Studying a Masters degree on cheap tuition in Italy is a delightful experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You’ll have the opportunity of attending a historic university, benefitting from world class modern research and, of course, enjoying the chance to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe during your degree program.
The following paragraphs will cover everything you need to know about postgraduate studies in Italy, with comprehensive information on Italian universities, courses and fees as well as advice on applications, visas and student scholarships.
The Italian higher education system has very strong and powerful engagement with top European institutions and partners, which means that Italian universities enjoy numerous exchange and double degree agreements with other institutions in Europe. The benefit of this is that a Masters degree from Italy will open the door to other high-quality European institutions.
Typically, an Italian Masters is two years and awarded after obtaining 120 ECTS, made up of ECTS for core courses, electives, seminars and the dissertation (which represents 30 ECTS by itself). Their masters programs are divided into four semesters with a summer holiday between year one and year two.
Most of your Masters will be based on lectures, tutorials, group work and coursework (if you are in the sciences or engineering, then it is possible you will have practical sessions as well). These courses are designed to provide enhanced knowledge of your subject as well as technical, interpersonal, and research skills as well.
Semester four will be used for your dissertation which could be based on theory, a placement or a research work.
The academic timeline in Italy begins from the end of September or beginning of October until July. Generally speaking, a semester system is designed for universities; semester one starts sometime in September/October and ends in January/February. The second semester starts in February and ends in July.
Masters fees and funding
So Majority of the universities and other higher education institutions in Italy determine their own tuition fees and fees vary across universities. However, there is a standard charge for enrolment and maximum level for student contributions to costs and services, which would not go beyond 20% of state funding.
Public university tuition fees (tasse) for domestic and EU students is roughly €1,520 per annum. You may be required to pay an application fee of around €30, but it depends on the institution.
Private institutions are much more expensive than the state-funded universities and could go for at least €12,000 per year. You may also have to pay an application fee of around €100, and if you are taking the national entrance examination, you’ll be charged an additional fee.
Scholarships and financial support
Generous financial support is available to both international and Italian students, as scholarships, student loans, housing assistance, university restaurant meal tickets and more. Financial support is need based and you will have to submit bank statements or tax returns to demonstrate your financial needs.
Applying for a Masters in Italy
Within the Bologna three-cycle framework, a bachelor (or an international equivalent) is required to undertake a Masters degree.
You may also have to sit an entrance exam to gain admission into a university in Italy. If you are applying for Masters degrees in the area of economics, management, finance and business studies, for example, you are likely to be asked for a GMAT or GRE.
If you want to do a Masters in Italian, you will have to demonstrate a good command of the language and universities will probably ask for an Italian proficiency certificate.
It is important to begin your search for a suitable Masters programme in Italy at least a year before your proposed course date. The documentation required are as follows:
- All transcripts and diplomas (and translations, if applicable).
- A full CV.
- Two to three references will be required.
- You’ll need a personal statement discussing your attributes, why you are the best candidate for the programme and what your career hopes are.
- A health insurance certificate, if you hail from outside the EU.
Evidence of previous qualifications (diplomas and transcripts) will need to be submitted with an Italian translation, although some universities accept documents in English and French. Additionally, you may have to submit these documents after converting the marks or grades obtained in your home country in accordance with the grading system that is followed in Italy. NARIC can help with degree and grade equivalences.
If you’re from outside the EU, you will need to submit a pre-enrolment application for your degree programme at the nearest Italian embassy or consulate.
Masters student visas in Italy
If you hail from the European Union, then you are able to stay in Italy without any restrictions and without the need to obtain a student visa. You will, however, be required to hold a valid identity card or passport and to register your residency with the nearest local police station or town hall once you have a verifiable address in Italy.
If you are an international student from outside the EU, you are expected to apply for a student visa. This can be applied for at an Italian embassy or consulate in your home country. Given the length of time required to obtain a visa (a minimum of three months), you are encouraged to apply as soon as you have received and accepted your offer of admission, which is necessary for the visa application.
Please note that student visas carry a standard service charge of €50. You will need the following:
- Visa application form
- Recent passport-style photo
- Passport or travel document valid for at least three months after the visa expiry date
- An admission letter from your university in Italy
- Proof of financial support for the duration of your studies amounting to €448.07 per month
- Health insurance certificate
- Proof of an accommodation in Italy
If you’ve received a bursary, scholarship or grant from any organisation or institution, you’ll be required to supply proof of this award.
The moment you are in Italy, holders of study visas should register with the local authorities (at a police station or town hall) within eight days of your arrival to obtain a permit of stay for academic purposes (permesso di soggiorno). You’ll be required to submit a complicated application form at your local post office and send a fee of €30, along with:
- A copy of your admission letter
- A copy of your student visa
- Proof of your financial ability – there may be a small fee to photocopy and certify this document at the post office
- An Italian stamp that cost €16 (marca da bollo)
- A receipt of payment for the Electronic Permit of Stay, which costs €70.46 Next steps
Creating employment opportunities have always been high on the Italian government’s agenda and tertiary education institutions are expected to prepare their graduates for the world of work.
Italy is houses world-renowned arts institutions, multi-nationals and well-known research institutes and companies (notably in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry).
Masters programs are seen as an asset by several employers, as is international experience (and language skills) – not just in Italy but across the world.That said, put in the effort and study on low tuition in Italy