What a Masters Course in Italy Actually Looks Like
Written by Taru Medha
Masters study in Italy is highly specialised with a number of different institutions providing focused courses in specific fields. They might be universities which focus on broader academic research, or the polytechnics that focus on Engineering and Architecture, and not to forget the Institutes for Higher Artistic Education.
Given this differentiation, each kind of education institution follows a distinct course structure. This guide gives you a detailed idea of what Masters courses in Italy can look like depending on the kind of institution you are aiming to study at.
Masters courses at Italian universities
Italian universities offer courses that are more theoretical and follow a structure that is similar to the one in the UK and other parts of the world. There are usually two kinds of Masters courses available to study at an Italian university:
- Graduate Degree (Laurea Magistrale) is equivalent to a Master of Science according to the European university system. You obtain a graduate degree after two years of study in a specific sector. If you are an international student, you can gain admission into a Laurea Magistral, provided your current degree is recognised in Italy. A Laurea Magistrale, then, gives you access to a doctoral programme.
Universities also sometimes offer a Lauree Magistrali a Ciclo Unico in the fields of Medicine, Pharmacy, Law and Architecture which can last up to five or six years.
- Specialising Masters and Continuing Education Programmes are offered as specialisations of postgraduate degree courses and focus on professional education. These courses provide knowledge required for certain professional areas of work. However, it is important to note that these degrees are not recognised as part of the Bologna process and may not be internationally recognised.
Masters courses at Italian Institutes for Higher Artistic Education
Institutes for Higher Artistic Education offer courses in fields like visual arts, music, dance, drama and design. Courses at these institutes are organised in a three-cycle system. A Masters course at such institutions is provided as a second-level academic degree (also called Diploma accademico di secondo livello) Studying usually last two years and the courses are equivalent of a Bologna process second cycle qualification.
To gain admission into a second cycle degree you need to have obtained a first cycle degree from an Institute for Higher Artistic Education or an equivalent foreign degree that is recognised in the country.
Assessments for a Masters in Italy
An Italian Masters usually takes two years and is awarded after obtaining 120 ECTS made up of core courses, electives, seminars and the dissertation. The dissertation itself is worth 30 ECTS.
Studying a Masters in Italy will mainly involve lectures, tutorials, group work and course work. You can expect to have additional practical sessions too if you are studying Engineering or Science. The last semester of your course is focused solely on your dissertation which could be based on theory, placement or a research project.
Academic calendar for Masters in Italy
A Masters degree is usually divided into four semesters: two semesters for each year of study. The first semester usually runs from September/October to January/February and then the second runs from February to July. You should consult your university website for exact dates and academic calendars.
Italy has so much to offer outside of the classroom from some of the best food to discoveries in science and arts. Be sure to immerse yourself in the culture of the country while you are there. Have a peek into what your everyday like could look like in our living in Italy guide.
Our postgrad newsletter shares courses, funding news, stories and advice