Explore Courses

Italy’s Education System: Highlights & More

Updated on 08 November, 2023

Pragya Sharma

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

With solid roots in education since the 19th century, Italy is a hub for imparting comprehensive knowledge and quality education. The country had a literacy rate of 99.94% in 2021, calculated on citizens’ ability to understand easy and basic sentences.  This blog explores the education system in Italy, what courses students can select in the country, and offers an in-depth look into the credentials needed to do the same. Read on to know more.


Key Highlights About Education System in Italy

Under its Casati Law, Italy has free education for all the children residing in the country. This is extended to them regardless of their nationality. Moreover, it is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 to 16 to attend school and get a formal education. 

Some more highlights about the education system in Italy are:

  • Public schools are more sought after than private systems.
  • The Italian education system is reviewed and implemented to sustain a high literacy rate.
  • The lessons are well-rounded and aim to hone the child’s knowledge via basic practical application.

With a focus on basic education and memorization techniques, both public institutes and private institutions have a good reputation in the country. Let us now take a look at the country's school education system.

School Education System in Italy

Italy’s education structure is divided into five parts: kindergarten, elementary, middle, high, and university. 

Primary and secondary school students are taught basic subjects such as Italian, History, English, Geography, Social Studies, and the Arts. This 10-year system aims at solidifying foundational knowledge in children. This encourages them to explore different avenues when they grow up, including skill-based degrees, art, music, and social sciences. 

A higher secondary class in Italy may have an average of 20 students per class. Here, students explore their interests in various subjects along with other hands-on activities to determine where their passion lies. 

While four years of education is free in the country, some higher secondary education institutions may charge tuition fees. Eligible students with lower income may get a fee waiver.

University Education System in Italy 

Italy is a preferred education hub for many international students due to its rich cultural history, good food, and excellent education programs. Higher education in Italy allows students to navigate the world with a fascinating lens and gain new skills. 

Typically, higher education in Italy includes Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate offered by universities and several professional institutions. Most education institutions are established by the Italian Government with degree programs structured in the credit system.

Some of the popular institutions in Italy for international students are:

University Name

QS Ranking 2024

University of Bologna


University of Milan


Politecnico di Milano


Bocconi University


One of the primary reasons Italy is a preferred country for many students is that the intake requirements are comparatively easy to meet. Some general prerequisites for admission to Italian institutions include:


Students older than 17 years old with graduation from high school

2.Academic achievement: 

GPA average scores or other proof of previous education may change or depend on the university you are applying to.

3.Language Basics: 

Students may require some proficiency in the Italian language. This changes based on the level of your degree and program.

4.Financial security: 

Some private universities in Italy may need students to provide proof of funds to ensure they can sustain themselves in the country.

Credits Needed for Degree in Italy

Students opting for higher education in Italy must complete 180 credits during their Bachelor's education to successfully get their degree. 

Bachelor programs in Italy don’t include education in subjects such as medicine and surgery, law, veterinary science, architecture, pharmacy, dentistry studies, and primary teacher education – these programs require 5 to 6 years, with 300-360 credits. 

Academic Year in Italy

An academic year in Italy is divided into two semesters. The year starts in September/October, depending on your university, and ends in July. Each semester in a university lasts for nearly 20 weeks, including 14 weeks of teaching and 6 weeks of examination.


Italy’s education system is deeply rooted in history and its commitment to excellence. It fosters a high literacy rate through its free and compulsory education for students aged 6 to 16 years.

Moreover, Italy’s Education Ministry closely monitors curricula and assessments to keep them in sync with the rising expectations and maintains a high standard. Pursuing an education in Italy can give international students global exposure and achieve academic excellence.

Read More About Study in Italy:


Can students work in Italy?

After registration with your university and getting an appropriate residence permit, students with an EU passport can work in Italy. International students opting for the education system in Italy will have a set of limits depending on their home country and the terms of their visa. Nevertheless, most visas permit work for limited hours.

How many years is a bachelor's program in Italy?

A Bachelor's program in the Italian education structure is typically four years, but some universities also offer three-year programs.

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Pragya Sharma is a content developer and marketer with 6.5+ years of experience in the education industry. She started her career as a social media copywriter for NIELIT, Ministry of Electronics & IT, and has now scaled up as a 360-degree content professional well-versed with the intricacies of digital marketing and different forms of content used to drive and hook the target audience. She is also a co-author of 2 stories in an anthology based on the theme- women empowerment.

See More

Refer Your Friend & Earn upto ₹15000

Help your friend upgrade to a Global Career and earn rewards together.