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New Degrees

Laurea (L / L3)

Classification: 1st cycle university degree, characterised by both theoretical and applied studies.

Aim: provide undergraduates with adequate knowledge of general scientific principles, mastery of related methods, and specific professional skills.

Access: by the Italian school leaving qualification, or a comparable foreign one.

Admission: generally free; in some cases by entrance tests, depending on places availability.

Workload: 180 ECTS credits

Length: 3 years full time.

Subject sectors: 47 degree classes have been identified, i.e. groups of degrees in as many subject sectors; each class belongs to one of the 5 main subject areas covering the entire university education.

Course structure: each L3 course must include 6 different types of subject courses in relation to the nature of the respective teaching/learning activities:

  1. courses meant for basic education in one or more study fields,
  2. courses whose subject fields are specific for a given Laurea,
  3. courses in similar/supplementary subject fields,
  4. elective courses,
  5. courses preparatory to the final examination,
  6. courses for complementary skills (foreign languages, computer, telematics, work experience).

Degree: Laurea; in English: 1st (cycle) degree. It is the Italian bachelor-level degree of the Bologna Declaration.

Title: Dottore.

Professional openings:

  • employed positions in private or public commercial/industrial undertakings; or
  • posts within the civil service at level VII; or
  • practice in Italy of the corresponding regulated professions, if any, after successful passing of the relevant state examinations conferring the professional license (only all L3 in the health sector are directly licensing to the related sanitary professions); or
  • practice of the corresponding regulated professions in those EU member states where similar professions exist (after obtaining professional recognition under the relevant EC Directives).

Further university studies: access to LS and MU1 programmes.

Laurea Specialistica (LS)

Classification: 2nd cycle university degree, characterised by a strong theoretical part and specialistic studies in a given subject field.

Aim: provide graduates with advanced education for highly qualified professions in specific sectors as well as with adequate training for advanced independent research.

Access: by a related L3, or a comparable foreign degree.

Admission: often free; in some cases by entrance tests, depending on places availability.

Workload: 120 ECTS credits.

Length: 2 years full time.

Subject sectors: 109 degree classes have been identified, i.e. groups of degrees in as many subject sectors; each class belongs to one of the 5 main subject areas covering the entire university education .

Course structure: each LS course must include 6 different types of subject courses in relation to the nature of the respective teaching/learning activities:

  1. courses meant for basic education in one or more study fields,
  2. courses whose subject fields are specific for a given Laurea,
  3. courses in similar/supplementary subject fields,
  4. elective courses,
  5. courses preparatory to the final examination,
  6. courses for complementary skills (foreign languages, computer, telematics, work experience).

Degree: Laurea Specialistica; in English: 2nd (cycle) Laurea. It is the Italian master-level degree of the Bologna Declaration.

Title: Dottore Magistrale.

Professional openings: same occupational sectors as those available to L3 graduates but LS holders are invested with greater responsibilities and may progress in the career up to the highest managerial offices; therefore:

  • employed positions in private or public commercial/industrial undertakings; or
  • posts within the civil service at level VIII (dirigenti), and may progrss up to the office as director-general (Direttore Generale); or
  • practice in Italy of the corresponding regulated professions, if any, after successful passing of the relevant State examinations conferring the professional license; or
  • practice of the corresponding regulated professions in those EU member states where similar professions exist (after obtaining professional recognition under the relevant EC Directives).

Further university studies: access to DR, DS2, MU2 programmes.

Dottorato di Ricerca (DR)

Classification: 3rd cycle university degree, fully academic in nature

Aim: provide postgraduates with training for highly specialised research.

Access: by a related LS, or a comparable foreign degree in a related subject sector.

Admission: by public competition, organised locally by individual universities.

Length: min. 3 years, depending on subjetc fields.

Subject sectors: most of the sectors covered by the 5 great subject areas.

Course structure: DR programmes mainly consists in independent research projects of a high quality standard. Postgraduates carry out their research activities under the supervision of a university teacher who is specifically appointed to act as a tutor; sometimes, the attendance of seminars or of a few subject courses is also required. Transition from one year to the next depends on the tutor's positive assessment of the doctoral student's performance.

Degree: Dottorato di Ricerca (research doctorate).

Title: Dottore di Ricerca; no official abbreviation has been determined by law.

Professional openings:

  • academic career within a university; research doctors start as a researchers and by means of subsequent public competitions may progress up to the juridical status of full professors (professore ordinario);
  • career within public research bodies, and in research laboratories of large companies.

Further university studies: participation in post-doctoral research projects.

Diploma di Specializzazione di 2° livello (DS2)

Classification: 3rd cycle university degree, professionally-oriented.

Aim: provide postgraduates with knowledge and skills for a few specific professions; DS2 programmes may be set up exclusively on the basis of specific national laws or EU Directives.

Access: by a Laurea Specialistica (LS), or a comparable foreign degree.

Admission: by public competition (concorso), due to numerus clausus restrictions.

Workload: 120-360 ECTS credits.

Length: 2-6 years full time.

Subject sectors: specialistic fields in dentistry, human medicine & surgery, veterinary medicine; training to legal professions (lawyers, notaries public, magistrates); secondary teachers' training.

Course structure: curricular compulsory requirements, defined by national law, include theoretical studies in combination with practical applications and professional training; some research activitiy may be also required.

Degree: Diploma di Specializzazione di 2° livello (2nd level specialisation degree)

Title: Specialista in… (specialist in ) [the specialisation field follows].

Professional openings: DS2 holders may:

  • practise in Italy the respective self-employed specialistic professions with the title as Specialista;
  • take up functions within the civil service which require specialistic education and training in certain fields;
  • be employed as highly-qualified professionals (Specialisti) in private commercial/industrial undertakings;
  • practise the corresponding regulated professions (if any) in another EU member state, after obtaining professional recognition under the relevant EC Directives.

Master Universitario di 1° livello (MU1)

Classification:2nd cycle university degree; it may be either academic in nature or, more often, professionally-oriented.

Aim: provide graduates either with advanced scientific knowledge in a given field or with further professional education and training for better occupational opportunities.

Access: by an Italian 1st degree (Laurea-L3), or a comparable foreign one.

Admission: often by selective procedures, on the decision of the master programme director.

Workload: min. 60 ECTS credits

Length: min. 1 year

Subject sectors: most of the sectors covered by the 5 great subject areas.

Course structure: curricular articulation is decided upon autonomously by individual universities.

Degree: Diploma di Master Universitario di 1° livello (University Master-1st level degree)

Title: Master Universitario di 1° livello (University Master-1st level).

Professional openings: same occupational sectors as those available to L3 graduates. Private and public employers generally appreciate the further academic/professional competences MU1 holders have acquired; e.g. in public competitions for L3-based posts within the civil service, applicants who additionally hold an MU1 are attributed additional scores.

Master Universitario di 2° livello (MU2)

Classification: 3rd cycle university degree; it may be either academic in nature or, more often, professionally-oriented.

Aim: provide postgraduates with a higher level of academic education in a given field, or with higher professional education and training for better occupational opportunities.

Access: by a Laurea Specialistica (LS), or a comparable foreign degree.

Admission: often by selective procedures, on the decision of the master programme director.

Workload: min. 60 ECTS credits.

Length: min. 1 year full time.

Subject sectors: most of the sectors covered by the 5 great subject areas.

Course structure: curricular articulation is determined autonomously by individual universities.

Degree: Diploma di Master Universitario di 2° livello (University Master-2nd level degree)

Title: Master Universitario di 2° livello (University Master-2nd level).

Professional openings: same occupational sectors as those available to LS graduates. Private and public employers generally appreciate the higher academic/professional competences MU2 holders have acquired; e.g. in public competitions for LS-based posts within the civil service, applicants who also hold an MU2 are attributed additional scores.

Attestati/Diplomi di formazione permanente e ricorrente

The provisions of Art. 6 of Law 341/1990, and of Law 4/1999 (Art. 1, paragraph 15) have been kept in force. Therefore, in addition to the degrees listed above, Italian universities may still set up advanced scientific courses as well as higher continuing education programmes which generally last for a few months. Access may take place by an L3 or LS or a comparable foreign degree; workload usually consists in a limited number of credits, and course structure is defined autonomously by each institution in its Regolamento Didattico di Ateneo (general teaching regulations). On course completion, either statements of attendance are issued, or LLL qualifications are awarded which may be named differrently by individual universities; the most common names are "Attestati" or "Diplomi" (di perfezionamento, di aggiornamento, ecc.).