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Many of the world's oldest universities are located in Italy, in particular the University of Bologna (founded in 1088), the University of Padua, founded in 1222, or the University of Naples, founded in 1224 and the most ancient state university in Europe. Most universities in Italy are state-supported.
Universities in Italy fits the framework of the Bologna Process since the adoption, in 1999, of the so-called 3+2 system. The first level degree is the Laurea triennale that can be achieved after three years of studies. Selected students can then complete their studies in the following step: two additional years of specialization which leads to the Laurea Magistrale.
The "Laurea triennale" corresponds to a Bachelor Degree while the "Laurea Magistrale" corresponds to a Master Degree. Only the Laurea Magistrale grants access to third cycle programmes (Post-MA degrees, Doctorates or Specializing schools), that last 2 to 5 years (usually completing a PhD takes 3 years). However, there is just a unique five-year degree "Laurea Magistrale Quinquennale" (Five-Year Master of Arts) for some programmes such as Law (Facoltà di Giurisprudenza), Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti) and Music (Conservatorio di Musica). The title for MA/MFA/MD/MEd graduate students is Dottore (abbreviation in Dott./Dott.ssa or Dr., meaning Doctor). This title is not to be confused with the PhD and Post-MA graduates, whose title is Dottore di Ricerca (Research Doctor or Philosophy Doctor).
The Italian Masters Degree should not be confused with Italian "Masters" that are one-year specialistic courses which guarantee a more practical education but do not give access to further levels of studies.
Universities in Italy can be divided into 4 groups:
- state-funded public universities: this category comprises most of Italian university, particularly the largest institutions.
- universities funded by other public authority (other than the state, such as Provinces): this is the case of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.
- superior graduate schools, which focus only on postgraduate education.
- private universities officially recognized by the Ministry of Education.
See also 
- Kamp, Norbert. "Federico II di Svevia, Imperatore, Re di Sicilia e di Gerusalemme, Re dei Romani". Treccani. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "Cenni Storici". Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
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