Italy was home to many well-known and influential European cultures, including the Etruscans, Greeks, and the Romans. Its capital, Rome, is one of the most historically important cities of the world, as the centre of ancient Rome and the Roman Catholic Church. For more than 3,000 years Italy experienced migrations and invasions from Germanic, Celtic, Frankish, Lombard, Byzantine Greek, Saracen and Norman peoples during the Middle Ages. During the Italian Renaissance, various city-states were noted for their cultural achievements. Italy was divided into many independent states and often experienced foreign domination before the Italian unification, that created Italy as an independent nation-state. During the period under the Italian monarchy and during the world wars Italy experienced much conflict, but stability was restored after the creation of the Italian Republic.
Italy is located in southern Europe and is bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north and by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It includes the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Elba, and some seventy other minor islands. Two small independent states are located within the territory of Italy: the Vatican City in Rome, and the Republic of San Marino.
Italy is a peninsula with prevalently mountainous country extending from the Alps to the Mediterranean. In most of the inland northern and central regions, the climate is temperate but also influenced by the mountains. The coastal regions have a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm and dry summers.
The Republic of Italy is a member state of the European Union. It is a highly developed country with the 7th-highest GDP and the 17th-highest Human Development Index rating in the world. The country’s main economic activities are tourism, fashion, engineering, chemicals, motor vehicles and food products.
Italy holds the largest number of UNESCO heritage sites, 47 sites representing sixty percent of the entire worldwide cultural heritage. As a result, it is the fifth most visited country in the world.
Founding member of EU (25-3-1957)
Modern Italian universities were founded in the twelfth century and are the oldest in the Western world.
Once the centre of the vast Roman Empire and the birthplace of the Renaissance, Italy harbours a vast cultural heritage. Famous Italian artists include Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Tintoretto and Caravaggio. Many of today’s scientific advancements are accredited to Italians such as Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta, known for their revolutionary studies on electricity, Antonio Pacinotti, inventor of the dynamo, and Antonio Meucci, who invented the telephone.
The Italian government offers great support for research, as a strategy for maintaining high standards in technological development. As a result, according to National Science Indicators (1981–2002), Italy has an above-average output of scientific papers in space science, mathematics, computer science, neurosciences, and physics. Italy has also taken great steps in developing cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world in the field of research.
Collaboration agreements between Italian and foreign universities make education more accessible to international students. Italian Universities focus on the integration of students into the social, academic and cultural environment. A tutoring system assists international students with information, paperwork, orientation, extracurricular activities. The Italian state also provides support with student health and social security. All international students are entitled to the same student assistance services as Italian students.
To be eligible for admission to an Italian university, you need to:
1) Hold a foreign high-school diploma that proves you qualify for university education in your home country.
2) Have Italian or English language proficiency depending on the study programme you plan to attend.
If admission to university-level studies in your home country requires special exams, you must give evidence of passing with the required scores.
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Many institutes of higher education specialize in visual arts, music, dance, drama and design. Language learning institutions promote Italian culture all over the world through a variety of courses, using online communication. Telematic universities are Italian non-State universities specialised in distance learning. Universities for foreigners are State institutions that specialise in teaching and research for the development of the Italian language, literature and culture. "Politecnici" (technical universities) concentrate on subject like engineering and architecture. Most study programmes take into account employment needs and include practical training stages.
Examinations are graded according to a scale ranging from 0 to 30, with 18 as a pass mark. A "cum laude" may be added to the highest grade as a special distinction. All examination results are used to calculate the overall degree mark on a scale of 0 to 110. The pass mark is 66 and students who obtain full marks of 110 may be awarded a summa cum laude.
Student assessment is done mainly by oral exams, although some courses will include written tests. Students may choose between a certain dates on which to take the exams. They are also entitled to take the exam again if they are not satisfied with the result. Rules apply as to how often a student can take an exam within an examination period.
As a popular international study destination, Italy provides many study abroad opportunities in English as well as the local language. According to IIE, since 2011 Italy displayed an increase in English-taught Master’s programmes by 40%, and placed in top positions in the Ranking of European Countries by Number of English-Taught Master’s Programmes.
Some international universities offer over 30 percent of their graduate coursework in English. Some Italian universities plan to transition exclusively to English language instruction and assessment at the Master’s and Ph.D. levels in the near future.
Although not all universities offer complete degree programs in English, usually there exist at least a few select English courses designed especially for international students. Study abroad options include "entry level" programmes where students take their first year in English and then the remaining courses in Italian and have the option of taking their final thesis in English.
EU citizens may enter Italy with a passport or ID card and are entitled to stay for study or work as long as they like. You are however required to register with the Questura (police station) in order to obtain residence.
Non-EU Citizens are required to apply for a study visa at an embassy or consulate in their home country.
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