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Top Universities for PhD Study in Italy in 2022

Written by Ben Taylor

Italy’s historic universities and beautiful cities make it a popular destination for PhD students from around the world looking to make the most of its unique research opportunities. The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is one of the oldest universities in the world, while Italy has also played an important role in the standardisation of higher education around Europe through the Bologna Process.

If you’re looking to do a PhD at one of Italy’s prestigious universities, the various ranking systems offer a useful way to begin your search. This page summarises the performance of Italian institutions in three of the main world university league tables.

Top ranked Italian universities for PhD study

The table below shows how Italian universities perform in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Top 10 Italian Universities in 2022
University THE 2022 QS 2022 ARWU 2021
University of Bologna=172=166201-300
Sapienza University of Rome=197171151-200
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa=197-401-500
University of Padua201-250-151-200
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies - Pisa201-250--
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University201-250390401-500
University of Milan301-350316151-200
University of Milan-Bicocca301-350450301-400
University of Rome II – Tor Vergata301-350=494501-600
University of Brescia351-400751-800701-800
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

So, how good are universities in Italy for PhD study?

With several universities among the top 300 in the world, Italian universities represent an excellent destination for ambitious PhD students. Italy has a vibrant higher education sector, with research-intensive universities that are both state and non-state run. They’re also well-connected with other universities around Europe and beyond, maintaining strong research networks. This strength is reflected by the number of international students who choose Italian universities, with around 100,000 foreign students enrolled there.

Search for a PhD in Italy

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse PhDs in Italy on or read our guide to studying a PhD in Italy.

Last Updated: 18 November 2021

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