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Best universities in Italy 2022

Explore the top universities in Italy using data from the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2022

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September 7 2021
University in Pisa

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Top 10 universities in Italy

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in Italy

World University Rank 2022 Italy Rank 2022 University  City 
172 1 University of Bologna Bologna
=197 =2 Sapienza University of Rome Rome 
=197 =2 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Pisa
201–250 =4 University of Padua Padua
201–250 =4 Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa Pisa
201–250 =4 Vita-Salute San Raffaele University Milan
301–350 =7 University of Milan Milan
301–350 =7 University of Milan Bicocca Milan
301–350 =7 University of Rome II – Tor Vergata Rome 
351–400 =10 University of Brescia Brescia
351–400 =10 University of Pavia Pavia
351–400 =10 Politecnico di Milano Milan
351–400 =10 University of Trento Trento

 

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It isn’t difficult to see why Italy is a popular place to study. After all, it is the home of the University of Bologna, believed to be the world’s oldest university.

Italy has one of the richest cultures on the planet, an amalgamation of the customs and traditions of its 20 regions.

Situated in the heart of southern Europe, Italy has a multitude of landscapes: from the alpine pistes in the north to the Mediterranean beaches in the south. You would be forgiven for thinking you had crossed international borders every time you entered a new region.

Italy (tied with China) is home to more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other nation in the world. These attractions, alongside Italy’s famous cuisine and rich history, are just some of the reasons it is among the world’s most visited countries each year.

If you think Italy sounds like a good destination for your studies, read on to find out about the nation’s best institutions based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022.


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Every major Italian town has a university, most of which are state-funded. However, there are also private universities and superior graduate schools, which are specifically focused on teaching and research at graduate level and above.

There are four main types of qualification in the Italian higher education system. The most basic is the three-year laurea – the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.

The laurea magistrale consists of the three-year laurea followed by an additional two years of study, which makes it the equivalent of a master’s degree. Then there’s the laurea magistrale a ciclo unico, a five- or six-year course only awarded in some fields – including medicine, architecture and law – which is similar to an integrated master’s degree because there is no separation between the bachelor’s and master’s parts to the qualification.

Finally there’s the dottorato di ricerca, a doctoral programme primarily offered in superior graduate schools.

Top 5 universities in Italy

=4. Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

- The Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, also known as UniSR, is a private university in Milan.
- The university is particularly well known for groundbreaking research in cancer, HIV/AIDS and rare diseases. 

The institution began in 1996 with only one department of psychology, but today it has Faculties of medicine and surgery, psychology and philosophy, all following cognitive and experimental lines of thought. Courses tend to have an interdisciplinary emphasis.

=4. Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa

The Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa is a public university specialising in applied sciences. 

The university has a rigorous entrance exam and if students are able to achieve top marks and demonstrate proficiency in two languages, they are able to study for free. As a result, the student population is very small with fewer than 1,000 students attending the university. 

The Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies offers degrees in business sciences, economic sciences, legal sciences, political sciences, agricultural sciences, medical sciences, industrial engineering and information engineering.

=4. University of Padua

-The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law.
-It is the second oldest university in Italy and the world’s fifth oldest university. 

The university is made up of 32 departments and eight schools. It also has a university hospital, a museum and 14 halls of residence.

The University of Padua is part of a network of historical research universities known as the Coimbra Group, which also includes Trinity College Dublin, Heidelberg University, KU Leuven and the University of Salamanca

=2. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

-The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, together with the University of Pisa and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, is a part of the Pisa University system. 
-The university was founded in 1810 as a branch of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. 

It offers programmes in both the humanities and sciences and still operates from its original building, Palazzo della Carovana, in the medieval centre of Pisa.

=2.  Sapienza University of Rome

-The Sapienza University of Rome was founded in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII, making it Rome’s oldest university.
-It is the largest university in Europe, supporting about 115,000 students, including nearly 9,000 international students, and almost 4,000 academic staff.

It offers 280 degree programmes and 200 specialist courses across 63 departments, with 50 libraries available for student use (the largest number of any Italian university) as well as 18 museums.

1. University of Bologna

-The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is believed to be the world’s oldest university.
-There are campuses in Bologna, Cesena, Forli, Ravenna and Rimini in Italy and an international campus in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Bologna has varied nightlife and lots of live music, from opera to modern DJs and bands.

The University of Bologna is also responsible for the Bologna Process, a series of agreements between European countries with the aim of ensuring cooperation and comparability between the higher education systems of Europe.

The university’s long list of alumni includes Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, a number of popes, Nobel-winning inventor and engineer Guglielmo Marconi, and Enzo Ferrari and Giorgio Armani, founders of their eponymous brands.


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Top universities in Italy 2022

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2022 results. 

World University Rank 2022 Italy Rank 2022 University  City 
172 1 University of Bologna Bologna
=197 =2 Sapienza University of Rome Rome 
=197 =2 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Pisa
201–250 =4 University of Padua Padua
201–250 =4 Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa Pisa
201–250 =4 Vita-Salute San Raffaele University Milan
301–350 =7 University of Milan Milan
301–350 =7 University of Milan Bicocca Milan
301–350 =7 University of Rome II – Tor Vergata Rome 
351–400 =10 University of Brescia Brescia
351–400 =10 University of Pavia Pavia
351–400 =10 Politecnico di Milano Milan
351–400 =10 University of Trento Trento
401–500 =14 University of Ferrara Ferrara
401–500 =14 University of Florence Florence
401–500 =14 Free University of Bozen-Bolzano Bolzano
401–500 =14 University of Genoa Genoa
401–500 =14 University of Insubria Como and Varese
401–500 =14 University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Modena
401–500 =14 University of Naples Federico II Naples
401–500 =14 University of Pisa Pisa
401–500 =14 University of Salerno Salerno
401–500 =14 University of Turin Turin
401–500 =14 Verona University Verona
501–600 =25 University of L’Aquila L'Aquila
501–600 =25 University of Bari Aldo Moro Bari
501–600 =25 University of Camerino (Unicam) Camerino
501–600 =25 University of Messina Messina
501–600 =25 University of Perugia Perugia 
501–600 =25 Polytechnic University of Bari Bari
501–600 =25 University of Sannio Benevento
501–600 =25 University of Sassari Sassari
501–600 =25 University of Trieste Trieste
501–600 =25 University of Tuscia Viterbo
501–600 =25 University of Urbino Carlo Bo Urbino
601–800 =36 University of Bergamo Bergamo
601–800 =36 Ca’ Foscari University of Venice Venice 
601–800 =36 University of Calabria Cosenza
601–800 =36 University of Catania Catania
601–800 =36 Gabriele d‘Annunzio University Abruzzo
601–800 =36 Marche Polytechnic University Ancona
601–800 =36 University of Palermo Palermo
601–800 =36 University of Parma Parma
601–800 =36 Parthenope University of Naples Naples
601–800 =36 Polytechnic University of Turin Turin
601–800 =36 University of Rome III Rome
601–800 =36 University of Siena Siena
601–800 =36 University of Udine Udine
801–1000 =50 Amedeo Avogadro University of Eastern Piedmont Vercelli
801–1000 =50 University of Foggia Foggia
801–1000 =50 University of Salento Lecce

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