New reformations in Italian Higher Education

New reformations in Italian Higher Education

Posted on 09 Jun 2014 Views ( 20456 )

The Diploma Supplement was introduced by the reform law of 1999 to the Italian system of higher education. It has now become mandatory to issue a supplement for all degrees awarded. The Diploma Supplement has to be issued in a second European language in addition to Italian.

Along the lines set out in the Bologna Declaration, the Italian government began restructuring its degrees in 2001 in accordance with the reforms of 1999.

According to the new laws students who were enrolled in the Diploma Universitaria programs and 4- to 5-year first degree programs are given the choice of completing their studies under the old system or transferring to the new laurea programs. However, the transfer was not usual. On a case-by-case basis, each faculty will decide it.

Prior to 1999, universities used to legally confer four degrees: A three-year Dottorato di Ricerca, a two year postgraduate Diploma di Specializzazione intended for professional training, the academic oriented four-to-five year Diploma di Laurea, and vocationally-oriented, two- to three-year Diploma Universitario;

New Structure, First Cycle:

Compare to Bologna bachelor’s degree, Laurea (same as the old degree name), is the basic and autonomous degree, which is the first university degree under the new system. The course longs for three years or 180 ECTS in length.

These programs are designed to give students an adequate command on specific professional skills and on general scientific contents methods and contents as well.

To secure an admission into a laurea program, one need to have the Italian school-leaving certificate (Diploma di Superamento dell’Esame di Stato conclusivo dei corsi di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore) and requires to be completed 13 years of primary and secondary schooling, or an equivalent International qualification.

The new laurea programs were introduced in the academic year 2001/2002, while the second-tier programs were introduced from academic year 2002/2003.

Second Cycle:

At the graduate level, three degrees are awarded. The most important one is the academically-oriented Laurea Specialistica (LS). This is awarded at a level of 300 ECTS and therefore normally requiresyears or 120 ECTS of graduate study and the completion of an original thesis. The LS provides a wider theoretical knowledge in a specific field of study. Access to LS programs is through the Italian first degree (Laurea) or an equivalent foreign degree.

Specific EU directives (Architecture, Veterinary Medicine, Human Medicine, and Dentistry) regulate a limited number of LS (laurea specialistica a ciclo unico) programs and below are the admission requirements:

  • The programs are of the long and lasts for years or in medicine years
  • Always admission is subject to an entrance examination
  • Access is through the Italian school leaving certificate or an equivalent foreign qualification.

The second type of graduate degree is the Diploma di Specializzazione di Primo Livello (DS1). This degree offers training for specific professions, which are regulated by law. This is subject to very competitive examination as admission is restricted by numerous clauses (concorso di ammissione). The national regulations define the core curriculum, with the rest defined by the individual universities. The limited places are reserved for laurea graduates (first cycle) or those with equivalent foreign qualifications. The program includes practical experience and lasts for two to three years. It needs a combined credit load (including the laurea) of 300-360 ECTS, and include practical experience. Attendance is mandatory and the final examination includes of a written thesis.

The Diploma di Specializzazione di Primo Livello (DS1) degrees and programs are quoted in the reform law but have not yet been established. All existing first class degrees rank as second level programs and are therefore 3rd cycle degrees (access by LS). They are offered in such fields as medical specializations, dental, teaching, and law. Qualifications offered by Universities of applied sciences and DS2 are entirely different due to the considerable differences in curricula and level.

The third type of graduate degree is Master Universitario di Primo Livello, which is shorter and professionally-oriented. The course lasts for minimum one year or 60 ECTS and is open for the first-cycle laurea.

These programs are offered in non-regulated fields. Admission may be subject to an entrance exam. Curriculum is autonomously designed by individual universities and generally includes a period of practical training of 2-3 months.

It should be noted that the MU and DS qualifications are considered independent of the two-tier system. Courses are offered as training for specific professions most of which are regulated by law.

Third Cycle:

Postgraduate studies include second-level university master’s degree programs (Corsi di Master Universitario di), second-level specialization programs (Corsi di Specializzazione di 2° Livello), and research doctorate programs (Corsi Dottorato di Ricerca).

Second-level University Master’s degree programs (Corsi di Master Universitario di 2° Livello) (MU2) is a higher continuing scientific program or an advanced education program which can be obtained by successful achievers of an LS or an equivalent foreign qualification. Postgraduates need to achieve a minimum of 60 credits in order to gain this degree.

Postgraduates are endowed with the skills and knowledge required for the practice of highly specialized professions in Second level specialization programs. The degree is subject to the passing of a competitive entrance examination and the access is based on the LS (second degree) or an equivalent foreign qualification.

Research doctorate programs are intended to train postgraduates for professional appointments or for in-depth research in scientific activities. Admission is subject to the passing of entrance competitive examinations and access is based on the Laurea Specialistica or an equivalent foreign qualification. The duration of the course is a minimum of three years and requires the completion of an original dissertation.