Number of students at leading Italian universities 2017-2018

In the academic year 2017/2018, over 100 thousand students were enrolled at La Sapienza University of Rome, making it the largest Italian university. Furthermore, the University of Bologna , which also ranks as the best Italian university, followed in the list with 81 thousand students, while the University of Naples Federico II, ranked third. In total, 1.7 million students were enrolled at Italian universities in the academic year 2017/2018.

Ancient, public, and digital higher education

Among the 20 largest Italian universities, 18 of them are public institutes. The two private universities in the list are Catholic University of Milan and Pegaso University. The latter is an online university, founded only in 2006 and counting roughly 30 thousand enrolled students. However, some of the oldest universities in the world are located in Italy. The University of Naples is the oldest public university in the world, whereas the University of Bologna is the oldest university overall.

Popular courses of study

Back in the Middle Age, the University of Bologna offered mainly subjects as liberal arts, law, and theology. However, these seem to rank lower among the most common degrees nowadays. In the academic year 2018/2019, 45.9 thousand students in Italy enrolled in economics programs, the most popular field of study. Moreover, industrial engineering and computer engineering were the second most popular degree programs.

Number of students enrolled at university in Italy in the academic year 2017/2018, by leading universities

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

Academic year 2017-2018

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Statistics on "Education in Italy"

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