Academic qualifications issued at UniBs: Italian and European qualification framework

Dottorato DMMT

Università degli studi di Brescia issues academic degrees pursuant to the Italian university system, which is based on the three cycles defined by the Bologna Process

  • Laurea (First cycle QF-EHEA / level 6° EQF)
  • Laurea magistrale (Second cycle QF-EHEA / level 7° EQF)
  • Dottorato di ricerca (Third cycle QF-EHEA / level 8° EQF)
  • Diploma di specializzazione (Third cycle QF-EHEA / level 8° EQF)

Our university issues also Master universitario of first and second level, which belong respectively to Second cycle QF-EHEA / level 7° EQF and Third cycle QF-EHEA / level 8° EQF.

Supporting long life learning and professional development, our university also organizes:

  • training courses
  • courses for professional development
  • preparatory courses for open contests for statal level employment
  • preparatory courses for state exams for professional qualification
  • courses for life long learning

Italian university system

Italian qualification framework QF-EHEA

In 2005, the Ministers of Higher Education of the Bologna Process signatory countries decided to develop the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area - QF for the EHEA.

The Framework comprises the three main cycles of Higher Education, as defined by the Bologna Process, and offers an overview of all qualifications awarded at the end of each cycle, with reference to the number of ECTS credits collected and to the learning outcomes according to the Dublin Descriptors

The Bologna Process provides that, in all countries, study at the level of higher education should be articulated in three cycles:
  • a first cycle with a minimum length of three years – from 180 to 240 ECTS credits; 
  • a second cycle with a length of one or two years – from 60 to 120 ECTS credits;
  • a third cycle of doctorate studies which does not necessarily need to be expressed in the form of credits (the length of doctoral studies in the majority of countries is three years). It is normal that accession to this cycle occurs after the overall accumulation of 300 ECTS credits – around five years of study.

In general terms, the qualifications corresponding to each cycle guarantee access to the next cycle, taking into account the internal regulations established by the various legislations of the member countries. In a single cycle various types of courses may be included with differing lengths, different educational objectives and may be characterized by a leaning more towards the academic or towards the professional.

The EHEA QF deals exclusively with qualifications referring to the higher education sector which are accessed upon completion of secondary school education – traditionally associated with university level study. Furthermore, such a framework is based on the concept of “credits”, namely a unit of measurement to establish the necessary commitment in terms of work-hours to obtain a qualification, or also the “weight” in terms of hours for every qualification. The credit system used by the Bologna Process QF is the ECTS - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

European qualifications framework - EQF

In 2002, the Ministers with the responsibility for lifelong learning policies of EU member countries asked the European Commission to create a framework to be of use for qualifications recognition and which would allow a dialogue between academic and professional systems in the various countries, also as a result of the push generated by policies produced by the Bologna Process.

The challenge to be faced by the European Qualifications Framework - EQF is by no means simple: each system must maintain its own structure, whereas it has to link with a single reference framework.

The EQF wishes to include all the existing qualifications in a perspective of lifelong and lifewide learning (from education and professional training to higher education, and from basic education to adult level). Consequently, the framework is structured in 8 reference levels, from basic qualifications (such as primary school) to more advanced (such as PhD). Each level is determined by a series of descriptors which indicate the learning outcomes of the qualifications attributable to that level, in terms of knowledge, competences and ability which the holder of the qualification must have acquired, independently of the system or the modality with which the qualification has been obtained (formal, non-formal or informal study path). The EQF reference levels shift, therefore, the attention from a traditional approach – based on standardized programmes and courses – to a structure linked to learning outcomes.

The last three EQF levels – levels 6, 7 and 8 respectively – have been made compatible to the three cycles – the first, second and third cycles respectively – of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) QF of the Bologna Process: the qualifications belonging to such cycles/levels are thus compatible between themselves on the basis of common descriptors – the EQF learning results on one side, and the Dublin Descriptors for the Bologna Process.

Last updated on: 11/05/2021