Art. 2 of Law 148 of 2002 establishes that:
Universities and Higher Education Institutions are nominated as the competent bodies for the recognition of cycles and study periods abroad and of foreign qualifications, with a view to
- access to higher education
- furthering of university studies,
- and attainment of Italian university qualifications,
and they will assess the above within the scope of their autonomy and in conformity with the respective legislation, except for the cases where specific sectoral bilateral agreements are in place.
These procedures, therefore, are directly performed by Higher Education Institutions (Universities or AFAMs).
- official final secondary school leaving certificate from the relevant foreign system;
- qualification that allows entry to comparable first cycle programme (ex. academic) in the relevant foreign system;
- qualification obtained after an itinerary of at least 12 years of schooling;
- in case where a national test or final exam is necessary to enter a higher education institution, then such a request is also mandatory for entry to Italian programme.
Such a procedure does not transform a foreign qualification into an Italian qualification, but allows entry to second and third cycle programmes if the foreign qualification manifests all the following characteristics:
- official first or second cycle qualification respectively of relevant foreign higher system, awarded by official institution of foreign higher education system;
- qualification that allows entry to comparable second or third cycle programme in the relevant foreign higher education system;
qualification that presents corresponding elements of kind and academic discipline as the Italian qualification required for entry (such as the academic nature or research elements).
The evaluation of a foreign qualification for this purpose may lead to different results:
- the award of the corresponding Italian qualification without the request of sitting further exams or presenting final thesis (direct recognition); such a procedure is identified with the term “direct recognition” or “direct nostrification” (these cases are very rare);
- the request to sit further exams/obtain further credits and /or present final thesis in order to fill the gaps of the part of the curriculum not covered by the foreign qualification, in order to award the corresponding Italian qualification; this procedure is identified with the term “course abbreviation”.
- be an official first or second cycle qualification respectively of relevant foreign higher education system, awarded by an official institution of the foreign higher education system;
- allow entry to comparable second or third cycle programmes in the relevant foreign higher education system;
- present corresponding elements of nature and academic discipline as the Italian qualification required for entry (number of credits, duration, the academic nature and/or research elements, etc.);
- an Italian qualification must exist which is comparable to the foreign qualification, both in type and in academic subject.