Located in southern Europe, Italy is one of the most densely populated countries in the region. Italy is a culturally rich country brimming with opportunities. It is a highly sought-after destination by international students who want an immersive academic experience in the heart of Europe.

Italy possesses a highly diversified culture that provides a multifunctional experience for students applying to the country. Not only this, but the country hosts exceptional educational institutes at all levels catering to students of varying backgrounds and academic fields. Furthermore, Italy is preferred by international students due to the relatively low tuition fees, which ensure that students are relieved of any financial burden.

The official language is Italian and is heavily used to communicate in casual and professional settings. However, international students seeking to study in Italy can do so despite not knowing the national language since the English Language is also used to study and teach across the nation. So, if you want to upscale your academic experience, keep reading to learn more about the language requirements in Italy for international students!

Language Proficiency Tests Needed in Italy

International students choosing Italy as their study destination must provide proof of language. Italian language tests are required at the time of application to determine the student’s skill level. Some universities accept English proficiency tests depending on the program opted for. Students are to be graded on their respective proficiency tests for the admissions to proceed.

Italian Language Tests for International Students

The two Italian language tests are accepted across the country to secure admission to an educational institute.

1. CILS – Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language

CILS is a well-renowned Italian Language certification to determine the competency of international students in the national language. It is officially recognized by the European Language Testing Association, which accredits its recognition. There are six levels of the language certificate ranging from A1 to C2, which the students can opt for depending on their level of expertise.

CILS can be taken by students all around the world, with the exams being conducted twice a year. Moreover, CILS consists of many components, such as multiple choice questions, brief questions and answers, as well as writing and a listening section.

All 6 levels of CILS are scored differently hence, making their minimum passing point requirement varied. For instance, the passing score for A1 is 30/60 (beginner), while it is 70/100 for C2 (most advanced) level. There are exceptions to the score requirements depending on the university, and the program opted for by the student.

CILS is accepted as a standard language proficiency test by all major universities, including the University of Milan, the University of Siena, the University of Bologna, and the University of Venice.

Learn More: How to Study in Italy for Free

2. CELI – Certificate of Knowledge of the Italian Language

CELI can be taken by international students regardless of their nationality. It is offered by The University for Foreigners of Perugia and is one of the most accurate language proficiency exams in Italy for international students. The CELI test is very similar to CILS in its pattern. It also consists of 6 levels ranging from A1 to C2. The tests have various sections, such as speaking, reading, writing, and listening. CELI is offered various times a year, which provides international students with a wide window to take this test around the year.

International students need to ensure that they pass each of the CELI sections and obtain an average passing score. All levels are scored differently. For instance, the passing score for A1 is 30/60, while it is 80/100 for the C2 level. However, students must go through the program requirements to determine the minimum grade requirement for them.

CELI is widely accepted across Italian institutes and universities, including the University of Venice, the University of Milan, the University of Bologna, and the University of Rome La Sapienza.

English Language Tests for International Students

Italian academic institutes accept English proficiency tests as a means to gauge the language skills of international students.

1. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL is an English Language proficiency test administered especially for non-native speakers. It’s also one of the language tests required in Italy if you’re an international student. It is divided into 4 sections: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The test is graded 0 to 30 on each section making the total 120. Students are expected to score a minimum of 70 overall. However, the minimum requirements for each university may differ.

TOEFL is largely accepted across Italian institutes and universities, including the University of Bologna, the University of Milan, the University of Pisa, and the University of Rome La Sapienza.

See Also: Best English-Taught Universities in Italy

2. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS is a widely accredited English language proficiency test. Similar to TOEFL, IELTS is also divided into 4 sections. Each section requires a minimum band of 6.0. IELTS scores are valid two years from the date of being taken, which provides students with a timeframe to accommodate the test before the application deadline. This test is accepted across all major Italian institutes and universities, including the University of Milan, the University of Padua, the University of Pisa, and the University of Bologna.


Italy is a sought-after destination for international students due to the massive opportunities the country has to offer. Before starting your journey as an international student, find out what language tests are needed in Italy. To help you choose your host institution, check out the most affordable universities in Italy for international students.


We hope this article on language tests needed in Italy for international students is informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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