In 1999, Italian university system was fundamentally reformed to meet the objectives of the Bologna Process. The Italian university system is now structured in 3 cycles.
The first cycle degree (undergraduate), known as the Laurea, permits entry to the second cycle degree programs. The Laurea magistrale (postgraduate), the main degree of the second cycle, permits entry to the third cycle doctoral programs leading to the Dottorato di ricerca (PhD).
In addition to the above degrees, which follow the Bologna Process, the Italian system offers other degree programs within the second and third cycles.
The Bologna Process stipulates that the holder of a Laurea (undergraduate degree) is entitled to be known as Dottore, the holder of a Laurea magistrale (postgraduate degree) is entitled to be known as Dottore Magistrale, and the holder of a Dottorato di ricerca (PhD) is entitled to be known as Dottore di Ricerca.
All universities, whether state or private, are under the legal supervision of the Ministry of Universities and Scientific and Technological Research. The main purpose of the reform was to grant full autonomy to universities management as regard finance, teaching and course planning.
Italian qualification framework