 120
Years: 2

■ 1st-level Vocational Master (Master Universitario di Primo Livello)
Credits: 60+
Years: 1+

MASTER DEGREE (LAUREA MAGISTRALE)
Academic qualification: Master Degree Doctor
A 2nd-Level Degree provides students with advanced education and training for professions in specific fields requiring high-level qualifications. To be admitted to a 2nd-Level Degree you must hold a 1st-Level Degree or a suitable equivalent foreign qualification. The course lasts two years. In order to obtain such qualification (2nd-Level Degree) you must collect 120 credits, i.e. 60 per course year.

VOCATIONAL MASTERS
This Master course aims at reinforcing, broadening and honing the skills and expertise of graduates and postgraduates building on previous training to meet workplace demands. Vocational Masters can be 1st or 2nd-level courses. To be admitted to a 1st-Level Master Degree (i.e. to a second-cycle university course) you must hold a 1st-Level Degree. To be admitted to a 2nd-Level Master Degree (i.e. to a third-cycle university course) you must hold a 2nd-Level Degree. In order to obtain a Master qualification you need 60 credits. The number of available places for Vocational Masters are limited. Admission is subject to passing an entrance test.

Third Cycle (Terzo Ciclo): Postgraduates studies
Academic qualification: Specialist

■ Doctorate (Dottorato di Ricerca)
Credits: -
Years: 3

■ Specialisation School (Scuola di Specializzazione)
Credits: 60-360
Years: 2-6

■ 2nd-level Vocational Master (Master Universitario di Secondo Livello)
Credits: 60+
Years: 1+

DOCTORATE (DOTTORATO DI RICERCA)
It provides students with the skills needed for high-level research activities in universities, public institutions and private associations. To be admitted to a doctoral programme you must hold a 2nd-Level Degree. Candidates must also pass an entrance test, as the number of available places is limited. A Doctoral Degree is awarded after a 3-year study period.

SPECIALISATION SCHOOL (SCUOLA DI SPECIALIZZAZIONE)
It provides students with the knowledge and skills required in specific professional fields. Such courses must be organised pursuant to specific rules or EU directives. To be admitted to a specialisation course you must hold a 2nd-Level Degree. The course duration and credits required for such qualification are defined by the academic structure of each course.

ADVANCED COURSE (CORSO DI PERFEZIONAMENTO)
A refresher/permanent training course that allows students to develop their expertise in order to further improve their professional skills. To be admitted you must hold a 1st or 2nd-Level Degree. Duration may vary. Unlike Masters, no academic qualification is awarded; students will get a certificate listing their acquired skills.

University Credit System (CFU)

The University Credit System (Credito Formativo Universitario – CFU) was introduced to facilitate student mobility at both national and international level. Credits (CFU) are units used to measure the total amount of coursework required in terms of study and class hours. One credit corresponds to 25 working hours. An academic year requires a total of 60 credits. Credits are obtained by passing exams or through further assessments set up by single universities.