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Higher education in Italy

  • Number of higher education institutions: 254
  • Number of students in higher education: 1,787,756 (2017/2018, Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation)
  • Number of international students in higher education: 97,436 (2017/2018, Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation)
  • Language of instruction: Most higher education programmes in Italy are taught in Italian language but you will find many taught in English too.
  • Typical tuition fees: In Italy there are both public and private university level institutions. Find out more about costs from the Universitaly and Study in Italy websites.
  • Average length of a full-time higher education programme in Italy:
    • Bachelor’s degree programme: 3 years
    • Master’s degree programme: 1-2 years
    • Doctorate/PhD: 3 years

Quick facts

  • Population: 60,665,551 (2016)
  • Capital: Rome
  • Geographical size: 302,073 km2
  • GDP: € 1.672 trillion (2016)
  • Official EU language(s): Italian
  • Currency: Euro


Founded in the 12th century, Italian universities are the oldest educational institutions in the Western world and they represent the vanguard of higher education.

Studying in Italy enables you to achieve a high-prestige degree recognised throughout Europe, as well as many by international ranking society reports (Shanghai Jao Tong, QS, Times Higher Education).

The quality of teaching and the close relations between Italian and international institutions give students many opportunities for a fulfilling educational path and successful future career.

Italy is in the vanguard in several fields of higher education, many of which correspond to the most developed professional sectors of the labour market.

Students who choose to continue their course of studies in Italy may also enrich their personal experience by living in one of the world’s most important manufacturing countries.

Many prominent higher education institutions are in Italy, especially in the field of Architecture and Design, Arts, Sciences and Engineering, New Technologies, Economics and Management, Agriculture, Human Sciences, Conservation and Restoration of Cultural assets, Medicine, Cinema, Dance, Drama and Advanced Musical Studies.

Last but not least: Italy is famous for its quality of life! It is the home of the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it has a rich tradition of arts, culture, sport and literature – and of course, the beautiful countryside and cities are second to none.

In Italy, you can enjoy a high and unique quality of life and a welcoming atmosphere.