Programmes and Admissions for foreign students in Italy

Underaged students’ admission: compulsory education

Underaged foreigners that live in Italy may benefit from the right to education and this does not depend on the regularity of their residence permit.  Every foreign student can be enrolled in a class at any moment during the year, even if the school year has already started.  The choice of the right class depends upon:

  • The age;
  • The school and the course attended in his/her previous nation;
  • The level of his/her preparation, abilities and skills;
  • Special qualifications or certificates.

Admission to degree programmes

All international citizens may get admission to one of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle programmes of Italian higher education.

The two essential admission conditions are that they hold the minimum educational requirements and have a good competence in Italian.

If you want to attend university in Italy, you can find more information about types of higher education institutions (university and non-university sector), admission procedures, study programmes and degrees, student life, welfare services and other useful advice from the following website:

Academic calendar

The academic year in Italy is made up of two semesters. The first semester starts in September/October and ends in January/February. The second semester starts in February and ends in July. The actual start and finish dates will vary in the different universities but each semester lasts around 20 weeks and is made up of a teaching period lasting around 14 weeks and an exam period lasting around 6 weeks.


Exams are held after the teaching period and are mainly oral exams although some courses will have written tests taking place during the semester or before the oral exam. Each exam will have a number of dates offered during the exam period and students can choose which date they wish to take the exam. They are also entitled to turn down a mark and take the exam again if they are not satisfied with the result. Rules apply as to how often a student can take an exam within an examination period.

Grading systems

Examinations are graded according to a scale ranging from 0 to 30, with 18 as a pass mark.
A “cum laude” may be added to the highest grade (30; 30 e lode) as a mention of special distinction.
All examination results are used to calculate the overall degree mark on a scale of 0 – 110. The final result is based on exam results plus the presentation of a project or dissertation in front of a Board of Examiners. The pass mark is 66 and students who obtain full marks of 110 may also be awarded ‘summa cum laude’ (110 e lode).

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