Italian in Italy

At the University

A university building

About 60-70 per cent of Italian students attend university. Each of the main cities in Italy has its own university, in addition to a number of private universities. In order to enroll, students must have a high school degree and have passed the maturità , the national exam for graduating seniors. In addition, university departments of architecture, medicine and communications require an entrance exam. Tuition to the university is not prohibitive and one can enroll at any age. Exchange programs are available for foreign students.

In Italy, there is no such thing as a college campus. Rather, classes are held at many locations throughout the city. Students tend to live nearby, either at home or in apartments shared with other students. Most students use public transportation, motorcycles or bikes to travel to school. Dorms are occasionally available to international students or financial aid recipients. However, these "colleges" are not directly affiliated with the universities.

Italian universities distinguish themselves by the level of study and research required for a degree in any given field. While the attendance and study habits of each student are not as highly monitored as in most European and American schools, students are given rigorous oral exams twice per semester. To pass, the student must have a thorough working knowledge of the material, whether he or she has attended classes or not. A student's program of study is always relatively specialized, and the exams a student chooses to take must shape a course of study directly linked to the eventual topic of a thesis.

There are a limited number of graduate schools to which only a few students are elected. A student is admitted to graduate school only with very strong recommendations.