In order to accede to higher education courses in Italian institutions it is necessary to hold the "Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo dei corsi di istruzione secondaria superiore” (State Exam Diploma upon the conclusion of the higher secondary school course) - commonly known as “Diploma di Maturità”.
The "Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo dei corsi di istruzione secondaria superiore” is obtained after passing the relevant State Exam (called Maturity) which is accessed with a decision taken by the class council in the final scrutiny in the last class of a study course followed in a Liceo (Lyceum), Istituto tecnico (technical Institute) or Istituto professionale (professional Institute), and after a total of 13 years of schooling, divided into 5 years of primary school, 3 years of lower secondary school and the following 5 years of upper secondary school.
The State Exam is structured in three written tests (in some cases four) and an oral component. The first two written tests are on a national level: one is common to all the study majors, while the second is specific to the major attended. The third written test depends on each exam commission. The oral test is based on the specific learning outcomes of the course and in relation to the subjects taught in the last year of study. The final grade of the State Exam is expressed in hundredths (from 60/100 – the minimum passing grade – to 100/100 – the maximum): the exam commission can award “cum laude” with a unanimous decision.
The Diploma di Esame di Stato conclusivo dei corsi di istruzione secondaria superiore allows access to all Italian higher education courses. Specific admission requirements (exams, entry tests, etc.) may be requested by single institutions or in the case of courses with limited access on the basis of national legislation.
For the requirements for access to higher education with foreign qualifications please consult the Academic Recognition section.