How to Study in Italy for International Students (4 Steps)

Italy is a European country that is rich in history and culture. As the home of the greatest minds of yesterday and today, it is well-known as a country that puts a high premium on education. As such, it is considered the best country for those who wish to study abroad. In this article, we will be looking at how international students can study in Italy.

Apart from being the cradle of some of the top universities in the world, Italy boasts of temperate weather, top-notch tourist spots, and amazing food! With these factors into play, many international students continue to be very interested in studying in Italy. If you are one of these prospects, then read on to learn more about the general application and admission processes in Italian universities.

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How Can International Students Study in Italy?

To study in Italy as an international student, you will need to follow these steps to maximize your chances:

  1. Prepare financially. There are many ways in which you can finance your education, be it scholarships, attending affordable universities, or even working. You will need to be prepared financially to be able to study in Italy.
  2. Prepare so that you meet the application requirements. We will discuss the application requirements in this article.
  3. Apply to universities in Italy.
  4. After you get accepted, apply for a student visa.

We will go into detail in this article!


1. The Financial Aspect of Studying in Italy

The tuition fees at Italian universities range in price. Public institutions usually start at $3,413 (EUR 3,000) a year, while private universities can cost as much as $39,823 (EUR 35,000) annually.

To study in Italy as an international student, we need to talk about expenses as well. Living in the city will entail a monthly cost of about $796 to $910 (EUR 700 to EUR 800). As for other areas such as Padua, Turin, Bologna, or Pisa, the monthly cost of living can range from $626 to $853 (EUR 550 to EUR 750).

2. General Application Requirements for Italy

International students need to meet the following requirements for application to study in Italy:

General Language Requirements (Undergraduate)

Language requirements vary according to university. With that being said, you should check your university’s official website for its stipulations regarding language proficiency.

For example, at the University of Bologna – which is the oldest university in the world – there are no specific Italian language requirements, except for Nursing or Medicine applicants.

Although this is the case, the university advises its applicants to have a basic knowledge of Italian – which is level A2 (beginner) – so that the student can make the most out of his/her studies.

As for English proficiency, applicants should have the following scores:

  • IELTS = 5.5
  • TOEFL PBT = 507 to 557
  • TOEFL CBT = 180 to 217
  • TOEFL IBT = 80 to 99

At the University of Pisa, those who wish to study an Italian course are expected to have an Italian language level of B2 (intermediate competence). As for English proficiency, certain degrees have test requirements. Such is the case for Veterinary Science applicants, who need an IELTS band of at least 5.

General Language Requirements (Graduate)

Language requirements are stricter for post-graduate applicants, so you should check your university portal for the details.

Take the case of the University of Pisa. In its Master of Science in Space Engineering program, having an IELTS or TOEFL is not mandatory, although it is a preferential criterion for student admission. The department leans towards applicants with an IELTS band of 7 or a TOEFL score of 250 (CBT) or 550 (PBT).

Meanwhile, for the Master of Business Administration program, a test of English proficiency is required.

At the University of Bologna, its English proficiency requirement for post-graduates is similar to that of undergraduates (see above).

Application Requirements (Undergraduate)

Most Italian universities require their international applicants to submit the following documents:

  • Copy of passport
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Official transcript from the institution where you completed your secondary studies (with course and grades)
  • Proof of language proficiency

At the University of Pisa, the other necessary documents will depend on the academic department. Because of the high number of applicants in some programs, some may require an applicant to undergo a selective entrance examination as well.

As for the University of Bologna, international students also need to submit a personal statement, as well as two recommendation letters. Some degrees also require an SAT exam.

Because of the differences in undergraduate requirements, always check your university website for any other documentation that may be needed.

Application Requirements (Graduate)

For master’s or doctorate applicants, including that of the University of Bologna, the same requirements apply. However, a copy of your bachelor’s degree is needed instead of your secondary school transcript.

At the University of Pisa, some post-graduate degrees may require you to undergo an entrance examination. This is especially the case for programs with competitive selection processes.

For more info regarding your university’s requirements – as well as the entrance exams, it may require for applicants, better visit the admission portal.

3. Apply Following Universities’ Application Procedure

If you have met all the requirements as stated above, the next step of studying in Italy as an international student is applying at your university of choice. Here are some general guidelines, according to the cycle of study.

Undergraduate (First Cycle)

At the University of Bologna, deadlines vary according to the program. Some courses have several intakes, but this largely depends on your nationality. Non-EU applicants, for example, can apply from mid-February to early May. The application fee costs $56 (EUR 50).

At the University of Pisa, applicants need to register via Alice, which is the university’s student portal. The application schedule usually runs from April to June. As for the fee, the cost will show up after you complete your registration.

As always, it’s best to apply early since most Italian universities have limited intakes (about 30 to 40 students per school year).

Given the stark differences in application procedures for every university, you need to consult with your university’s website for the exact schedules and deadlines.

Graduate (Second or Third Cycle)

At the University of Bologna, graduate application deadlines vary per department. However, most post-graduate programs have several intakes. Take the case of STEM degrees, which usually have four application periods (February, March, June, and July).

The fee is similar for graduate applicants at $56 (EUR 50).

At the University of Pisa, pre-enrolment can be done at the Italian embassy in your country. The application period is also similar to undergraduate students, which is from April to June. However, some courses may impose an earlier deadline (i.e. March).

Again, deadlines are set differently across the universities and their respective departments. If you plan to study in a university not mentioned in this article, then you may need to check your university website for the complete application details.

4. Apply for Student Visa

As with other countries, you will need to apply for a student visa to study in Italy. Here are the general requirements for applicants:

  • Entry visa application form
  • Passport-size photograph
  • Passport
  • Proof of enrollment or pre-enrollment
  • Proof of accommodation in Italy
  • Proof of subsistence (no less than $510 or EUR 449 per month)

Additional requirements may be needed depending on your nationality.

The student visa is usually issued after you have completed the pre-enrollment procedures at the Italian embassy in your country.

Remember, upon entering Italy, there are a few more things that you need to accomplish before you start schooling. For one, you will need to apply for a residence permit – which should be done within 8 working days of your arrival. Universities usually have dedicated offices that provide necessary documents for new international students.

You can also apply for a permit through qualified post services.

A residence permit will cost you $45 (EUR 40), plus an additional $34 (EUR 30) for production cost.


Applying to a university in Italy may be quite troublesome – but it’s all worth it. With an Italian diploma, you can set your sights on many economic opportunities – whether in Italy or your home country.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!