The Italian University System

The Italian university system is organised in three cycles, according to the Bologna Process structure: the main academic degrees are the Laurea (1st cycle), the Laurea Magistrale (2nd cycle) and the Dottorato di Ricerca (3rd cycle). The system also offers other study programmes and related qualifications.

This course organisation, according to the ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), introduces the “credit” as the unit of measure which defines the student workload, including time spent attending lectures, seminars, independent study, examinations, etc.

One credit corresponds to 25 hours of study.


 Credits  Years
First cycle – Undergraduate studies    
Laurea (equivalent to Bachelor's level)  180  3
Second cycle – Graduate studies    
Laurea specialistica according Ministerial Decree no. 509/1999, or Laurea Magistrale according to Ministerial Decree no. 270/2004 (equivalent to Master's level)  120  2
Second cycle – Undergraduate studies    
Laurea specialistica a ciclo unico according Ministerial Decree no. 509/1999, or Laurea Magistrale a ciclo unico according to Ministerial Decree no. 270/2004 (equivalent to Master's level)





First Level professional Master degree – Master Universitario di 1° livello  60 +  1 +
Third cycle – Postgraduate studies
Research doctorate degree – Dottorato di ricerca *    3 +
Specialisation degree – Diploma di specializzazione ** 120-360  2-6
Second level professional Master degree – Master Universitario di 2° livello  60 +  1 +
* The ministerial decree does not set credits for the research doctorate since it is essentially based on individual research activities. The legal length is a minimum of three years in accordance with the regulations in the most recent reform.    
** offered according to national legislation or EU directives for specific areas of study    

For information about the general admission requirements to enter into, click here

To look into the degree programmes offered by the University of Basilicata, click here

A short notice about the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) 
For each learning activity, students gain a certain number of university credits (in Italian: 'Crediti Formativi Universitari' or CFU) and a qualitative evaluation (mark awarded on a 30-point scale or pass/fail exam. The minimum passing mark is 18/30, and 30/30, with honour if any, is the best mark.).  

Credits (CFU) are units that are used to measure the total amount of  workload required to a student, in terms of (class time, individual study, exam preparation, practical work etc.) and one credit is equivalent to 25 hours.One academic year corresponds to 60 university credits. To learn more, please look into the ECTS at a glance section. 


Useful links

The Italian Qualifications Framework for Higher Education

The Italian University System (source MIUR)

The Italian University System (scheme .pdf) (source MIUR)