Autumn Intake at Italian Universities – The What, When and Why

Autumn Intake at Italian Universities – The What, When and Why

Written by Sarah Hastings-Woodhouse

Welcoming almost 60,000 international students per year, Italy is a European hotspot for international study.

PhD programmes in Italy usually start in the autumn. We’ve covered everything you need to know about the autumn intake for PhDs in Italy, including a rough application timetable.


Key features of autumn intake in Italy
Application start time December (the year before your course starts)
Application end time May to June
Acceptance letters January to August
Term dates September to October start

The autumn intake

If you’re part of the autumn intake at an Italian university, you’ll probably start your course between mid-September and early October. The autumn intake is the most popular, with the biggest variety of courses available for this start date..

Italian universities often accept applications in a series of rounds. Each application window will usually last around 5-6 weeks.

Deadlines will vary widely between institutions, so it’s important to check your chosen university’s website to find out when you should apply. The first application round may open as early as the December before your start date, and close in January. The last round will generally open in May and close in June.

If your university accepts applications in rounds, it’s important that you check which round you are eligible for. For example, you may need to apply in an early round to be considered for a particular scholarship.

Non-EU students will likely need to apply in an earlier round because they are required to undergo an additional pre-enrolment stage. Later rounds are often reserved for EU and Italian students. This means that the latest deadline for non-EU students is likely to be in around March or April.

You can generally expect to hear back between four and six weeks after submitting your application.

The autumn intake timeline

Applying for a degree in Italy as an international student can be a lengthy process, so it’s a good idea to start preparing at least one year before your intended start date. We’ve put together a rough application timeline so you don’t miss anything.

Step #1 – November/ December – Prepare and shortlist

It’s a good idea to start researching courses a few months before you’ll be submitting your application. Start by shortlisting programmes that you’re interested in and taking note of the deadlines set by specific institutions.

Step #2 – November/ December – Search for funding options

Though Italy is a relatively affordable location for postgraduate study, applying for extra funding can reduce costs even further! Check what fee reductions or scholarships are available from your university, and if you’re eligible. You can also apply for funding from the Italian government.

You may not be able to actually apply for funding until you have a confirmed place at an Italian university, but it’s a good idea to find out your options in advance. Bear in mind that you may need to apply in an earlier cycle if you want to be considered for a particular scholarship!

Read more about PhD funding in Italy.

Step #3 – January – Get supporting documents ready

Now it’s time to start working on your application. Exact requirements will vary between institutions, but you can expect to need several documents including transcripts of your previous degree(s), a research proposal and proof of language proficiency. We have more information in our guide to PhD applications in Italy.

Step #4 – February – Apply to your chosen university!

Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to make your application. This will usually be done directly to your university. This is the point at which you’ll upload most of your documents. You may also have to pay a small application fee. Check your university’s website for more specific instructions!

You should hear back from your university between four and six weeks after submitting your application.

Step #4 – March – Pre-enrolment (non-EU students only)

If you’re from a non-EU country, you’ll need to complete an extra step called pre-enrolment, which is required in order to apply for a student visa. This is usually done through a separate portal called Universitaly. You will need to specify the university and course you are applying to, and the details of your local Italian consulate or embassy.

Once the university’s foreign office has verified them, Universitaly will forward your details to the embassy or consulate, who will be able to proceed with your visa application.

Step #5 – April/ May – Apply for a student visa

Once you have completed the pre-enrolment procedure, you can apply for a student visa. This will usually be done in person at your local consulate or embassy. It can take around three months for a visa to be issued, so make sure to apply as soon as possible after your pre-enrolment is confirmed.

Read more about applying for an Italian student visa.

Step #6 – July/ August – Apply for accommodation

Securing accommodation in Italy, especially if it’s university-owned, can be competitive, so it’s a good idea to start your search well in advance of arriving. You can find out more about the types of housing on offer in our guide to student accommodation in Italy.

Step #7 – August/September – Get ready to fly!

Classes for the autumn intake in Italy usually start between mid-September and early October, but it’s a good idea to arrive with some time to spare so you can acclimatise!

Why should you Italy in France in the autumn intake?

Most students in Italy will start their course in the autumn. Whether it’s the best option for you will depend on your personal plans and preferences, but here are some reasons to consider it:

  • There is a greater variety of courses available for the autumn intake
  • It may be easier to join a society or find an on-campus job if you start your course at the beginning of an academic year

To find out more about PhD study in Italy, read our detailed guides to universities, accommodation, applications and more!

Find a PhD in Italy

Browse Italian PhDs in our programme finder



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Last Updated: 12 June 2023