First Level University Courses – Undergraduate Study
The term undergraduate study identifies the course of study which is accessed after having obtained the secondary education diploma from the high school (in Italy it can be compared to high school). The undergraduate program lasts four years and leads to the achievement of the bachelor’ Degree.
As part of undergraduate study, it is possible to choose a technical and professional course. In this case, after two years, the Associate degree is obtained.
- Associate degree: An Associate degree is awarded after two years of undergraduate study at a two-year college or Community, Technical, Junior College. For international students, the community college option can be very convenient thanks to the 2 + 2 formula. This allows international students to attend the first two years of their bachelor’s degree program in a community college and then transfer to a 4-year college for the remaining two years that separate them from obtaining the so-called Bachelor’s degree. The advantage of this “mixed” option is twofold: in a community college, the admission requirements to the university are less strict and the tuition is considerably lower.
- Bachelor’s degree: Bachelor’s degree is awarded after four years of study at a four-year college. The program is divided into two years of general culture courses (freshman and sophomore years) followed by two years (junior and senior years) dedicated to an in-depth area (major).
Postgraduate specialization courses – Graduate Study
The term graduate study indicates post-graduate specialization courses at graduate schools that lead to the achievement of a Master’s degree and Ph.D. degree.
The study in some disciplines such as Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine is offered at a graduate level, but being aimed at professional certification, it leads to the achievement of the First Professional degree.
- Master’s degree
The Master’s degree is awarded after one / two years of specialization courses in a specific discipline and sometimes the final exam involves the discussion of a thesis. The program is therefore structured to allow specific specialization in the subject also for professional purposes.
Masters are mainly divided into two categories: professional masters also called terminal masters because they do not lead to a doctoral program but finish, so to speak, training in a given field offering the maximum professional specialization (for example MBAs Masters in Business Administration, MPAs Masters in Public Administration and so on) and academic masters, masters with a more hybrid curriculum that can also end with the defense of a thesis and with a continuation of studies towards a research doctorate.
A type of further master’s, typical of the American system and relatively new, is that of the Professional Science Masters (PSM) master with a very strong business and management imprint but reserved for graduates in science and technology. For more info www.sciencemasters.com.
- Ph.D. degree
The Doctoral degree or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is the highest American academic qualification and is obtained after a period of study and research that can last from three to five years, depending on the type of courses and the career goals that are pursued.
What are the possibilities for financial aid in Italy?
- Fulbright Scholarships, scholarships for attending a postgraduate graduate program at universities in the United States provided by the Fulbright Commission. Scholarships are offered in all disciplines with the exception of programs in Business Administration and / or programs that aim at specializing in some topics between Economics and Business developed within the Departments of Business Administration. Scholarships are not offered for clinical specialization programs (internships or residencies) in the fields of Medicine and Surgery, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine. Information on Fulbright competitions is available from the Commission and its branch offices on the internet. The Fulbright scholarships, offered for study, research, and teaching projects in the best US universities, are reserved for Italian citizens:
Graduates (old system degree, master’s degree, and three-year degree) or graduates from the Academies of Art or Music. Research fellows, researchers, associate professors, and university professors.
The requirement for participation in Fulbright competitions is an excellent knowledge of the English language proven by the TOEFL certificate (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or by the IELTS certificate (International English Language Testing System, Academic format).
For more information on the TOEFL test, see also the Study Guide in the USA.
All Fulbright Scholarships include travel expenses between Italy and the United States and medical insurance coverage funded by the United States Government. The number of scholarships to be awarded in the various categories is determined by the Fulbright Commission on the basis of the annual verification of the financial availability ensured by the contributions of the two US and Italian governments.
- Fund for Italian Students (The Italian Student Loan Fund) loans to Italian graduates who wish to start or continue studies for the achievement of a Master’s or Ph.D. at universities in the United States.
To view the scholarships offered for study projects in the best US universities, reserved for Italian citizens, click on the following link.