5 best architecture universities in Italy for international students 2024

Explore our list of the 5 best architecture universities in Italy and find the perfect place to pursue your studies.


6 minute read
Updated on 18 Apr 2024

Are you dreaming of doing a Master’s in architecture in Italy in English? You came to the right place! Italy is one of the richest countries in terms of art, history and architecture. And besides offering great destinations for expats, Italy also boasts some of the best architecture studies in the world.

In this article, we’ll walk you through

  • the best architecture universities in Italy,
  • their English-taught programs,
  • internationality,
  • and facilities.

But first things first.

How can I become an architect in Italy?

Building a career in architecture isn’t as easy as it might seem. It’s a regulated profession that demands a certain educational background, accreditation and skills. What’s most important is that it takes time. It takes 11 years on average to become a licensed architect.

But let’s take a closer look at the requirements to become an architect in Italy:

  • Academic training of 5 years from an accredited Italian university of architecture or polytechnic school
  • Graduate Diploma in Architectural Studies (laurea in architettura)
  • Ideally, a professional internship during your studies, but it’s not mandatory
  • Pass four Professional Examinations for Architects and Engineers (three written and one oral)
  • Register with one of the local Ordine Degli Architetti (Order of Architects)

Only when you check the above boxes, you can professionally engage in the practice of architecture in Italy.

If you’re a non-EU citizen wanting to work as a freelance architect in Italy, you’ll also have to arrange your self-employment visa. And the process for regulated professions, such as architecture, is somewhat more complicated than for non-regulated professions that don't require a qualification (e.g. writing).

Another thing to keep in mind is that speaking Italian is an absolute must for anyone seeking to start a career in Italy. And, as an architect, you’ll need an advanced level to be able to communicate with your clients or colleagues.

In fact, you’ll realise that only 30–35% of Italians speak English as a foreign language. So, you might be able to study architecture in Italy in English, but you’ll also have to practice your Italian meanwhile.

What can I expect to earn as an architect in Italy?

An average gross annual salary for an architect in Italy is €39,285 for an entry-level position (1-3 years of experience) and €69 104 for a senior level project architect (8+ years of experience). That’s on the higher end of the average salaries in Italy. So, those many years of studying will pay off!

English-taught architecture universities in Italy

As you keep reading, you’ll notice that the amount of English-taught architecture programs in Italy is somewhat limited. Strikingly, there’re way more opportunities for pursuing a master’s in architecture in Italy in English than for bachelor programs.

Nevertheless, if you end up studying architecture in Italy, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.

So what are the best architecture universities in Italy?

We made a list of top-5 universities based on the ranking of their architecture programs:

  1. Politecnico di Milano
  2. Politecnico di Torino
  3. Sapienza University of Rome
  4. Iuav University of Venice
  5. University of Bologna

Admission requirements for architecture programs in Italy

Some of the most common criteria you’ll need to meet when applying for an English-taught architecture program in Italy:

  • Proof of English language proficiency such as IELTS, TOEFL or PTE Academic examinations;
  • High-school or Bachelor’s diploma;
  • For some Master’s: portfolio with previous designs.

Top 5 architecture universities in Italy

1. Politecnico di Milano

Photo taken from Corriere della Sera

With over 45 000 students, Politecnico di Milano is the leading Italian university in the fields of Engineering, Architecture and Design. Research and innovation play a key role in the university mission. It’s for a good reason this university ranked as #1 in Italy and #10 in the world for its architecture studies in 2021, according to The QS World University Rankings by Subject.

If you’re looking for an architecture university in Italy with the highest standards of education and a strong research focus, Politecnico di Milano is a no-brainer. Plus, Milan is certainly one of the best places in Italy to live as an expat!

Location in Italy: Milan, Piacenza, Mantova, Lecco, and Cremona.

Facilities: The seven campuses of the university spread across the Bovisa and Citta Studi neighbourhoods of Milan and its nearby cities. The campuses are equipped with state-of-art facilities including architectural modelling and digital technology and design laboratories.

You’ll find an abundance of workshops where you can experiment with carpentry, metal cutting, 3D printing, digital modelling and virtual reality.

Average percentage of international students: 16%.

English-taught bachelor degree programmes: Architectural Design.

English-taught master degree programmes: Architectural Design and History, Architecture - Building Architecture, Architecture - Built Environment - Interiors, Architecture and Urban Design, Building and Architectural Engineering, Landscape Architecture - Land Landscape Heritage, Management of Built Environment, Sustainable Architecture and Landscape Design, Urban Planning and Policy Design.

Tuition fees: Tuition fees for both EU and non-EU students depend on the student’s family income. They're calculated based on the ISEE declaration and the number of credits (CFU/ECTS) included in the selected study plan.

Check out the list of available scholarships, grants and financial aid.

Choose your ideal student housing options in Milan.

2. Politecnico di Torino

Photo by Saverio Lombardi Vallauri taken from CIS S.R.L.

Founded in 1859, Politecnico di Torino is the oldest technical university in Italy. It’s the second-best university for architecture in Italy and it ranked as #34 for studies in architecture in the world.

The university has a range of scholarships that are aimed at attracting students from foreign countries. Though, unfortunately, only a limited number of programs are available in English.

Location in Italy: Turin.

Facilities: DAD’s campus located in the San Salvario neighbourhood possesses laboratories and workstations for research and workshops. They are fully equipped for assembling models and preparing communication materials.

Average percentage of international students: 16%.

English-taught bachelor degree programmes: Architecture.

English-taught master degree programmes: Architecture Construction and City, Architecture for the Heritage, Sustainable Architecture.

Tuition fees: The amount to be paid varies according to the place of residence of the student. Click here for an interactive map and respective fees.

Find accommodation in Turin for international students.

3. Sapienza University of Rome

Photo by Cristopher Martelli taken from ArchiDiAP

Sapienza University of Rome is the largest university in Europe, boasting over 115 000 students in total, 5 500 of which are international. The university is ranked as #3 in Italy and #51 in the world for its architecture curriculums, together with the IUAV University of Venice.

Sapienza participates in the Erasmus exchange programme and partners with over 400 universities.

Location in Italy: Rome.

Facilities: The students of the university have 59 libraries and a variety of workshops__ at their disposal. The research and service labs are equipped with the latest technology available for experimentation and research activities. There you’ll find tools for 3D printing, laser cutting, thermoforming, milling, silicon moulding, you name it.

Average percentage of international students: 6%.

English-taught master degree programmes: Architecture (Conservation), Architecture - Urban Regeneration, Landscape Architecture.

Tuition fees: The fixed fee for international students equals to €1 000 or €500 for students coming from developing countries.

Sapienza University of Rome offers a range of scholarship opportunities.

Explore all student accommodations in Rome.

4. Università Iuav di Venezia

Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

The Iuav University of Venice was established in 1926 as one of the very first architecture schools in Italy. Famous architect Carlo Scarp is the mastermind behind the sleek entrance areas of the Tolentini building.

Some of the famous alumni include Pritzker laureate Alejandro Aravena and notable architects Benedetta Tagliabue and Stefano Boeri. So you’ll be in good company!

Location in Italy: Venice.

Facilities: The laboratories of this prestigious Italian architecture university support scientific and professional activities across different disciplines. They offer opportunities to explore innovative techniques and materials for architecture and industrial design; environmental engineering physics; construction science; building material preservation; earth science; multimedia technologies; photogrammetry and so on.

English-taught master degree programmes: Architecture, Urban Planning for Transition.

Tuition fees: €2,780.

Discover all Venice student housing options.

5. Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna

Photo by Monica Galeotti

Let’s start with a fun fact; the University of Bologna is the oldest existing university in the Western world! It was founded in 1088 as a result of a spontaneous and informal initiative of a few students. Now the university is home to over 85 000 students and 600 employees.

In contrast, its current Department of Architecture is relatively new. It was established in 2010. The main focus of the Department of Architecture is on international collaborations in interdisciplinary research and training.

Location in Italy: Cesena, Bologna and Ravenna.

Facilities: The University of Bologna has a vast network of facilities supporting research, professional and cultural activities. It has laboratories for information systems, photography, digital modelling and representation, cartography, CAD/CAE, construction materials, survey and digital visualisation.

Average percentage of international students: 6%

English-taught master degree programmes: Architecture and Creative Practises For the City and Landscape, Building Engineering and Architecture, Engineering of Building Processes and Systems.

Tuition fees: A fixed tuition fee for international students is €3 315. However you can opt for a calculation based on your family's or your own independent income. To qualify, you need to present the documentation confirming your economic situation and assets, issued by the competent authority where the income was earned. But if you or your family live in Italy, you must request the ISEE calculation (in Italian).

Want to explore scholarship opportunities? Head over here.

Book student accommodation in Bologna today.

Last but not the least

Studying abroad in Italy is a great opportunity to discover new cultures while living la dolce vita in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. And have we mentioned that it’s also pretty affordable?

If you manage to get one of the scholarships for foreign students, you might even be able to study for free!

But there are a few practicalities to keep in mind if you’re coming from abroad.

As soon as you get accepted by one of the best architecture schools in Italy (and you will!), it’s important you start your student visa application and begin working through your moving checklist.

Want to know more about Studying in Italy? Download the free e-book by filling out the form below.

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