• From “accademia”' to “voto”, all the words you need to know to attend an italian university

  • The dictionary of the Italian university

    If you want to study at an University in Italy, you must know the language well, but there is a special vocabulary that it is important to learn, that of the university. Here are all the words you need to know.

The dictionary of the italian university

  • Accademia

    Accademia is the name of a location near Athens, where Plato began his teaching. Plato's “school” then took the name of “accademia”. Today, in the world of Italian universities, the term is mainly used as an adjective (“anno accademico” [academic year], “consiglio accademico” [academic council]) to indicate 'something concerning the university'. An accademia is also understood to mean a type of institution that allows specific knowledge to be further developed at a higher level (“accademia di belle arti” [academy of fine arts], “accademia musicale” [music academy], etc.).

  • Anno accademico

    The anno accademico is defined as the time during which university activities take place. It lasts 12 months but is different from the calendar year and usually starts in Fall. During the academic year there are lectures, laboratory activities, examinations, and practical workshops of various kinds.

    Anno accademico
  • Appello

    The term appello refers to the day on which an examination is scheduled. In the event of a large number of people registering, the “appello” may be split over several days.

  • Ateneo

    The word ateneo originates from the school dedicated to higher education in grammar, rhetoric, philosophy and law, which was founded in ancient Rome by Emperor Hadrian. Today it is used as a synonym for university.

  • Azienda Regionale per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario

    These are the bodies that support the right to university study by providing accommodation, scholarships, catering, guidance and other facilities. ARDSU activities are particularly address to those who, for financial reasons, cannot afford the cost of attending university. In Italy, the right to study is guaranteed to all, as stated in Articles 3 and 34 of the Constitution.

    Azienda Regionale per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario
  • Borsa di studio

    A borsa di studio is a financial contribution to help to pay for the cost of university studies. It is the bodies for the right to study that provide borse di studio for students who cannot afford university, but other institutions, such as some foundations or companies, also provide financial support, in particular for specific study projects. A borsa di studio can cover all or part of the university fees.


    Borsa di studio
  • Classi di laurea

    A classe di laurea is a group of university degree courses that have the same objectives and guarantee the same skills and knowledge to those attending. All degree courses that belong to the same degree class have the same value. Degree classes are specified by a number (e.g. class LM-68 indicates a master's degree courses in sport science and techniques).

    Corso di Laurea
  • Corso di Laurea

    A corso di laurea is the first level of university study. In Italy, universities have teaching indepedence, which is why degree courses with the same name may have - partly - different examinations depending on the university attended.

    Corso di Laurea
  • Corso di laurea magistrale

    A Corso di laurea magistrale is a two-year course of study. In order to enrol in a Master's degree programme, you must have obtained a Bachelor's degree first.

  • Corso di laurea magistrale a ciclo unico

    A "Corso di laurea magistrale a ciclo unico" is a 5-6 year course of study. Obtaining a Master 's degree indicates the advanced acquisition of specific knowledge and skills needed to carry out certain types of profession. Single-cycle degrees are those in pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, law, architecture and educational sciences.

    Laurea magistrale
  • Credito Formativo Universitario (CFU)

    CFUs are the units of measurement used by universities to estimate the amount of activity and time required to achieve certain educational goals. Each CFU corresponds to approximately 25 hours, which may include lectures, tutorials, and study. Each degree course has a specific number of Crediti Formativi Universitari: 180 CFU for Bachelor's degree courses, 120 CFU for Master's degree courses, 300 or 360 CFU for single-cycle Master's degree courses.

  • Dipartimento

    The dipartimento is an organisational structure that includes institutes and teaching and administrative staff working in one or more scientific fields.

  • Esame

    An esame is the moment of verification of what has been learned. The assessment of an examination is expressed in thirtieths, 30 with honours (cum laude) being the maximum mark.

  • Fuori corso

    Each degree course has its own duration in years: Bachelor’s degree courses last three years, Master's degree courses last two years, single-cycle Master's degree courses last five or six years. You may not be able to sit all of your exams and may be enrolled for more than the required number of years. In this situation you will be fuori corso.

    Fuori corso
  • Immatricolazione

    Immatricolazione is enrolment in the first year of a degree course. At the end of the procedure, you will obtain a numero di matricola [registration number] that identifies the registered student. The amount of time reserved during the academic year for enrolment varies according to the degree course. The word matricole [freshmen] is used to refer to first-year students.

  • Libro di testo

    Textbooks are one of the main tools of university teaching. They are chosen independently by each teacher and are the books that students have to read and study to prepare for exams. It is possible that, depending on the exam, the course of study or the interests of the student taking the exam, the textbooks may be supplemented by other texts such as conference proceedings, research or other types of written or multimedia publications.

    Libro di testo
  • Mensa

    This is a service, open to all those enrolled at the university, that allows you to eat at a reasonable price. In some cases, agencies for the right to university study have special agreements with bars and restaurants, offering reduced prices for students enrolled in degree courses.

  • OFA (Obblighi Formativi Aggiuntivi)

    These are study activities specified by universities as necessary to complete the preparation required to undertake a Bachelor's degree course. The type and amount of possible OFAs could be calculated based on the result obtained in the TOLC.

  • Relatore/relatrice

    This is the lecturer chosen by the student to supervise the writing of the final paper. Depending on the case, there may be assistant supervisors to work alongside the supervisor.

  • Rettore/rettrice

    This is the person at the head of a university. They can decide on initiatives concerning teaching, scientific activity and university life in general.

  • Ricevimento

    These are time slots available to students to speak with lecturers. It is possible to go to the lecturer's office during the time slots set on the calendar, but it is also possible to book an interview. During reception time, it is possible to ask for explanations on specific topics, to agree on degree thesis subjects, or to discuss special projects.

  • Sessione d’esame

    The sessione d’esame is a period when there are no lessons and exams are held. Sessione d’esame are usually held in autumn, winter and summer and offer several sessions.

    Sessione d’esame
  • Tesi di laurea

    This is the final paper that is discussed before a committee of lecturers and which allows students to acquire the title of doctor. The dissertation must be original and meet criteria of form and quality that are specified by each university.

    Tesi di Laurea
  • Test di ammissione

    This is the proof you need to be able to complete your enrolment in a degree course. The vast majority of Italian universities adopt the TOLC (Test OnLine CISIA) as their admission test. An admission test is required, even if the degree course is open access.

  • TOLC

    TOLCs (Test OnLine Cisia) are tests required for admission to various Italian universities. They can be taken in a university classroom or even at home, in remote mode (TOLC@Casa). Each university establishes its own calendar for the tests. There are different types of TOLC and passing one entitles you to enrol in any university that requires the same type of test. The purpose of the TOLC is to take stock of the skills and knowledge of those applying to university, but in some cases the TOLC is a veritable admission test.

  • Voto

    The voto is the result obtained in the exam, expressed in thirtieths, but it is also the final grade with which the overall course of studies is assessed and the degree awarded; the voto di laurea [university degree's grade] is expressed in one hundred and tenths.