Top 10 Universities in Italy for International Students

Italy has long been a force to reckon with in terms of education. For one, it is home to the oldest university in the world – the University of Bologna. At the same time, it is the birthplace Bologna Process – the reform that sought to improve and harmonize higher education in Europe. With such prospects, Italy is indeed one of the best destinations for ambitious international students. So, we will be looking at the best universities in Italy for international students.

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How satisfied are the international students living in Italy?

According to the International Satisfaction Awards, foreign students rate Italy with a grade of 8.7 out of 10. This makes the country the 17th most favorite destination amongst the surveyed international students.

What are the popular program choices in Italian universities?

Economics, Architecture, and International Relations are the top 3 favorite courses amongst foreign students in Italy.

How many international students are currently enrolled in Italian universities?

There are about 32,000 international students who are taking undergraduate and graduate courses in Italian universities.

What is the best university for international students who wish to live in Italy?

Foreign students consider the University of Bologna as the most prestigious university in Italy.

Best Universities in Italy for International Students

1. University of Bologna

The University of Bologna (UNIBO) is renowned as the oldest university in the world. Founded in 1088, this public research institution is currently located in a sprawling urban campus in Bologna, Italy.

The university offers 101 first-level and 108 second-level courses. These degrees are overseen by the 11 schools of Law, Economics, Engineering, Foreign Languages & Literature, Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine, Arts & Humanities, Medicine & Surgery, Pharmacy, Political Science, Science, and Psychology & Education. These faculties are further divided into 33 departments.

The University of Bologna is considered the best university in Italy for international students because of its highly-ranked programs includes arts & humanities, computer science, social science, and clinical & health sciences.

2. Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa

The Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies is a special-statute research institution. It traces its beginnings back to the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, which was founded in 1810. However, it was only formally established in 1987 as a university specializing in the applied sciences.

The university is divided into 2 classes. One is the Social Sciences Class, which covers the studies of Economics, Business, Political Science, and Legal Studies. The other is the Experimental Science Class, which is comprised of the departments of Medical Science, Agricultural Science, Information Engineering, and Industrial Engineering.

Students who wish to study in the prestigious university need to pass national and international competitions to be admitted.

3. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, also known as “La Normale”, is an institution with campuses in both Florence and Pisa. It was founded in 1810 by Napoleon Bonaparte as the Italian branch of the École Normale Supérieure.

The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the fields of Sciences and Letters & Philosophy. Only master’s degrees are provided for the studies of Political-Social Sciences.

As one of the top universities in Italy for international students, the Scuola continues to offer Ph.Ds in the disciplines of Cultures, Philosophy, Global History & Government, Antiquity Sciences, and Literature & Art. It also offers doctorate degrees in both science and political/social science.

4. Sapienza University of Rome

The Sapienza University of Rome is a research university based in the heart of Rome, Italy. Also known as the “University of Rome” or the “Sapienza”, it is one of the oldest in Italy – and the world. Founded in 1303, it has more than 77,000 students – making it one of the biggest in Europe in terms of enrollment.

Sapienza has 11 faculties categorized into 65 departments. Through these, the university offers programs in the fields of Arts & Humanities, Psychology, Business & Economics, Engineering & Technology, Computer Science, Physical Science, Health Science, Law, Social Science, Education, and Life Science.

The university is very welcoming to foreign students, with 10 of its Master’s degrees being taught solely in English.

5. University of Padua

The University of Padua is a public educational institution based in Veneto, Northern Italy. Founded in 1222, it is the second-oldest university in Italy – and the fifth-oldest in the world.

The university’s many departments are grouped into the Schools of Agricultural Science & Veterinary Medicine, Medicine & Surgery, Psychology, Science, Law, Social Science & Cultural Heritage, Engineering, and Economics & Political Science.

Apart from its strong research output, the University is also heralded for its elite Arts & Humanities programs.

6. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

Next on our list of best universities in Italy for international students is Vita-Salute San Raffaele University or UniSR, a private university founded in 1996. Based in Milan, this young university specializes in the 3 disciplines of Medicine, Psychology, and Philosophy.

The Medicine department offers courses in Medicine (English), Dental Care, Biotechnology, Nursing, Physiotherapy, including Advanced Courses in Medicine and Molecular Biology.

The Psychology department has undergraduate programs in Psychology and Communication, with Advanced Courses in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience.

UniSR also offers a bachelor’s degree, advanced degree, and Ph.D. course in Philosophy.

7. University of Trento

The University of Trento is a public university established in 1962. Based in Trento and Rovereto, it focuses on research, didactics, and foreign relations.

The university’s faculties are grouped according to its campus location. The “City Area” plays home to the Departments of Sociology, Economics, Law, Humanities, and International Studies. The “Hill Area”, on the other hand, is home to the Schools of Engineering, Information Engineering & Computer Science, Mathematics, Industrial Engineering, Physics, and Psychology.

The University, which is #37 in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings, is highly regarded for its Computer Science program.

8. University of Milan

The University of Milan is a public educational institution situated in Milan, Italy. It was founded in 1924 following the merger of 2 institutions. The University of Milan is considered to be one of the best universities in Italy in terms of the high rankings and international student population.

Also known as UniMi or Statale, it has a student population of over 60,000. With this, the university is considered one of the biggest in Europe in terms of enrollment.

UniMi has 10 Schools in the fields of Medicine, Law, Humanities, Pharmaceutical Science, Agriculture & Food Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Exercise & Sport Science, Science & Technology, Political & Social Science, and Linguistics.

9. Polytechnic University of Milan

With a student population of about 42,500 students, the Polytechnic University of Milan is heralded as the biggest technical institution in Italy. It is also the oldest university in Milan, having been opened in the year 1863 as the Instituto Tecnico Superiore.

The university has 2 main campuses in Milan, including the main campus of Leonardo. It also has a branch in Bovisa, which has the campuses of La Masa and Durando. The university has satellite branches in Como, Lecco, Cremona, Mantua, and Piacenza as well.

The Polytechnic University offers undergraduate and graduate courses in the fields of architecture, engineering, and design.

10. University of Bari Aldo Moro

The final university in our list of best Italian universities for international students is the University of Bari Aldo Moro, a public educational institution located in Apulia, Southern Italy. Founded in 1925, it is considered as one of the most prestigious universities in the region. It takes its name from Aldo Moro, who was a former teacher and prime minister of Italy.

The school is organized into the 13 Faculties of Arts & Philosophy, Biotechnology, Communication, Law, Economics, Agriculture, Law, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Medicine, Political Science, Veterinary Medicine, and Pharmacy.

The university is well regarded for its style of European teaching.


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