Study in Italy – Why study in Italy ?

Italy is not only a wonderful, colourful and historical destination, but it is also home to a number of Europe’s most highly rated institutions of higher education, attracting over 35,000 international students.

This geographically diverse and culturally fascinating country is well known for its architectural and artistic riches, and the beauty of its coastline. Studying and living among such a wealth of architectural and artistic  masterpieces is an unforgettable experience.

Italy is an affordable study destination, with reasonable tuition fees and living costs, as well as high-quality teaching and research facilities. Whatever your interests, you are spoilt for choice when you decide to study in Italy. 

Study in Italy – choosing a university

The most popular study destinations in Italy are without a doubt Rome and Milan.

If you enjoy urban life, then the splendour and bustle of Rome will appeal to you. You will find a broad range of courses at La Sapienza, founded in 1303 and ranked third in the country, or you could consider studying medicine or sciences at the acclaimed Tor Vergata, or social sciences at the private LUISS.

Milan is the epicentre of fashion, style, and design,  and home to the outstanding University of Milan and the Polytechnic University of Milan, as well as world-renowned Bocconi, Cattolica, and the European Institute of Design.

If you are looking for a smaller city and perhaps a less frenetic pace of life, get in touch with us at Elab. The friendly staff in our two Italian offices will help you translate your wishes into an ideal study destination.

Study in Italy – popular university rankings

Italy boasts 69 public universities offering a broad range of courses in English, at a reasonable price. 

Choosing where to study in Italy depends on several factors, for example: the course, the language of teaching, the location and the reputation of the university where you hope to study. 

Although rankings only provide one element of the entire picture, they are useful when you are trying to familiarise yourself with Italian universities. Below, you will find the QS world rankings of the top Italian universities, 2024. 

University Ranking QS Ranking THE
Polytechnic of Milan 123
University of Bologna 154 172
Sapienza University of Rome 134 194
University of Padua 219 141
University of Milan 276 301
Polytechnic of Turin 252
University  of Naples, Federico II 335  
University of Pisa 349  
University of Florence 358  

Study in Italy– choosing a course


There are currently over 180 undergraduate courses being taught in English in Italy. Examples range from Statistical Sciences to Italian Medieval and Renaissance studies and include everything in between. La Sapienza in Rome, for example, is one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe and as a result offers a wide range of courses in English.

Courses taught in English

You can study in Italy in English both for a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. However, as is so often the case, there are more postgraduate than undergraduate courses taught in English.

 The following universities offer a range of courses taught in English:

  • La Sapienza – Rome
  • Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice
  • University of Bologna
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • University of Padua
  • University of Turin

Popular undergraduate courses taught in English

 The most popular undergraduate courses taught in English include:

  • Management and computer science
  • Fashion styling
  • Economics and business
  • Interior design
  • International economics and finance
  • IR and global affairs
  • Law and economics
  • Philosophy
  • Business Administration
  • Architectural design
  • Civil engineering
  • Psychological science
  • Industrial engineering

Master’s courses taught in English

Master’s degrees take two years to complete, or five-six years if you wish to study medicinearchitecture, law or pharmacology. The academic year is divided into two terms. In your fourth semester you will have to complete a thesis, which can be based on research or a placement. 

Average tuition fees range from 800-1600 euros a year at a public university, and significantly more at private universities.

Popular Master’s courses taught in English include:

  • Sustainability and Energy Management
  • Economic and Social Sciences
  • International Management
  • Quantitative Finance and Risk Management
  • Innovation and Technology Management
  • Banking and Finance
  • Fashion Marketing
  • The Art and Industry of Narration
  • International Screenwriting and Production
  • Global Business management
  • Data Science
  • Physics
  • Software Engineering for Information Systems
  • Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Environmental Humanities

Studying medicine in English in Italy

Several Italian universities offer medicine courses taught in English. Italian medical schools are technologically advanced, have a deservedly excellent reputation all around the world and offer first-class teaching. 

Qualifications gained from studying medicine in Italy are internationally recognised and allow you to work as a doctor wherever you choose to build your career. 

If you decide to study medicine in Italy, you will need to sit the Italian IMAT entrance exams, submit a certificate demonstrating language skills (not applicable if you have been educated in English), and present three good final year results in science subjects. 

Fees range from 4,000-20,000 euros a year, depending on whether you choose to go to a public or private university.

If you are looking to study medicine in Italy, Elab’s consultants in  our Milan and Rome offices are highly experienced at placing students in the best medical faculties throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. Get in touch and we will be happy to help you choose where to study medicine in amazing Italy.

Study in Italy – applications


Since you are applying to study a course in English, you will need to submit evidence of language proficiency at B2 level. Both IELTS and TOEFL certificates are accepted, and you should aim to score 6- 6.5 and 80-90 respectively.

General requirements include the following:

  • You must have attended school for 12 years and be over 17.
  • You hold a secondary school diploma (or a bachelor’s degree if you are applying for a Master’s) and have scored over 59 per cent during each of the last two years in specific subjects. Certain courses demand specific scores in different subjects.
  • You may be asked for a Personal Statement and references or a CV (the latter is common for MBA and Master’s courses).
  •  All your transcripts and certificates need to be notarised, and only certified translations of original documents are accepted.

Some universities and courses set entrance examinations for courses in  veterinary medicine, medicine, education and architecture. Check with Elab if the course you are interested in has a mandatory entrance exam.

How to apply

Italy does not have a centralised application system so you will need to apply directly to individual universities.

Applications to study in Italy are quite complicated and communication with universities is not always straightforward. Once you have chosen your course and university with help from an Elab consultant, we will take you through the Italian university application process. Elab will ensure that you have met all academic entry requirements, and have the necessary documentation to submit an impressive application

Letters of acceptance are sent out in August and  will tell you whether you now have to sit an entrance exam, the dates, and finally how to register.

Deadlines for applications for most universities are set between the end of January and February. Do not leave it until the last minute. Contact Elab sooner rather than later.

Study in Italy – costs

The cost of living

Studying in Italy is relatively inexpensive by European standards. The costs of accommodation are on average 25 per cent cheaper than in the UK and a broad range of scholarships are available to international students. You can also take part-time work to supplement your income.

Bear in mind that the north of the country is significantly more costly than the central and southern regions, with Rome, Florence and Milan being the most expensive university cities. The Polytechnic of Milan states that its students need 1020 euros a month to cover all their expenses, and while this compares favourably with many other study abroad destinations, rents are cheaper in other cities, where you can live relatively comfortably on 850-1000 euros a month.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are set by individual universities, and range from 900-4,000 euros a year at a public university, to 6,000-20,000 at a private university. 

Tuition fees to study at Italian universities are means-tested so what you pay will depend on your family’s financial assessment: the number of people in your family, income and expenditure, property etc. The process is, however, complicated, and we recommend you contact Elab for advice on how to secure the important ISEE parificato, which you will need to send to the university – who will then set your fees.

Elab  is experienced in dealing with Italy’s bureaucracy – we know our way through this labyrinth!

Scholarships and student loans

Although everyone who decides to study in Italy will pay tuition fees, the vast range of scholarships available to Italian and international students alike will greatly minimise the cost.  

If you are looking for a student loan to help with fees, Elab’s offices in Italy have a partnership with local banks and institutions which are offering such loans.

 In addition, individual Italian universities provide generous scholarships of 5,000-12,000 euros a year, for example:

  • Cattolica’s scholarships give a 30 percent reduction on annual costs.
  • The University of Padua runs an International Excellence Scholarship Programme for talented students, which covers all your costs.
  • Bocconi offers merit-based scholarships, with 50-100 per cent tuition waivers.
  • The University of Bologna offers study grants to its own students.
  • The Polytechnic of Turin has scholarships for architecture and engineering.
  • EDISU Piedmonte scholarships provide merit scholarships for students at the University of Turin.
  •  You can also apply for financial aid directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Government scholarships at the national and regional levels are open to international applicants at both undergraduate and Master’s levels.

If you want to study in Italy, contact Elab so we can go through the options you may have to finance your studies in Italy.

Study in Italy – other useful information

  • If you sit down to drink your coffee at a café, you will be charged twice the price you would pay standing at the counter.
  • If you are invited to eat dinner with an Italian family, do not be surprised if the meal is served at 9pm – or even later.
  • Introduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal Profile Map
  • Research
  • University Report
  • Final application choices
  • Application process plan
  • Mentor Program
  • Exam and Interview prep
  • Document completion
  • Application portal setup
  • Submission
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Finances
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