The Italian Educational System

The university system is organized in 3 academic cycles: the 1st cycle is the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree (Laurea triennale) and lasts 3 years. This Bachelor's grants access to a Master's degree (Laurea Magistrale) which is considered the 2nd cycle, and gives access to 3rd cycle PhD programmes (Dottorato di Ricerca). In addition to the mentioned degree sequence, the system offers other degree programmes within the 2nd and 3rd academic cycles.

Students can apply to an Italian University only if they have a qualification of secondary education awarded after a study period of at least 12 years. If the educational qualification has been awarded in less than 12 years, it has to be accompanied by the academic certification of the examinations taken or a post-secondary title to compensate for any missing years of secondary education.

Main types of degree programmes

  •  FIRST CYCLE degree programme – Bachelor's degree (Laurea triennale)

It gives general scientific methods and contents, as well as specific professional knowledge.

Title required: High school Diploma
Degree earned: Bachelor's degree
CFU: 180; ECTS: 180; Years: 3

  • SECOND CYCLE degree programme – Master's degree (Laurea magistrale)

It provides high qualification in highly specialized areas.

Title required: Bachelor's degree Diploma
Degree earned: Master's degree
CFU: 120; ECTS: 120; Years: 2

  • LONG SINGLE-CYCLE degree programme – "Laurea a ciclo lungo"

These degree programmes provide a master's degree after a single cycle of 5 or 6 years in various disciplines regulated by special European protocols (Medicine, Veterinary medicine, Law, Architecture, etc.).

Title required: High school Diploma
Degree earned: Master's degree
CFU: 360; ECTS: 360; Years: 5+

  • THIRD CYCLE degree programme – Doctoral degree (PhD) – "Dottorato di ricerca" and Specialisation Schools – "Scuole di specializzazione"

It is the highest academic degree. Aimed at developing the professional competence required to carry out high-level research in private companies, public entities, universities and research centres.

Doctoral degree (PhD)
Title required: Master's degree Diploma
Degree earned: Doctoral Degree
Years: 3+

Specialisation Schools
Title required: Master's degree Diploma
Degree earned: Specialisation Degree
CFU: 60-300; ECTS: 60-300; Years: 1-5

  • SHORT SPECIALISATION programmes – "Master di I livello" and "Master di II livello"

It is a postgraduate programme of 1st and 2nd level. It lasts 1 or 2 years and it focuses on specific subjects. It provides practical professional and specialist skills for the placement in the job market.

Master I level
Title required: Bachelor's degree Diploma
Degree earned: Specialisation Certificate
Minimun CFU: 60; Minimum ECTS: 60; Years: 1-2

Master II level
Title required: Master's degree Diploma
Degree earned: Specialisation Certificate
Minimun CFU: 60; Minimum ECTS: 60; Years: 1-2

Grading system

Students' performance may be assessed in various ways, about which information is provided in each Course Unit description. In most instances there is a final, usually oral, exam.

In all cases, in the Italian grading system, students are graded according to a scale ranging from 0 to 30, with 18 as a passing mark. A cum laude may be added to the highest grade (30 e lode), as a special distinction.

The lowest passing grade is 18. The grades from 18 to 30 are all used.

Actual grading curves differ in different degree programmes. The University of Pisa provides an ECTS Grading Table, which shows the actual distribution of examination and final grades among students of each degree programme, in order to facilitate comparison with other grading systems.

Please note that students whose performance is judged below their potential may be allowed to resit an exam in subsequent session, as in principle the objective is for each student to reach the highest level he/she is capable of. For this reason the grading curve tends not to follow a normal "bell" pattern.

When the student graduates, a final numerical grade for the entire degree programme is also given. The minimum passing mark for the final degree is 66/110, whereas the maximum is 110/110. For outstanding students degrees may be awarded a cum laude distinction.

Once again, the actual distribution varies substantially from degree programme to degree programme. In the Diploma Supplement a distribution table for the specific degree programme is provided, to facilitate the interpretation of the final numerical grade.

The Credit System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System is used to measure the student's workload of every single course. Credits measure the workload of class attendance, classwork, laboratory work and individual study. It is possible to obtain credits for other training courses, or project works, group works, theses, internships, knowledge of foreign languages or basic computing skills, and training in communication and public relations.

One credit corresponds to a workload of about 25 hours and the yearly workload for an average study course corresponds to about 60 credits.

Each subject is assigned a number of credits which the student obtains when s/he passes the final examination.


Ultima modifica: Lun 06 Mar 2017 - 11:42

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