The higher education sector in Italy consists of two main parts, the university sector and the non-university sector. While the latter focuses on specialised areas of activity (such as language learning, military studies and so forth) the former sector is the larger one and deals with mainstream education. Within the university sector there are clear differences between the ways in which universities are established and the way in which they are classified. The majority are state (public) universities although there are a number of non-state (private) institutions as well as some smaller groupings including around distance delivery.

Oversight of university education si provided by a number of bodies including the National University Council (CUN), the University Student National Council (CNSU - in which the representatives of the various categories of university staff and students participate), and the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI).

Overview of Types of Universities and Qualifications at Undergraduate and Post graduate Level

(i) Structure

  • State Universities (Università statali)

Essentially state bodies, these universities are semi-autonomous with their own institution-specific rules and regulations. Led by a Rector, the key governing bodies are the Academic Senate, and the Board of Directors.

  • Non-State Universities (Università non statali, legalmente riconosciute)

Such institutions are established by the Minister of Education via a decree awarded after due consideration of the statutes, its organisation and governance has been undertaken. The major difference from state universities is the funding and governance models.

  • Technical Universities (Politecnici)

A sub-set of universities are called "Politecnici" (technical universities) and these relate to the technical areas of architecture and engineering.

  • Universities for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri)

In essence, these universities are designed to teach Italian language, culture and literature to non-Italians.

  • Higher Schools (Scuole Superiori)

Specialist institutions that deal solely in postgraduate (research) study within the 3rd cycle as defined by the Bologna process.

  • Telematic Universities (Università telematiche)

State decreed universities which exist to support and provide distance learning programmes mainly through e-learning approaches.

(ii) Access

The basic entry requirements to the new degree courses are defined as follows:

The general access requirement to the first cycle is the Italian school leaving qualification, the Diploma di Superamento dell'Esame di Stato conclusivo dei Corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore

To get into the Laurea Specialistica (LS) second level, access requires the Italian first degree (L) or an equivalent foreign degree and the course lasts for two years

For the third cycle, (Dottorato di Ricerca (DR) or Italian doctorate degree, access is based on the Italian second degree (LS/LM)

(iii) Qualifications

Italy has a three cycle degree structure.

First Cycle (undergraduate studies) leads to a Corsi di Laurea (CL) for first degree courses. These are designed to provide basic levels of knowledge and professional skills. They last generally for 3 years and equate to 180 ECTS[1]. Those students gaining 180 credits are awarded the Laurea (L).

Second Cycle (graduate studies) can refer to two types of qualification. There is the second degree or Laurea specialistica (LS) that last for 2 years and consists of 120 ECTS or the 1st Level Masters degree (Master universitario di 1° livello) which is at least 1 year in duration and consists of 60+ ECTS.  There is also a 2nd level Masters degree (Master universitario di 2° livello) that is also (1+ years and 60+ ECTS)

Third Cycle (postgraduate studies) is essentially the research doctorate degree or dottorato di ricerca. This takes at least 3 years

Finally, there are also some specialised degrees called diploma di specializzazione[2] that last for between 1 and 5 years and range between 60 and 300 ECTS.

Universities Teaching either Economics or Business

  1. Marche Polytechnic University (Università Politecnica delle Marche)
  2. University of Aosta Valley (Università della Valle D'Aosta)
  3. University of L'Aquila (Università degli Studi de L'Aquila)
  4. University of Calabria (Università della Calabria)
  5. University of Bari (Università degli Studi di Bari)
  6. Libera Università Mediterranea( Jean Monnet di Casamassima)
  7. University of Sannio (Università del Sannio di Benevento)
  8. University of Bergamo (Università degli Studi di Bergamo)
  9. University of Bologna (Università degli Studi Alma Mater di Bologna)
  10. Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Libera Università di Bolzano)
  11. University of Gastronomic Sciences (Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche)
  12. University of Brescia (Università degli Studi di Brescia)
  13. University of Cagliari (Università degli Studi di Cagliari)
  14. University of Molise (Università degli Studi del Molise)
  15. University of Cassino (Università degli Studi di Cassino)
  16. University Carlo Cattaneo (Libera Università "Carlo Cattaneo" - LIUC)
  17. University of Catania (Università degli Studi di Catania)
  18. University of Chieti (Università degli Studi G.D'Annunzio di Chieti)
  19. Kore University of Enna (Università Kore di Enna)
  20. University of Ferrara (Università degli Studi di Ferrara)
  21. University of Florence (Università degli Studi di Firenze)
  22. Italian Institute of Human Sciences (SUM - Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane di Firenze)
  23. University of Foggia (Università degli Studi di Foggia)
  24. University of Genoa (Università degli Studi di Genova)
  25. University of Lecce (Università degli Studi del Salento)
  26. IMT Institute for advanced studies (Scuola IMT - Istituzioni, Mercati, Tecnologie - Alti Studi - Lucca)
  27. University of Macerata (Università degli Studi di Macerata)
  28. University of Messina (Università degli Studi di Messina)
  29. University of Milan (Università degli Studi di Milano)
  30. University of Milan - Bicocca (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
  31. Politecnico di Milano
  32. Sacro Cuore Catholic University (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore]])
  33. Luigi Bocconi University (Università "Bocconi" Milano)
  34. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Libera Università "Vita Salute S.Raffaele" Milano)
  35. University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia)
  36. University of Naples Federico II (Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II")
  37. Second University of Naples (Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli)
  38. Parthenope University of Naples (Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope")
  39. University of Padua (Università degli Studi di Padova)
  40. University of Palermo (Università degli Studi di Palermo)
  41. University of Parma (Università degli Studi di Parma)
  42. University of Pavia (Università degli Studi di Pavia)
  43. Institute for Advanced Study of Pavia (Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia)
  44. University of Perugia (Università degli Studi di Perugia)
  45. University of Pisa (Università degli Studi di Pisa)
  46. Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant'Anna di Pisa)
  47. Scuola Normale Superiore (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)
  48. Basilicata University (Università degli Studi della Basilicata)
  49. University of Reggio Calabria (Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria)
  50. University for foreigners of Reggio Calabria (Università per Stranieri "Dante Alighieri" di Reggio Calabria)
  51. Sapienza University of Rome (Sapienza Università di Roma)
  52. University of Rome Tor Vergata (Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata")
  53. Roma Tre University (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)
  54. LUISS University of Rome (Libera Università Internazionale Studi Sociali "Guido Carli" LUISS-ROMA)
  55. S. Pio V University of Rome (Libera Università degli Studi "S. Pio V")
  56. Maria SS. Assunta University of Rome (Libera Università degli Studi "Maria SS. Assunta")
  57. Università degli Studi Europea di Roma
  58. University of Salerno (Università degli Studi di Salerno)
  59. University of Sassari (Università degli Studi di Sassari)
  60. University of Siena (Università degli Studi di Siena)
  61. University of Trento (Università degli Studi di Trento)
  62. University of Trieste (Università degli Studi di Trieste)
  63. University of Turin (Università degli Studi di Torino)
  64. Polytechnic University of Turin (Politecnico di Torino)
  65. University of Udine (Università degli Studi di Udine)
  66. University of Urbino (Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo")
  67. University of Insubria (Università degli Studi dell'Insubria)
  68. University of Venice (Università "Cà Foscari" di Venezia)
  69. University of Eastern Piedmont (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale "Amedeo Avogadro" - Vercelli)
  70. University of Verona (Università degli Studi di Verona)
  71. Tuscia University (Università degli Studi della Tuscia)

International rankings

According to Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings for 2010 there were no Italian universities ranked in the top 100. However, in terms of bands in which specific Universities fall, the following can be shown:

Institution Name


University of Milan
University of Pisa
University of Roma - La Sapienza
University of Padua
University of Bologna
University of Florence
University of Turin
Polytechnic Institute of Milan
Scuola Normale Superiore - Pisa
University of Ferrara
University of Genova
University of Naples Federico II
University of Palermo
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
Polytechnic University of Turin
University of Bari
University of Parma
University of Pavia
University of Perugia
University of Roma - Tor Vergata
University of Siena


[1] European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a standard for comparing the study attainment and performance of students of higher education across the European Union and other collaborating European countries. For successfully completed studies, ECTS credits are awarded. One academic year corresponds to 60 ECTS-credits that are equivalent to 1500-1800 hours of study in all countries irrespective of standard or qualification type and is used to facilitate transfer and progression throughout the Union.

[2] Offered according to the national legislation or EU directives for specific areas of study.