University Education System 4
Definitions and characteristics of higher education institutions: university sector 5
State Universities 5
Non-State Universities 6
Technical Universities 7
Universities for Foreigners 7
Higher Schools 7
Distance-learning Universities 7
The 4 great subject areas 7
Degree (L / L3) 8
Master-level degree (LS) 9
Master-level degree unique cycle (DS2) 10
First level University Master (MU1) 11
Research doctorate (DR) 11
Second level University Master (MU2) 12
Information on student welfare services at Italian universities and higher education institutions 13
Part-time jobs 14
Counselling and Tutoring Service 14
Job, training and placement 14
International Relations Office 14
Assistance and support for students with disabilities 15
Cultural activities 15
Medical care 16
Language centre 16
Office for public relations (U.R.P) 17
University Education in England 18
British universities 18
What is UCAS? 18
UCAS personal Statement 19
UCAS tariff 19
UCAS subsidiaries 21
Ancient university 22
Red Brick university 22
New Universities 23
1960s or "Glass Plate" Universities 23
Post-1992 or "Modern" Universities 24
Collegiate university 25
Main differences and similarities between University in England and in Italy 26
University of Oxford 27
Degrees of Oxford University 31
Undergraduate degrees 31
Undergraduate masters degrees 32
The degree of Master of Arts 32
Significance of the MA 33
Postgraduate degrees 33
Higher degrees 34
Recent innovations 34
The Oxford Union Society 35
University Education in Italy
Italy has played an important role in European higher education: it is one of the four countries that was first involved in creating the so-called "European Area of Higher Education" (Sorbonne Declaration, May 1998), thus starting that type of higher education reform which, known as the "Bologna Process" (Bologna Declaration, June 1999) is being implemented all over Europe.
Today Italy ranks among the 8 most industrialised countries in the world. Alongside some big companies, both state-owned and private, she has developed a sound network of small and medium-sized undertakings, promoted a few scientific parks, and is encouraging basic and applied research in a great variety of fields (biology, ICT, medicine, physics, etc.).
University Education System
Italian university education is structured in a binary system, consisting of two main articulations:
- the university sector
- the non-university sector.
At present, the university sector is made up of 82 university institutions which are classified in:
- 63 state universities
- 16 non-State universities (legally recognised by the State)
- 03 distance-learning universities.
Definitions and characteristics of higher education institutions: university sector
State universities are public entities endowed with scientific, teaching, managerial, financial and book-keeping autonomy; they have full legal capacity in matters of both public and private law. Their major tasks are scientific research and higher education. Due to the principle of university autonomy, each university may draw up its own statutes and regulations, issued by rectoral decrees. At this implementation stage of the 1999 reform, all universities have adopted their autonomous statutes which define the organs for institutional governance, and teaching and research structures.
The main governing authorities within a university are the Rector, the Academic Senate, the Board of Governors.
- The Rector chairs the Academic Senate and the Board of Governors, supervises the general running of all university structures and services, is responsible for disciplinary matters, draws up agreements for external cooperation, plans all the teaching and research activities of the institution. The Rector is elected among full professors and is the legal representative of the university.
- The Academic Senate establishes the general guidelines for the activities of the university and plans its development. It approves the university regulations, coordinates teaching activities and has the authority to plan, coordinate and control university autonomy. The Senate is made up of the Rector, the Faculty Deans, and other representatives of the academic community, all elected in conformity to the rules of the university statute.
- The Board of Governors supervises the whole administrative, financial, patrimonial and personnel management of the university; in particular, it approves the budget. It is made up of the Rector, the Head of Administration, and other representatives of both the academic and external business community according to the rules laid down in the statute.
Universities reach their institutional goals in teaching and research through specific structures: faculties, degree programmes, departments, institutes, and service centres.
- Through the faculties, universities organise their action in the various subject areas. Faculties coordinate subject courses and arrange them within the different degree programmes; they appoint academic staff and decide –with respect for the principle of teaching freedom - how to distribute roles and workload among university teachers and researchers. The Faculty is run by the Faculty Council and the Dean.
- Departments organise those research sectors that are homogeneous by objectives or methods, and group all related subject courses. They promote and manage research, organise doctoral programmes, carry out research and consultancy work -according to specific agreements and contracts - on request of external organisations. The Department is run by the Department Council and the Director.
- Institutes each deal with a homogeneous scientific sector; their role is to carry out teaching and develop research. The Institute is run by the Institute Council and the Director.
- Service centres may be set up by individual Faculties or by the university itself to provide services of general interest.
For the achievement of common research or teaching purposes, a university may establish interuniversity centres or consortia with other universities or with public and private organisations. Interdepartmental research centres and interdepartmental service centres may also be set up; the first to carry out research work of special relevance, the second to fully exploit particularly complex services and equipment.
Taken for granted the unity of the teaching function, university teachers are organised in two different categories sharing the same guarantees of teaching and research freedom:
a) senior lecturers (first category)
b) associate lecturers (second category).
The following profiles are also a part of the teaching staff:
d) assistants (a category in extinction) and a few similar categories.
Besides, a university may call to cooperate to its teaching activities the so-called:
e) contract lecturers.
At present there are 56480 lecturers, while the number of the students in Italian universities is about 1,8 million.
Non-State universities may be recognised by a decree of the Minister of Education. Legal recognition takes place after an evaluation process concerning the university statute, its organisation model, budget, etc. The degrees awarded by legally recognised non-State universities have the same legal value as those of State universities.
Non-State universities have to comply with the same general principles and criteria as defined by the national university legislation for State institutions. The differences between State and non-State universities concern funding and governance.
In the Italian system these universities are called "Polytechnics" and concentrate exclusively in the subject fields of the two Faculties of Engineering and Architecture.
They adopt the same institutional model as that of State universities.
Universities for Foreigners
Universities for foreigners are State institutions specialised in teaching and research for the development and diffusion of the Italian language, literature and culture.
Higher schools regulated by special legislation are institutions specialised in postgraduate university studies and scientific research. They offer 3rd cycle programmes (research doctorates).
Distance-learning universities are non-State universities specialised in e-learning. When legally recognised, they provide distance programmes accredited by the State.
The 4 great subject areas
The 4 great subject areas covering the whole of university education are: health, sciences, social studies, humanities. Each area is subdivided in the following main subject sectors:
1. Health: medicine & surgery, dentistry & dental prosthesis, veterinary medicine, pharmacy & industrial pharmacy, pharmacy sciences and technologies, nursing & midwifery professions, health rehabilitation professions, technical sanitary assistance, preventive care;
2. Sciences: agricultural sciences and technologies, food industry & forestry, environmental sciences and technologies, architecture & building engineering, technology for the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage, biological sciences, biotechnologies, chemical sciences and technologies, computer sciences and technologies, engineering (civil, environmental, industrial, information), maths, physical education & sports, statistics, earth sciences, urban planning, regional & environmental planning animal production & husbandry;
3. Social studies: communication sciences, social sciences for cooperating, development & peace, defence & security, economy sciences & business administration, law sciences, political science and international relations, social service & sociology, tourism sciences;
4. Humanities: literature, philosophy, modern languages and cultures (glottology, linguistics, literature, philology, etc.), language mediation (applied foreign languages, interpreting, translating), formation sciences, arts (performing, visual; fashion, music), geography sciences, history sciences.
Degree (L / L3)
Classification: 1st cycle university degree, characterised by both theoretical and applied studies.
Aim: provide undergraduates with adequate knowledge of general scientific principles, mastery of related methods, and specific professional skills.
Access: with an Italian secondary-school diploma, or a comparable foreign one.
Admission: generally free; in some cases by entrance tests, depending on places availability.
Workload: 180 credits
Length: 3 years full time.
Course structure: each L3 course must include 6 different types of subject courses in relation to the nature of the respective teaching/learning activities:
1. courses meant for basic education in one or more study fields;
2. courses whose subject fields are specific for a given degree;
3. courses in similar/supplementary subject fields;
4. optional courses,;
5. courses preparatory to the final examination;
6. courses for complementary skills (foreign languages, computer, distance-learning, placements).
Given qualification: Degree.
Academic qualification: Graduate.
• employed positions in private or public commercial/industrial undertakings;
• posts within the Civil service at level VII;
• practice in Italy of the corresponding regulated professions, if any, after successful passing of the relevant state examinations conferring the professional license (only all L3 in the health sector are directly licensing to the related sanitary professions);
• practice of the corresponding regulated professions in those EU member states where similar professions exist (after obtaining professional recognition under the relevant EC Directives).
Further university studies: access to LS and MU1 programmes.
Master-level degree (LS)
Classification: 2nd cycle university degree, characterised by a strong theoretical part and specialist studies in a given subject field.
Aim: provide graduates with advanced education for highly qualified professions in specific sectors as well as with adequate training for advanced independent research. fornire allo studente una formazione di livello avanzato per l’esercizio di attività di elevata qualificazione in ambiti specifici.
Access: by a related L3, or a comparable foreign degree.
Admission: often free; in some cases by entrance tests, depending on places availability.
Workload: 120 credits.
Length: 2 years full time.
Course structure: each LS course must include 6 different types of subject courses in relation to the nature of the respective teaching/learning activities:
1. courses meant for basic education in one or more study fields,
2. courses whose subject fields are specific for a given degree,
3. courses in similar/supplementary subject fields,
4. elective courses,
5. courses preparatory to the final examination,
6. courses for complementary skills (foreign languages, computer, distance learning, work experience).
Given qualification: Master-level degree.
Academic qualification: Magisterial graduate.
Professional openings: same occupational sectors as those available to L3 graduates but LS holders are invested with greater responsibilities and may progress in the career up to the highest managerial offices; therefore:
• employed positions in private or public commercial/industrial undertakings;
• posts within the civil service at level VIII (managers), and may progress up to the office as general manager;
• practice in Italy of the corresponding regulated professions;
• practice of the corresponding regulated professions in those EU member states where similar professions exist.
Further university studies: access to DR, DS2, MU2 programmes.
Master-level degree unique cycle (DS2)
Classification: 2nd cycle university degree, professionally-oriented.
Aim: provide postgraduates with knowledge and skills for a few specific professions; DS2 programmes may be set up exclusively on the basis of specific national laws or EU Directives.
Access: by a Master-level degree (LS), or a comparable foreign degree.
Admission: by public competition.
Workload: 120-360 credits.
Length: 2-6 years full time.
Course structure: curricular compulsory requirements, defined by national law, include theoretical studies in combination with practical applications and professional training; some research activity may be also required.
Given qualification: Master-level degree.
Academic qualification: Magisterial graduate.
Professional openings: DS2 holders may:
• practise in Italy the respective self-employed specialist professions with the title as Specialist;
• take up functions within the civil service which require specialist education and training in certain fields;
• be employed as highly-qualified professionals in private commercial/industrial undertakings;
• practise the corresponding regulated professions (if any) in another EU member state, after obtaining professional recognition under the relevant EC Directives.
First level University Master (MU1)
Classification:2nd cycle university degree; it may be either academic in nature or, more often, professionally-oriented.
Aim: provide graduates either with advanced scientific knowledge in a given field or with further professional education and training for better occupational opportunities.
Access: by an Italian 1st degree (Degree-L3), or a comparable foreign one.
Admission: often by selective procedures, on the decision of the master programme director.
Workload: min. 60 credits.
Length: min. 1 year.
Course structure: curricular articulation is decided upon autonomously by individual universities.
Given qualification: University Master-1st level degree
Professional openings: same occupational sectors as those available to L3 graduates. Private and public employers generally appreciate the further academic/professional competences MU1 holders have acquired; e.g. in public competitions for L3-based posts within the civil service, applicants who additionally hold an MU1 are attributed additional.
Research doctorate (DR)
Classification: 3rd cycle university degree, fully academic in nature
Aim: provide postgraduates with training for highly specialised research. fornire le competenze necessarie per esercitare, presso università, enti pubblici o soggetti privati, attività di ricerca di alta qualificazione.
Access: by a related LS, or a comparable foreign degree in a related subject sector.
Admission: by public selection procedure, organised locally by individual universities.
Length: min. 3 years, depending on subject fields.
Course structure: DR programmes mainly consists in independent research projects of a high quality standard. Postgraduates carry out their research activities under the supervision of a lecturer who is specifically appointed to act as a tutor; sometimes, the attendance of seminars or of a few subject courses is also required. Transition from one year to the next depends on the tutor's positive assessment of the doctoral student's performance.
Given qualification: Research doctorate
Academic qualification: Research graduate
• academic career within a university; research doctors start as researchers and by means of subsequent public competitions may progress up to the juridical status of senior lecturers;
• career within public research bodies, and in research laboratories of large companies.
Further university studies: participation in post-doctoral research projects.
Second level University Master (MU2)
Classification: 3rd cycle university degree; it may be either academic in nature or, more often, professionally-oriented.
Aim: provide postgraduates with a higher level of academic education in a given field, or with higher professional education and training for better occupational opportunities.
Access: by a Master-level degree (LS), or a comparable foreign degree
Admission: often by selective procedures, on the decision of the master programme director.
Workload: min. 60 credits.
Length: min. 1 year full time.
Course structure: curricular articulation is determined autonomously by individual universities.
Given qualification: University Master-2nd level degree.
Professional openings: same occupational sectors as those available to LS graduates. Private and public employers generally appreciate the higher academic/professional competences MU2 holders have acquired; e.g. in public competitions for LS-based posts within the civil service, applicants who also hold an MU2 are attributed additional scores.
Information on student welfare services at Italian universities and higher education institutions
Universities, other higher education institutions, the regional EDISU (the Italian acronym for the right to university education body) offices, and the Autonomous Provinces supply a series of services and facilities for higher education students to remove economic and social obstacles which limit access to higher education.
There is such an agency in each Italian region; it has the task to set up and run the necessary student welfare services in conformity to the current legal provisions:
The services offered are divided into two categories:
1. Services for all students: canteens, access to libraries, reduction of ticket prices for public transport, access to the University Sports Centres (C.U.S.);
2. Services ad personam: grants, accommodation, facilities for the disabled, part-time activities. These benefits are attributed sometimes by competition, sometimes on student’s request.
The students’ guide, published at the beginning of each academic year, generally in October, under the auspices of the various higher education institutions, includes complete and detailed information about each degree course and teaching activity, but also describes the types of services on offer at each study site.
Some facilities and financial support are offered to those who otherwise would be without the necessary means.
The benefits consist of:
• grants, both ordinary and special;
• grants for research work towards dissertations and degree theses;
• grants to encourage post-graduate studies.
Universities generally offer their students a maximum of 150 hours/each in part time rewarded activities. Students who are regularly enrolled and have passed the examinations required each year can apply for these part time jobs. Students who have not received the E.DI.SU. grants have priority.
Counselling and Tutoring Service
Universities promote a series of initiatives to help students, by providing them with information: on degree courses, other teaching/learning opportunities, and job placement, etc. This service is related to the three phases of the student's career:
• Counselling on entry;
• Counselling during the study course;
• Counselling on outgoing to help transition to the labour market.
Job, training and placement
Job, training and placement offices of higher education institutions facilitate contacts among companies/job opportunities on the one side and students on the other, both during their study course and on leaving.
International Relations Office
The International Relations Office of the various institutions:
• promotes and manages the institutional participation in European exchange and co-operation programmes, such as Socrates and Erasmus;
• draws up bilateral conventions for partnerships with foreign higher education institutions;
• gives information on programmes, grants and co-operation schemes at an international level.
The Socrates-Erasmus Programme
The ERASMUS project, within the framework of the SOCRATES Programme, promotes and governs the exchange of students who wish to spend a period of time at higher education institutions of an EU member state other than their own. Those institutions are eligible which have signed a written cooperation agreement with the students' home institutions. During the period spent in the host country, the student is required to carry out the educational/research activity approved by the home institution before departure. The length of the period to be spent abroad depends on the agreement signed by the institutions concerned. Nevertheless, it may not be less than 3 months or longer than 12 months.
Assistance and support for students with disabilities
Most higher education institutions promote initiatives to favour integration of disabled students: e.g. service of accompanying persons to help them reach and move within the respective institutions, other forms of general support. Students with disabilities can contact the Counselling and Tutoring Service of their individual institutions for information on opportunities already in place, and to learn how to make the most of the benefits available at each study site.
Universities and other higher education institutions may allocate funds to encourage cultural activities organized by their own students. Their chief purposes are:
• promote the development of studies and research, in such fields as visual arts, music, theatre, cinema, etc.;
• promote and organize meetings, conferences, group activities;
• encourage international exchanges.
This type of service is available to all students. For those who benefit of regional grants the service is free, the others pay a low cost depending on income and merit.
To enable students coming from outside the chosen study site to attend their study courses regularly, the local EDISU supplies places in hostels or flats. Should the number of students with a right to housing be greater than the number of places available, then places are allocated according to a priority list or according to the chronological order of the applications submitted.
Medical and pharmaceutical assistance for foreigners in Italy is regulated by international agreements and treaties. To benefit from such assistance, foreign students are required to have specific documentation.
Normally EU students must have a certificate (E111 or E128 model) issued by their National Health Authority that will cover first-aid and medical assistance in Italy. When they arrive in Italy this certificate must be validated by the local health agencies (ASL).
Non-EU students must have a health insurance policy; this may be made either at their arrival in Italy with a private Italian insurance company, or before their departure with an insurance company of their respective countries; in this second case, students had better contact the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their home countries for further information on existing agreements on medical assistance.
The Language Centre of each institution develops and co-ordinates language facilities. It provides language courses for the students enrolled at the institution concerned, for those on international exchange programmes, and for the institutional staff. The Language Centre provides a fundamental support service by facilitating learning processes and encouraging students to keep on improving their language competences.
The Sports Centre (C.U.S.) promotes physical activities with regard to the institution’s commitment in the field and to the physical and educational well-being of its students. It offers the necessary facilities and promotes sports courses for beginners and professionals. The centre promotes institutional participation in competitive and federation activities.
Office for public relations (U.R.P)
The Office for Public Relations (U.R.P.) provides information on institutional planning, counselling and job-placement; it also manages some of the services offered by the institution concerned.
University Education in England
Most United Kingdom universities can be classified into 5 main categories,
Ancient universities - universities founded before the 19th century
Red Brick universities - universities founded in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
New Universities - two categories of institutions fall within this category:
those created in the 1960s less often called Glass Plate universities, and
those created in the 1990s often called Post-1992 universities, from polytechnics.
The Open University, founded in 1968 is Britain's sole distance-learning only University.
The University of London and the University of Wales are unusual in that their colleges/constituent institutions are treated as universities in their own right.
Undergraduate applications to UK state universities are managed by UCAS - the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
What is UCAS?
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is the central organisation that processes applications for courses at UK universities and colleges. Not only does UCAS processes more than 2 million applications for full-time undergraduate courses every year, but UCAS also offers unrivalled and easily accessible information to help students find exactly the right course. Choosing the right course and university or college is a life-changing decision and UCAS aims to make the whole process to be as flexible, responsive and trouble free as possible.
UCAS organises conferences, education fairs and conventions across the UK and produces a wide range of publications, all of which are aimed at helping students to make informed decisions about higher education, and to guide students and their parents and advisers through the application process.
UCAS personal Statement
The UCAS personal statement is submitted as part of a UCAS application. It is one of the most important parts of the application as it gives the candidate a chance to write freely about themselves and their interest in their chosen subject, as opposed to the rest of the application which consists mainly of 'objective' information.
UCAS has a tariff system (more commonly known as UCAS points), which allows qualifications to be converted into points (an A at A Level, for example, is worth 120 points) and then added together to give a total that is can be used as a requirement to get into a course (a course may require 260 points, for example). The UCAS Tariff covers all UK qualifications and some foreign qualifications.
There are a wide variety of qualifications that can be awarded tariff points:
AS and A-levels (though one cannot count a subject at both levels, but at the highest level achieved)
Vocational AS and A-levels (sometimes called ASVCE and AVCE), as well as the Double Award AVCE
Scottish qualifications (Highers, Advanced Highers etc.)
BTEC National Awards, Certificates and Diplomas
OCR National Certificates, Diplomas and Extended Diplomas
Art and Design Foundation Diplomas
Irish Leaving Certificate
Welsh Baccalaureate Core
Advanced Extension Awards
Key Skills Qualification
Free Standing Maths Qualification
Certificate in Financial Studies
Practical and Theoretical Music Qualifications (Grades 6-8)
For the 2006 entry season the Leaving Certificate issued in the Republic of Ireland will be admitted to the UCAS Tariff so that it can be placed on direct parity with other awards. This is in response to the high number of Leaving Certificate students who read subjects at universities in the UCAS system, especially at those in Northern Ireland. It will allow students who undertake the Leaving Certificate to follow a simpler and more consistent access to British universities, as currently each university in the UK decides the merit of the award in accordance with its own criteria.
Qualifications are being added to the tariff system frequently, as long as they conform to the National Qualifications Framework and are being used as entry routes in to higher education.
The tariff system is not a universal measure. It is a maximum amount. Frequently courses are advertised which demand a certain number of tariff points from different subjects. The requirements will vary by course. Academic courses will generally want academic qualifications while vocational courses will want vocational qualifications. Different universities and different courses have different demands. Some students are angry with the way that their schools have demanded participation in certain subjects, only to find that they have no worth when it comes to applying for university acceptance (the Key Skills Qualification came under fire for this very reason, since a large number of the universities discounted it from tariff calculation).
An A-level, short for Advanced level, is a General Certificate of Education, usually taken by students in the final two years of secondary education, after GCSEs. It is a non-compulsory qualification taken by students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (the Scottish equivalent is the Advanced Higher Grade). A-levels are also taken in many former British colonies, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Malta and Trinidad and Tobago, although today they differ from the A-levels taken in the United Kingdom. A-levels are available in a wide range of subjects. They were first introduced in 1951, replacing the previous award, the Higher School Certificate (HSC). Universities in the UK frequently demand that applicants achieve a minimum set of grades in A-level examinations, or the equivalent in other examination systems, before accepting them.
The major exception to the rule of application through UCAS comes at the very end of the admissions season, when courses are about to begin. After the announcement of A-level results, UCAS runs a process called clearing to match applicants without places at their chosen institutions with courses elsewhere that still have places available. However once UCAS's clearing operation is complete, institutions with available places do advertise publicly, and some students find places by direct application at that stage.
UCAS has never operated within the field of postgraduate education, where application procedures are much less uniform. However, UCAS does operate a postgraduate clearing house, the GTTR (Graduate Teacher Training Registry) for PGCE courses (which provide initial teacher training for graduates).
As no British conservatoires are members of UCAS, it also operates CUKAS (Conservatoires UK Admissions Service) in conjunction with Conservatoires UK. CUKAS acts as a clearing house for both undergraduate and postgraduate music degrees at most (but not all) conservatoires. Those conservatoires that are not members of CUKAS handle their own admissions.
UCAS also operates NMAS (Nursing and Midwifery Admissions Service) for non-degree nursing and midwifery courses.
The vast majority of British universities are state financed, with only one private university - the University of Buckingham - where students have to pay all their fees. None of the universities is actually state-owned, however.
English and Welsh undergraduate students (and students from other EU countries) have to pay a proportion of their university fees up to a maximum of £1,175 (in 2004/5); this is assessed on the basis of the income of the student and of the student's parents, a process known as means testing. Scottish and EU students studying in Scotland have their fees paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland. Students are partially supported by a state-provided loan, a portion of which is also means-tested. Students in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are also eligible for a means-tested grant, and many universities provide bursaries to poorer students. International students are not subsidised by the state and so have to pay much higher fees. In principle, all postgraduate students are liable for fees, though a variety of scholarship and assistantship schemes exist which may provide support.
In the context of British, an ancient university is one that was founded before the 19th century.
The ancient universities in Great Britain are, in order of formation:
University of Oxford – founded 1249
University of Cambridge – founded 1284
University of St Andrews – founded 1411
University of Glasgow – founded 1451
University of Aberdeen – founded 1494
University of Edinburgh – founded 1583
Red Brick university
Red Brick is a name given originally to the six civic British universities that were founded in the industrial cities of England in the Victorian era and achieved university status before World War II. The civic university movement started in 1851 with Owens College, Manchester (now the University of Manchester), which became the founding college of the federal Victoria University in 1880 and became a university status in its own right when the federal university was dissolved in 1903.
The distinctive feature of these universities was that they were non-collegiate institutions which admitted men without reference to religion or background and that they concentrated on 'real-world' skills, often linked to engineering. In this sense, they owed their heritage to University College London and to the Humboldt University of Berlin. This contrasted to the ancient English universities of Oxford and Cambridge and to the newer (although still pre-Victorian) University of Durham, collegiate institutions which concentrated on the Liberal Arts and which imposed religious tests (assent to the Thirty-Nine Articles) on staff and students. Scotland's ancient Universities (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and St Andrews), had been founded on a different basis.
The term 'Red Brick' was first coined by a professor of music at the University of Liverpool to describe these civic universities. His reference was inspired by the fact that The Victoria Building at the University of Liverpool (which was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1892) is built from a distinctive red pressed brick, with terracotta decorative dressings.
The six Civic Universities are:
University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Leeds
University of Liverpool
University of Manchester
University of Sheffield
However, the term in modern usage has become more nebulous. The University of Reading, founded in the early 20th century as an extension college of Oxford and becoming a university in 1926, is often classed as one of the Civic Universities, and thus Red Brick, as is the Queen's University, Belfast which became a University at the same time as the civic universities, having previously been a college of the Royal University of Ireland.
University College London itself, and colleges from the 19th and early 20th centuries which later achieved university status in the post-war expansion are also sometimes described as Red Brick - this includes institutions such as the University of Exeter (originally an extension college of Cambridge) and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (originally a college of Durham), as well as the University of Southampton (originally a constituent of the University of London). The term is also sometimes extended to cover the constituent institutions of the University of Wales (Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff, and St David's College, Lampeter). Of these four, only UCL and Southampton were founded on similar principles to the civic universities and may be considered proto-Red Brick - the other two did not, until much later in their existence, grant the freedom of education to the poor and non-anglican that was the basis of the movement.
In the United Kingdom, the term New University has two meanings regarding British universities.
The term New University may refer to one of the several universities founded in the 1960s following the Robbins Report on higher education, often called Glass Plate universities:
1960s or "Glass Plate" Universities
University of Bath
University of Bradford
University of East Anglia
University of Essex
University of Kent
University of Keele
University of Lancaster
University of Stirling
University of Sussex
University of Warwick
New University of Ulster
University of York
Many of these institutions have interesting architecture; concrete is a dominant theme, often to the dismay of several modern observers.
The term New University has more recently been used to describe any of the former polytechnics or colleges of higher education that were given the status of universities by John Major's government in 1992 or colleges that have been granted university status since then, also called Post-1992 universities or Modern Universities:
Post-1992 or "Modern" Universities
• Abertay University
• Anglia Polytechnic University
• University of Brighton
• Bournemouth University
• University of Central England
• University of Central Lancashire
• Coventry University
• University of Derby
• De Montfort University
• University of East London
• University of Glamorgan
• Glasgow Caledonian University
• University of Greenwich
• University of Hertfordshire
• University of Huddersfield
• University of Humberside
• Kingston University
• Leeds Metropolitan University
• Liverpool John Moores University
• London Guildhall University - now part of London Metropolitan University
• University of Luton
• Manchester Metropolitan University
• Middlesex University
• Napier University
• University of North London - now part of London Metropolitan University
• University of Northumbria
• Nottingham Trent University
• Oxford Brookes University
• University of Paisley
• University of Plymouth
• University of Portsmouth
• Sheffield Hallam University
• South Bank University
• Staffordshire University
• University of Sunderland
• University of Teesside
• Thames Valley University
• Robert Gordon University
• University of the West of England
• University of Westminster
• University of Wolverhampton
In the United Kingdom, a collegiate university is a university whose functions are divided between the central departments of the university and a number of colleges. A collegiate university differs from a centralised university in that its colleges are not mere halls of residence, but have substantial responsibility and autonomy in the running of the university (that form of organization is commonplace in the USA). Collegiate universities in the United Kingdom range from a loose confederation of colleges such as the University of London, where the central university does little more than setting syllabuses for a number of practically independent colleges, to more centralised universities like the University of Durham, where the colleges are no longer involved in teaching. In between are the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where both the universities and colleges are involved in the teaching of students.
Main differences and similarities between University in England and in Italy
In high university, admissions requirements are high (such as Oxford): usually the normal offer is AAA/AAB at A-level (or equivalent).
In university of Italy isn’t much interest the diploma that you have take in superior school. In Italy there is numbers not letter like in England.
The British University sistem usually accept student on the basis of their A- Levels result and of an interview and who choose to study with us will discover high quality programmes, flexible student-centred delivery, unrivalled facilities and pioneering research. Heriot-Watt is one of the top ranked universities in Scotland for our provision of student facilities. On top of this, you can experience life in one of the world’s most beautiful and culturally dynamic cities. They receive a grant from their local authority which covers course fees, living expenses, books and travel. Families with high incomes have to make contribution. Grants are given as loans which must be paid back when students start working. Adults working who want to obtain formal qualifications can attend the Open University. This offers part – time courses which can be Followed on radio and Tv. While The Italian University sistem is very differt from the British Education Sistem, because in Italian, children move from primary to secondary school at the age of 10. Universities and other Higher Education Istituted establish their own fees but in the case of University education there is a legal minimun fee for enrolment and maximum level for student contributions to costs and services, which cannot execeed 20% of state funding. The everage fees a student has to pay is somewhere between 850 €uro and 1000 €uro for year since this varies from one University to another and also depends on the chosen course of study, but the private universities are clearly much more expensive and Admission to “master Universitary” and other specialisation courses also have much higher fees.
University of Oxford
University of Oxford
Dominus Illuminatio Mea
"The Lord is my Light"
ca. 12th century
The Right Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes
Dr. John Hood
Oxford, United Kingdom
17,000 Total (5,600 Graduate)
Russell Group, Coimbra Group, Europaeum, EUA, LERU
The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Oxford University and the University of Cambridge (the second oldest English university) are often referred to collectively as Oxbridge. The two universities have a long history of competition with each other and rival each other in prestige.
Oxford has recently topped two university-ranking league tables produced by British newspapers: it came first according to The Guardian and, for the fourth consecutive year, in The Times table. Although widely contested (as with most league tables) on the basis of its ranking criteria, a recent international table produced by The Times Higher Education Supplement rated Oxford second in the world for both science and the arts and humanities, as well as fifth in the world overall. It was ranked first overall in Europe.
Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the Coimbra Group (a network of leading European universities), the LERU (League of European Research Universities), and is also a core member of the Europaeum.
Oxford is a collegiate university, consisting of the University's central facilities, such as departments and faculties, libraries and science facilities, and 39 colleges and 7 permanent private halls (PPHs). All teaching staff and degree students must belong to one of the colleges (or PPHs). These colleges are not only houses of residence, but have substantial responsibility for the teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates. Some colleges only accept postgraduate students. Only one of the colleges, St Hilda's, remains single-sex, accepting only women (though several of the religious PPHs are male-only).
Oxford's collegiate system springs from the fact that the University came into existence through the gradual agglomeration of independent institutions in the city of Oxford.
Brasenose College in the 1670s
As well as the collegiate level of organisation, the University is subdivided into departments on a subject basis, much like most other universities. Departments take a major role in graduate education and an increasing role in undergraduate education, providing lectures and classes and organising examinations. Departments are also a centre of research, funded by outside bodies including major research councils; while colleges have an interest in research, few are subject-specialized in organisation.
The main legislative body of the University is Congregation, the assembly of all academics who teach in the University. Another body, Convocation, encompassing all the graduates of Oxford, was formerly the main legislative body of the University, and until 1949 elected the two Members of Parliament for the University. Convocation now has very limited functions: the main one is to elect the (largely symbolic) Chancellor of the University, most recently in 2003 with the election of Christopher Patten. The executive body of the University is the University Council, which consists of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. John Hood (succeeding Sir Colin Lucas), heads of departments and other members elected by Congregation in addition to observers from the Student Union. Apart from the present House of Congregation, there is also an Ancient House of Congregation, which somehow survived the university reforms in the 19th century and is summoned today for the sole purpose of granting degrees.
The academic year is divided into three terms, each of eight weeks' duration. Michaelmas Term lasts from early October to early December; Hilary Term (named after St. Hilary of Poitiers whose feast day is 13 January) normally from January until before Easter; and Trinity Term normally from after Easter until June. These terms are amongst the shortest of any British university, and the workload during each term is therefore intense. Students are also expected to prepare heavily in the weeks between terms and during the long summer break.
Admission to the University of Oxford is based on academic merit and potential. Admissions for undergraduates is undertaken by individual colleges, working with each other to ensure that the best students gain a place at the University regardless of whether or not they are accepted by their preferred choice. This has resulted in a greater balancing of academic strength across the various constituent colleges than was historically typical of the University. Selection is based on school references, personal statements, achieved results, predicted results, written work, written tests and the interviews which are held between applicants and faculty members. Because of the high volume of applications and the direct involvement of the faculty in admissions, students are not permitted to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same year.
All Souls College quad.
For graduate students, admission is firstly by the University department in which each will study, and then secondarily with the college with which they are associated.
Oxford, like Cambridge, has traditionally been perceived to be a preserve of the wealthy, although today this is not the case. The cost of taking a course, in the days before student grants were available, was prohibitive unless one was a scholar (or in even earlier times, a servitor — one who had to serve his fellow undergraduates in exchange for tuition). Public schools and grammar schools prepared their pupils more specifically for the entrance examination, some even going so far as to encourage applicants to spend an extra year in the sixth form in order to study for it: pupils from other state schools rarely had this luxury.
In recent years, Oxford has made greater efforts to attract pupils from state schools, and admission to Oxford and Cambridge remains on academic merit and potential. Around half of the students in Oxford come from state school backgrounds. There is still much public debate in Britain about whether more could be done to attract those from poorer social backgrounds. Responding to these criticisms, Oxford has introduced a university-wide means-tested bursary scheme effective from 2006, the Oxford Opportunity Bursaries, to offer financial support to those in need.
Students successful in early examinations are rewarded with scholarships and exhibitions, normally the result of a long-standing endowment, although when tuition fees were first abolished the amounts of money available became purely nominal: much larger funded bursaries are available on the basis of need for current and prospective students. "Closed" scholarships, which were accessible only to candidates from specific schools, exist now only in name. Scholars, and exhibitioners in some colleges, are entitled to wear a more voluminous undergraduate gown; "commoners" (i.e., those who had to pay for their "commons", or food and lodging) being restricted to a short sleeveless garment. The term "scholar" in relation to Oxbridge, therefore, has a specific meaning as well as the more general meaning of someone of outstanding academic ability. In previous times, there were "noblemen commoners" and "gentlemen commoners", but these ranks were abolished in the 19th century.
Until 1866 one had to belong to the Church of England to receive the BA degree from Oxford, and "dissenters" were only permitted to receive the MA in 1871. Knowledge of Ancient Greek was required until 1920, and Latin until 1960. Women were admitted to degrees in 1920.
Degrees of Oxford University
The system of academic degrees in the University of Oxford can be confusing to those not familiar with it. This is not merely because many degree titles date from the Middle Ages, but also because many changes have been haphazardly introduced in recent years. For example, the (medieval) BD, BM, BCL, etc. are postgraduate degrees, while the (modern) MPhys, MEng, etc. are undergraduate degrees.
• Bachelor of Arts (BA)
• Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
• Bachelor of Theology (BTh)
The Bachelor's degree is awarded soon after the end of the degree course (three or four years after matriculation). Until recently, all undergraduates studied for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The BFA was introduced in 1978. Holders of the degrees of BA and BFA both proceed in time to the degree of Master of Arts (MA).
The BTh is awarded primarily to students of the various Theological Colleges and Halls enjoying some sort of associate status with the University, such as Wycliffe Hall, St Stephen's House, Ripon College, Cuddesdon and the former Westminster College. Usually, these students are candidates for the ordained ministry of one of the mainstream Christian denominations, but may be drawn from any faith background or none at the discretion of the College or Hall. It should not be confused with the degree of bachelor of divinity (BD), which is a postgraduate degree.
The degree of Bachelor of Education (BEd) was formerly awarded to students at Westminster College, Oxford, when that course was validated by the University.
Undergraduate masters degrees
In the 1990s the degrees of Master of Engineering, etc., were introduced to increase public recognition of the four-year undergraduate science programmes in those subjects:
Master of Engineering (MEng)
Master of Physics (MPhys)
Master of Chemistry (MChem)
Master of Biochemistry (MBiochem)
Master of Mathematics (MMath)
Master of Earth Sciences (MEarthSc)
In Cambridge the same purpose has been accomplished more elegantly by granting science undergraduates the additional degree of Master of Natural Sciences (MSci) while continuing to award them the BA (and the subsequent MA). Note that biology undergraduates are still awarded the BA/MA, as are all other undergraduates, whether their degree courses last three years or four years.
The degree of Master of Arts
Master of Arts (MA)
The degree of Master of Arts is awarded to BAs and BFAs 21 terms (7 years) after matriculation without further examination, upon the payment of a nominal fee. Recipients of undergraduate masters' degrees are not eligible to incept as MA, but are afforded the same privileges after the statutory 21 terms.
This system dates from the Middle Ages, when the study of the liberal arts took seven years. In between matriculation and the licence to teach which was awarded at the end of an undergraduate's studies (whereafter he incepted as a Master of Arts), he took an intermediate degree known as the baccalaureate, or degree of Bachelor of Arts. In the University of Paris the baccalaureate was granted soon after responsions (the examination for matriculation), whereas in Oxford and Cambridge the bachelor's degree was postponed to a much later stage, and gradually developed a greater significance. While the requirements for the bachelor's degree increased, those for the master's degree gradually diminished until the final examination for MA was finally abolished in 1807.
While the length of the undergraduate degree course has been shortened to three or four years, the University of Oxford still requires seven years to pass before the awarding of the MA. The universities of Cambridge and Dublin have similar systems. In the four ancient universities of Scotland, the BA has become obsolete, and the MA is awarded on completion of the four-year undergraduate degree course in the arts.
The shortening of the degree course reflects the fact that much of the teaching of the liberal arts was taken over by high schools, and undergraduates now enter university at a much older age. In France today students get their baccalaureate at the end of secondary school.
Significance of the MA
Despite the fact that no greater academic achievement is involved, the MA remains the most important degree in Oxford. Traditionally the MA represented full membership of the University: until 2000, only MAs (as well as doctors of divinity, medicine and civil law) were members of Convocation, the main legislative assembly of the University, which today only elects the Chancellor and the professor of Poetry. Prior to then, members of the university who had not yet been made MA were known as "junior members" while those who were MAs were "senior members". This conveniently excluded most postgraduate students from the privileges the university and colleges accord to dons as well as their graduate alumni, such as the right to dine at High Table.
Members of the University who are MAs still outrank any person who does not have the degree of MA, other than doctors of divinity, medicine and civil law. Hence, a doctor of philosophy who is an MA outranks someone who is simply an MA, but the MA outranks a doctor of philosophy who is not an MA.
Bachelor of Divinity (BD)
Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (BM BCh)
Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)
Bachelor of Letters (BLitt) (renamed Master of Letters (MLitt))
Bachelor of Science (BSc) (renamed Master of Science (MSc))
Bachelor of Music (BMus)
Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) (renamed Master of Philosophy (MPhil) for subjects other than Philosophy)
In medieval times a student could not study some subjects until he had completed his study in the liberal arts. These were known as the higher faculties, and they comprise the subjects named above (other than Philosophy). The higher bachelors degree programme is generally a taught programme of one or two years for graduates. In Medicine and Surgery this corresponds to the clinical phase of training, after which they are commonly known as "Doctor". The degrees of BD and BMus are open only to Oxford graduates who have done well in the BA examinations in divinity and music respectively. The BPhil/MPhil is a research degree which is often a stepping stone to the DPhil.
Due to pressure from employers and overseas applicants to conform with United States practice, which is also that of most other UK universities, the BLitt and the BSc were renamed masters' degrees. However, the more prestigious BD, BCL, BM & BCh, BMus and philosophy BPhil degrees are well recognised have seen no need to change.
Doctor of Divinity (DD)
Doctor of Medicine (DM)
Master of Surgery (MCh) (the distinction between master and doctor was in medieval times not significant)
Doctor of Civil Law (DCL)
Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
Doctor of Science (DSc)
Doctor of Music (DMus)
Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)
Bachelors in the higher faculties other than Medicine and Surgery can proceed to a doctorate in the same faculty without further examination, on presentation of evidence of an important contribution to their subject, e.g. published work, research, etc. Doctorates in the higher faculties may also be awarded honoris causa, i.e. as honorary degrees. It is traditional for the Chancellor to be made a DCL by virtue of his office.
The DPhil is a research degree introduced at Oxford in 1914, and has a lower status than the so-called "higher doctorates" (i.e. those doctorates other than in Philosophy). Rather atypically, it was Oxford that was the first university in the UK to introduce research degrees, which had previously been a German / American concept.
Recently other degrees have been introduced:
Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych)
Master of Studies (MSt)
Magister Juris (MJur) (equivalent to the BCL for non-common-law graduates)
Master of Theology (MTh)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The degree of Master of Education was formerly awarded to students at Westminster College, when that course was validated by the University.
Events and organisations officially connected with the University include:
University Church of St Mary the Virgin
Hertford Bridge ('Bridge of Sighs') with the Christopher Wren-designed Sheldonian Theatre in the background
The Oxford Union Society
The Oxford University Press, the world's oldest and largest university press
The Bodleian Library
Major Research Libraries (including the Sackler Library)
The Taylor Institution
The Oxford University Student Union
Cherwell (Student publication)
Oxford Student (Student publication)
Isis Magazine (Student publication)
The Owl Journal (Student publication)
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History (sometimes called The Oxford University Museum)
The Pitt Rivers Museum
The Ashmolean Museum
The Bate Collection
The Museum of the History of Science
University Church of St Mary the Virgin
Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum
Oxford University Sports Federation
Oxford University Boat Club
Oxford Student Radio (OXIDE)
The O'Reilly Theatre
Rothermere American Institute
Said Business School
The Oxford University Parks
Also associated with the University:
May Morning Celebration
Eights Week and Torpids
The Boat Race against Cambridge University
Academic dress of Oxford University
Oxbridge Scarf Colours
The Bullingdon Club