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Italian higher education is structured in a binary system, consisting of two main articulations:
- the university sector
- the non-university sector.
At present, the university sector is made up of 89 university institutions which are classified in:
- 58 State universities
- 17 non-State universities (legally recognised by the State)
- 2 universities for foreigners
- 6 higher schools specialised in postgraduate university studies
- 6 telematic universities.
The non-university sector includes 4 education typologies with their institutions:
- higher schools of design: polytechnics for the arts, academies of fine arts, higher institutes for applied arts, music conservatories and recognised music institutes, higher institutes for musical and choreographic studies, national academies
- higher education in language mediation: higher schools for language mediators
- higher integrated education (FIS): programmes of higher technical education & training (IFTS)
- a few specific fields (e.g. archiving, diplomatics, restoration, military studies, etc.) which, along with their respective institutions, fall under the supervision of ministries other than that of Education.