Studying in Rome – A Guide for Postgraduate Students
Written by Hannah Slack
Italy is a great choice for PhD study. Why not consider applying to one of the excellent universities in the country’s capital, Rome?
Known as the Eternal City, everywhere you walk in Rome you can see its extensive history and rich culture. As one of the first major centres of the Renaissance, you’ll surround yourself with centuries of knowledge, innovation and creation.
This guide covers everything you need to know about studying in Rome, from the top universities to living costs and future career opportunities.
Why study your postgraduate degree in Rome?
From cultural sites to low tuition fees, Rome has plenty on offer for PhD students from around the world.
- Affordable: Public funded universities in Italy offer much cheaper courses than many other places in Europe. The average tuition fee for a postgraduate degree is €1,630 per year. This helps keep the cost of living in a capital city down.
- Cultural hub: Founded in 753 BC, Rome has been a centre point for the history of humanity, particularly in the west. The city not only houses many sites from antiquity, such as the Pantheon and the Forums, but has been the birthplace of many movements, such as Baroque architecture and Neoclassicism.
- Accessible: Many of Rome’s universities offer an extensive and diverse list of courses available in English. Rome is also home to the largest university in Europe, Sapienza University of Rome, which has multiple Italian and international campuses.
What are the top universities in Rome for postgrad study?
#1 Sapienza University of Rome
Founded in 1303, Sapienza University of Rome is the city’s oldest university. As mentioned, it is also the largest university in Europe with over 120,000 students, 48 libraries and 18 museums.
Sapienza University of Rome currently ranks at the sixth best university in Italy and is in the top 250 in the world. With its vast scale and resources on offer, this institution would be an excellent place to consider postgraduate study.
#2 University of Rome Tor Vergata
Next up is the University of Rome Tor Vergata which is located perfectly between the bustling centre of Rome and the relaxing hillsides and vineyards of Castelli Romani. The University of Rome Tor Vergata offers affordable tuition fees and allows many of its PhDs to be completed English. You can also take advantage of their free language courses to brush up on your Italian!
With a 90.6% student satisfaction rating and multiple scholarship opportunities, University of Rome Tor Vergata is a great option for postgraduates considering study in Rome.
#3 Roma Tre University
The third highest ranked university in Rome is Roma Tre University. Founded in 1992, Roma Tre University is still a young institution compared to many others in the city. They offer over 60 postgraduate courses, many of which are conducted in English. They also host an annual film festival to help showcase the work of students and educators.
Living costs for students in Rome
As with any capital city, living in Rome is not as cheap as other areas in Italy. However, there are multiple neighbourhoods within or near Rome which offer affordably livings costs.
San Lorenzo is the main student neighbourhood in central Rome. Due to its closeness to Sapienza University of Rome, the large student population helps keep the costs down. Further out, Monteverde and Parioli are popular residential areas with good public transport. Additionally, Pigneto offers a livelier culture of bars, restaurants and live music.
Student Cost of Living in Rome - 2023
|Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment, city centre)
|Monthly rent (1 bedroom apartment, outside city centre)
|Monthly travel pass
|Based on crowdsourced data published by Numbeo.
Another method students use to reduce their expenses is to live in communal postgraduate houses. Renting a room is typically cheaper than a studio apartment and the cost of bills can be split. Many universities also have multiple scholarships available for postgraduate students.
Working during your degree in Rome
Another way to bring in extra cash is to work part-time during your degree. Both home and international students are capped at working 20 hours per week, not exceeding 1,040 hours per year. This allowance does not include university internships.
For PhD students, the most popular jobs include admin, research or teaching assistant roles. Working within a faculty means that language skills in Italian may not be necessary. Other options include working in hospitality, retail or tourism off campus. However, these roles will likely only be suitable for proficient Italian speakers.
While your PhD course and university is the most important thing when it comes to studying in Rome, make sure to take some time to see the many amazing sites!
The centre of Rome is home to countless fascinating sites, most famously the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. If you fancy a day trip you can also visit the Vatican, home of the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.
For those more interested in the views than the art or architecture, Rome was famously founded on seven hills which all offer impressive sights over the city and surrounding areas.
While the economy in Rome has been slowly growing, securing a job in the city as an international graduate can be difficult. It is highly likely that you will need to be proficient in Italian to apply for a permanent contract. Currently, the largest industries in Rome offering the most career opportunities are marketing, communications, business management, hospitality and tourism. Rome’s digital and online industries are also growing.
EU/EEA students are free to work in Rome under the same laws as Italian nationals. If you’re international student from another country, then you will need to convert your student permit to a work permit. You can read more about the logistics of Italian work visas in our guide.
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