Information on Italian art and music higher education system

Update: 16:43 | 23/10/2020
TGVN. When it comes to beautiful Italy, world-famous architecture and fashion immediately comes to mind, as well as interior design, music and especially Opera. Currently, the demand for studying abroad in Majors related to the arts and music fields is increasing rapidly. However, little is known about the University system and the recognition of the diploma in this sector.
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In fact, not all university and post-graduate programs as well as degrees in this sector are recognized. In order to help students avoid unexpected risks when choosing training institutions, training programs and legal qualifications, the Recoasia project research team introduces readers to the AFAM system (Alta formazione artistica e musicale) – Higher Arts and Music Training system - in Italy.

Information on Italian art and music higher education system
When it comes to beautiful Italy, world-famous architecture and fashion immediately comes to mind, as well as interior design, music and especially Opera.

The AFAM system includes public conservatories, fine arts institutions (public and private), local government recognized music academies, public dance and theater arts institutes, and public art institutions, as well as legally validated private training institutions authorized by the Ministry of education to provide proper training.

Institutions, belonged to the AFAM system, carry out training, research and production activities in the field of art such as visual art (visual arts including painting, sculpture, photography, cinema, design ...) music, dancing and theatrical performances. This system consists of 145 institutions, in which are 82 publics and 63 privates, namely:

  • 20 Public Academies of Fine Arts
  • 01 National theater academy
  • 01 National dance academy
  • 55 Public conservatories
  • 18 Local conservatories that are now recognized by the state
  • 05 Industrial art institutes
  • 18 State-recognized Academies of Fine Arts including 5 academies with a long history (in Genoa, Verona, Perugia, Bergamo and Ravenna)
  • 27 Institutes legally licensed by the ministry (last update: 12/12/2018)

The establishment of new public training institutions can only be done on the basis of specific legal regulations. New private institutions with training experience in artistic sector may also be authorized by the Ministry after meeting CNAM's requirements for training quality (National Council for Higher Artistic and Musical Education) and accredited by ANVUR (National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes) in terms of economics, facilities, and training quality. After meeting the above requirements, Institutes will be subjected to periodically evaluation by ministry to maintain the quality.

AFAM’s Qualifications

The diplomas issued by the AFAM system's training institutions are equivalent to the degrees in the university system, the courses are also divided into three cycles and organized accordingly to the credit structure of the Bologna Process model which has been applied to the higher education system. However, due to the specificity of this sector, there are differences in regulations on entry requirements and training programs between training institutions.

Currently AFAM's courses include:

  • 1st Cycle: By completing the first cycle, students will be awarded “Diploma Accademico di primo livello” (DA1) - an equivalent of Italian Bachelor degree (Laurea).
  • 2nd Cycle: By completing the first cycle, students will be awarded “Diploma Accademico di secondo livello” (DA2) - an equivalent of Italian Master degree (Laurea magistrale/specialistica).
  • 3rd Cycle: By completing the first cycle, students will be awarded “Diploma Accademico di formazione alla ricerca” - an equivalent of Italian PhD degree (Dottorato di ricerca).
Information on Italian art and music higher education system
Framework for comparing diplomas between higher education system and AFAM. (Source: https://www.istruzione.it/archivio)

It is important to know that the terms "primo livello" and "secondo livello" in DA1 and DA2 diplomas are not the same as "primo livello" and "secondo livello" in Master Universitario di primo livello (MU1), Master Universitario di secondo livello ( MU2). In terms of the nature of the diploma, DA1 and DA2 belonged to the AFAM system, with names indicating the academic orientation in the title (Accademico). Universities can also offer vocational courses related to the arts sector (like fashion design), however the awarded degree are considered MU1 or MU2 and are not recognized as equivalent in the AFAM system.

To learn more about entry requirements, training duration and the validity of degrees in the AFAM system, please take a look at the summary table below.

Cycle

Entry Requirements

Training Duration

Academic Value

1

- High school diploma (five years) or equivalent foreign qualifications;

- Pass the entrance exam to verify the students’ initial preparation, in accordance with the requirements of training regulations.

- 03 years

- 180 credits

- Allow the attending of Civil Service Exams

- Rights to access 2nd Cycle courses

2

- A DA1 degree or equivalent university/ foreign degree;

- Pass the entrance exam to verify the students’ initial preparation, in accordance with the requirements of training regulations.

- 02 years

- 120 credits

- Rights to access 3rd Cycle courses

3

- A DA2 degree or equivalent university/ foreign degree;

There are no credit requirements, however the completion is based on research projects that are developed with specific scientific criteria for each subject in the arts and music field.

In addition to the courses in the 3 mentioned cycles, AFAM's training institutions can also organize specialized courses, supplementary knowledge courses, vocational orientation courses.

Recommendations:

- Students need to do research on courses, academies in the arts and music sector from the official list published by the Italian Ministry of Higher Education and to choose the right course that match their aims.

- Carefully examine a degree’s academic and career-oriented value when applying for arts and music-related major not belonging to AFAM system.

References:

• List of academies and institutions belonging to AFAM system: http://www.afam.miur.it/argomenti/istituzioni.aspx.

• Qualifications comparision between higher education systems and AFAM system: istruzione.it/archivio/alfresco/d/d/workspace/SpacesStore/3762c381-7c18-4c76-b09d-9d5f32d13456/QuadroTitoli.pdf

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