Bologna Country Update: Italy

Legislative Framework

Since 1996 the Italian higher education system has been undergoing a wide and ambitious reform process that has been seeking to restructure and innovate curriculum, governance and organization. The reforms were largely lead by academics from the Italian Rectors Conference who in 1996 published a white paper with recommendations to revitalize higher education. With the election of a new government in 1996 the reform movement moved forward. Drawing further momentum from the Sorbonne and Bologna Declarations, the Italian government in November 1999 began the process of restructuring higher education with the passing into force of a ministerial decree (law 509/99) that has helped re-define the landscape of Italian higher education.

The first change includes the adoption of a binary system with a university track made up of a three-tier degree structure, together with a parallel postsecondary professional track organized at the regional level. In addition, the curriculum of each field has been divided into a core group of disciplines to be found at all universities and a second group to be structured independently by the faculties of each university to enhance institutional autonomy in adapting programs to the demands of society and the labor market. A second requirement of the 1999 reforms was the introduction of a credit system compatible with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to make individual curricula more flexible and to ease the creation of continuing education programs. Third, a national quality assurance system was established, with evaluation offices at each university coordinated nationally by the Comitato per la Valutazione del Sistema Universitario (National Committee of University Evaluation).

1. Easily Readable and Comparable Degrees

2. Degree Structure

New Structure, First Cycle:

Second Cycle:

Third Cycle:

3. Credit Transfer

University of Pisa, Faculty of Engineering (suggested equivalency)
ECTS Grade Italian Marks Definition
A 30 – 30 Excellent, outstanding performance with only minor errors
B 27 – 29 Very good, above the average standard but with some errors
C 24 – 26 Good, generally sound work with a number of notable errors
D 21 – 23 Satisfactory, fair but with significant shortcomings
E 18 – 20 Sufficient, performance meets the minimum criteria
FX < 18 Fail, some more work required before the credit can be awarded
F Fail, considerable further work is required


University of Torino, Faculty of Economics
ECTS Grade Italian Grade Description
A 30,29 Excellent
B 28,27,26 Very good
C 25,24 Good
D 23,22,21,20 Satisfactory
E 19,18 Sufficient, performance meets the minimum criteria
F < 18 Fail


4. Mobility

5. Quality Assurance

6. Promotion of European Dimensions in Higher Education