Studies structure in the Italy
The higher education system in Italy can be divided into the university and non-university sectors.
The university sector covers at the moment 77 higher education schools, including 51 universities, 3 state technical institutes, 13 private universities, 5 state university institutes, 2 universities for foreigners (Perugia and Siena) and 3 higher schools.
The non-university sector covers both higher education institutions, offering education in the form of short post-graduate studies, and technical studies, lasting up to 4 semesters. In contrast to other countries, this sector includes also artistic institutions (artistic academies and music conservatories), schools of religious science, army and police academies.
After the reform of 1999, the new education structure was introduced, which consists in three cycles. The first one, lasting 3 years, requires acquitting 180 points and ends with the academic title laurea (L). The second cycle, lasting 2 years (120 points), ends with the specialisation title laurea specialistica (LS). To commence studies towards laurea specialistica (LS), students need to be holders of the laurea (L).
To the third cycle of university education belong doctoral studies, lasting at the moment about 3-4 years. They end with the title dottorato di ricerca (DR). The candidates to doctoral studies (corso di dottorato) are chosen in a competition, which is available to the holders of the laurea specialistica title.
Moreover, universities may offer specialist research courses as well as constant or periodic training courses. To apply to the course candidates need to hold the laurea (L) or laurea specialistica (LS) title. At the end of the specialist courses, which require collection of at least 60 points, students are awarded specialisation diploma master universitari first or second level (first for the holders of laurea, second for the holders of laurea specialistica).
The state is responsible for the coordination, policy and planning of financial assistance, enabling everyone to exercise their right to study. Every three years the Prime Minister issues an edict, in which the criteria of results evaluation, financial conditions and procedures of granting financial help to students of modest means, awards for the results of the studies, as well as requalification of financial means are stated. The universities may, in full or in part, exempt students from the studying fees on the basis of the results and financial situation. The universities also provide grants for post-graduate, specialist studies and doctoral research. As far as the doctoral research is concerned, the sources of the financial support often include other institutes than the university.
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