How to Study in Italy: Step by Step Guide to Apply to College in Italy

You’ve finally made the decision to study abroad and have your sights set on Italy and you may be wondering… “What’s the application process?” or “Where do I start?” Because there is no centralized application system in Italy, how you apply varies on where you’re from and what your field of study is. If you’re a European student wanting to study medicine, you will have a different application process than a non-EU student wanting to study economics or business – but don’t fret. We’re here to help you figure out the easiest and most straightforward way to apply! Let’s dig in.


Of course! Although studying in Italy is the perfect excuse for you to learn some Italian, there are plenty of courses and programs offered in English throughout the country. Websites like Universitaly make it easy to sift through English undergraduate and graduate-level courses and programs at Italian universities. By visiting Universitaly’s Degrees in English webpage, you will find an extensive list of degree programs, by institution and field area, with links that will guide you to the university’s main page, providing you with the specific information you may need.

Obviously, if you’re looking to study in Italian, it will be a lot easier for you to find the right program for you, although it may be overwhelming given how many options are available! We suggest narrowing down programs by researching institutions and fields of study you’re interested in, or by taking a look at the Top 5 Places in Italy for International Students, and going from there!

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If you’re already a student pursuing higher education and have started your bachelor’s or master’s program, you may want to look at applying to an Italian institution through your college or university. This is often considered the easiest way to study abroad as many institutions have partner school exchange programs – meaning there is already a well-established student exchange program in place with certain colleges or universities internationally. By going through your institution, the study abroad programs that are offered will usually align with credits and graduation requirements set forth by your school.

Additional to transferable courses and credits, applying through your school will make handling logistics like visas and housing easier, as they likely have a process already in place to make the transition to studying abroad as smooth as possible. Many institutions with partner schools have a vast support system as well, so you won’t be going through this alone.

Although every university is different, applying for a study abroad program through your institution usually entails:

  • Reaching out to your on-campus program counselor
  • Browsing your institution’s study abroad online portal


Sometimes applying through your school may have eligibility requirements such as a minimum GPA or credits necessary, so if your institution doesn’t have partner schools or available exchange programs that fit your wants and needs, you have other options. Third-party providers are independent organizations that facilitate or lead study-abroad programs – also known as third-party sponsored programs – that assist students with the logistics of applying to study abroad. As we already mentioned, figuring out visas and housing can be overwhelming if you’re going at it alone, but third-party providers help you every step of the way. Here is a list of third-party providers that can facilitate the process to study in Italy: Study Abroad and Exchange Programs.

Although this option may be more expensive than going through partner schools, the good news is you can still access financial aid programs from back home while overseas. Additionally, many third-party providers offer an array of scholarship opportunities for incoming students, so don’t write it off completely! Like partner schools, many of these programs have ambassadors at their different destinations so you will be fully supported every step of the way, from application to completion!


Study in Italy
Bologna, Italy

For European and non-European students, this application will be a little different, as there are additional requirements for visas. Let’s break it down.

European Student Application Process

International students from a country within the European Union can apply to Italian universities just like Italian citizens and can send their applications directly to the university of their choice. In addition, they must provide a DV, or Dichiarazione di Valoro in Loco, or Letter of Academic Eligibility from the Italian embassy or consulate in their country to complete their application process.

Non-European Student Application Process

The application process for students that aren’t citizens of the EU is a little lengthier. Here are basic steps to follow:

  1. Research the university you would like to attend – based on location, studies, and classes – and contact them to see if you’re eligible for the program you’re interested in. Most universities will have an email you can reach out to for student admissions that will connect you with staff that will provide you with the proper information regarding eligibility criteria, timelines, and additional requirements. Depending on what you want to study – like medicine – you may have to take some additional admissions or language exams.

  2. Complete a pre-application request and submit it to the nearest Italian embassy or consulate. Most request forms require a pre-enrolment form from the institution you’ve selected, two copies of recent passport-sized photos of yourself, a completed DV form – just like EU students, as well as any additional documents required by the university you’ve selected.

  3. The Italian embassy or consulate will submit the application for you. The university will then evaluate your application and documents.

  4. You will find out if you have been accepted either through the University – which will send you an acceptance email or letter – or through the embassy or consulate which will publish a list at the end of the summer – usually August – with admitted candidates.

  5. Look into the process of getting a student visa if you have been accepted. Once accepted you will have direct communication with the university that will be able to help you out with additional logistics.


Although the thought of expenses tied to studying in Italy can be daunting, there are many ways you can budget abroad. Tuition varies by university or institution, and private universities are usually more expensive than public. If you are a European citizen, you’re likely to pay the same as an Italian student, but if you’re applying as an international student, expect higher tuition fees. Although more expensive, this doesn’t mean it’s unaffordable! In fact, the annual tuition rates for most Italian public universities range between €1,000 – €4,000. As we’ve already noted, many universities offer financial assistance that you can apply to through the institution, as well as scholarships and financial help by merit.

Other big-ticket items include your travel and housing, as well as day-to-day expenses such as food – which will add up if you’re not careful! If you’re concerned about living expenses, make sure you look at institutions that offer help with student housing.

Keep in mind you will likely have to pay for other things as part of the application process like a visa and visa application, a passport application or passport renewal if necessary, and the study abroad application itself.


Many students who have studied abroad consider their experience to be one of the highlights of their college years. As we’ve covered in this article, there are many ways to study abroad, even if you are limited by your GPA or financial means. No matter if you decide to study in Italy for a few weeks or the entirety of your undergraduate or graduate studies, the application process will be relatively easy if you’re prepared! Consider your field of study, finances, and interests to determine which application process and program makes the most sense for you. We are confident you will enjoy your study abroad experience and collect memories that will last a lifetime. Good luck, or buona fortuna!

Article by Julia Perry: Julia is an Italian American content writer, editor, and creator who loves to travel. She’s called many places home and has traveled to 20+ countries. She now lives in Hawaii with her dog, Millie, where she splits her time between traveling, working, adventuring, and cooking.

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