After sorting out how Italian med-schools differ in admission, in this post we will address several more criteria and their importance in your choice, such as: the national ranks and costs of living.

I hope the last post helped you to start clearing the fog about your future University. Now lets see what other things need to be taken into account.


One criteria you can’t afford to ignore: living costs

As you know, luckily the main expense during your studies in Italy is not the tuition fee. The cost of living though is a big component and varies a lot between cities. 

After comparing cities for some time, I came to this rule of thumb: Northern cities are generally more expensive then southern, big cities are generally more expensive then little.

The whole issue of city size is important in many other aspects such as the social side, the feeling of anonymity in big cities alongside the vast amount of services they offer. So everyone has his own preference. But I must say from personal experience that if you’ve lived in a big city your whole life, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will not enjoy a more quite and social life in a small city.

Before we get to the raw numbers, I tell you that I found the perfect compromise in a small city like Pavia. Moderate living prices because of its size without compromising on basic things like gyms, bars, parks alongside the proximity to a huge city like Milan (30 minutes away by the cheapest train) with all the services it has to offer.

It’s hard to give one single number that would represent all the costs of living in a city so here are several that have been reported by students




Monthly room rent in Euro


Average monthly living expense

0.5L Beer price in bars


Those are the prices that were self reported by students in Euros. It is also true that when rent prices are high like in Rome and Milan, students tend to move towards the periphery neighborhoods and therefore might report lower prices than one would expect.


National Ranks: What are we ranking at all?

The first things people tend to rely on when choosing the University are the Ranks, but few really know what those ranks are all about.

Take for example the Censis La Repubblica ranks, which is the best know University ranks in Italy. Their criteria for University evaluation are:

  • Services (20%) quality of services, offered to the students
  • Scholarships (20%) – number of offered scholarships
  • Structures (30%) – mark for buildings, labs and other structures
  • Web (15%) –quality of the University website
  • Internationalization (15%) – how many international students there are.

The Universities are divided in 3 lists according to their size (Mega 40k+ students, Big 20k+ etc) because otherwise bigger universities will always have a numerical advantage just because of their size.

If you ask me, those things are somehow important, but they don’t include much more relevant and important info for perspective students such as student satisfaction survey scores, didactics quality, ratio of professors to students etc. Instead you have 30% dedicated to web and internationalization and other 20% to scholarships which might be important to some but maybe but not to that degree..

If you are still convinced in the importance of such ranks, here you go:


Censis Ranks 2013

Pavia (big)#1 (94.0 points)
Roma T.V. (big)#8 (82.7 points)*
Roma L.S (mega)#6 (81.7 points)
Milan (mega)#8 (80.4 points)
Bari  (mega)#9 (79.0 points)
Napoli SUN?

*Note that I’ve mixed the lists of big and mega sized universities, that’s why the rank number not always corresponds to the points number.

At the end of the day I am very happy with my choice of Pavia and can spend days on days telling you how nice it is, being able to ride on a bicycle to to the lessons, having so many green parks


What’s coming up next?

In the next post I will reveal an upcoming free live online webinar that I am planning about the IMAT. Last year I was an inspector during the IMAT test in Pavia as a part-time work offered by the University, so that I can provide you also with info about the logistics of the exam as well as answer your questions live. Some interesting future opportunities will be revealed during the webinar as well, so stay tuned. Subscribe to this blog on the top-right of the page to get updated as soon as it will be out, because the number of places to the webinar will be limited due to service limits and the first to sign for it will secure their access.


Leave your comment!

What do you think about those criteria that we’ve discussed? Do you think more weight should be given to national ranks or other criteria? If so, why?

Alex Ochakovski (Pavia)