Student glossary

Students soon learn that the University has a language of its own: nothing complicated, but it’s best to get acquainted with acronyms and terms linked to programme descriptions, attending lectures and laboratories, plans of study, and exams.

Here is a brief glossary of useful terms.

Academic Year (A.Y.)

The academic year does not correspond to the calendar year.
It is a 12-month period that starts in the autumn, during which teaching activities take place.
During the academic year, lectures, practicals and laboratory activities generally take place from October to June.

Orientation and preparatory activities may take place in other periods.

Appello - Exam Date

Students may sit for exams on specific exam dates during certain periods of the year referred to as exam sessions. To sit for an exam, a student must sign up for the exam date by the deadline shown in the academic calendar. Should a student fail an exam, it is up to the individual instructor to determine whether that student may re-take the exam on the exam date immediately thereafter.

Attività formative - Educational activities

Educational activities are all those activities in the plan of study that a student must complete successfully to attain the expected cultural and professional training: lectures, seminars, practicals or laboratory sessions, workshops, tutoring, orientation, traineeships, projects, thesis for master’s degree programmes, study.

Activities may be core compulsory or common core, elective or practical, etc.


This is a student ID card that is sent to the student’s address after matriculation, along with instructions for its activation. It must be shown before sitting an exam, and enables the holder to access the library and study rooms, as well as services reserved for students.

The badge can also be activated to function as a bank card, but only if the student so desires.

Classe di laurea - Degree class - L/LM

Degree classes are defined by MIUR, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, and group together degree programmes with a common level, objectives and essential training activities. Within each class, each university can autonomously define: the name of the degree programme, the courses and other training activities.

The degree class is indicated next to the name of the degree programme with the initial L (laurea -bachelor's degree) or LM (laurea magistrale - master's degree) and a number: it is important because it indicates, among other things, to which professional orders graduates may be admitted and in which public competitions they can take part.

Correlatore - Co-supervisor

This is the instructor who, along with student's Supervisor, determines the student's final thesis grade, and plays an active role in the thesis-defence discussion.

Corso Integrato - Integrated course

A course structured as several inter-related modules or subjects, where student achievement is assessed through a single exam or through multiple exams (one for each module – in the latter case, the student's mark will be the average of the marks earned on each module).

Corso singolo - Single course

The University allows students to enrol on single courses of interest for one academic year, sit the exams and obtain a regular certificate. To enrol students must hold at least an upper secondary school diploma.

They are open to university graduates who wish to take extra courses for admission to public competitions or to postgraduate schools.

They are also open to those who wish to keep abreast of certain topics out of personal interest or to supplement their professional competencies. Further information is available on the student registry pages.

Credito formativo universitario (CFU) - University credit (ECTS)

This is a unit of measure of the workload for completing a university degree programme and quantifies the time one must dedicate to coursework and individual study to acquire knowledge and competency in each discipline.

One university credit corresponds to a 25-hour workload.

Each course is worth a certain number of credits that the students acquires by passing the final exam, regardless of the course mark.


A bachelor’s or master’s degree programme can comprise varied curricula, that is different academic paths, comprising all the educational activities specified in the degree programme regulations that must be completed in order to satisfy the requirements for a degree.

The curricula therefore substitute those which under the old university system were called degree paths.

Debito formativo - Learning gaps
(see also Additional Learning Requirements, OFA)

Those holding an upper secondary school diploma may enrol on any bachelor’s programme, regardless of their knowledge of the disciplines it covers. It is incumbent on the university to assess a student’s academic preparation in relation to the requirements for access to the selected programme.

A gap in the basic knowledge and skills (admission requirements) required for admission to a specific bachelor’s degree programme, may lead to the assignment of additional learning obligations (OFA), that is additional activities (courses, seminars, etc.) required to bridge the identified learning gaps.

The programme regulations indicate the methods for remedying and verifying any gaps. To access a master’s degree, dedicated committees assess each candidate’s academic curriculum. The master’s programme regulations set out the timing and method for bridging any educational gaps.

Double Degree

There are programmes that allow students to complete part of their studies abroad, at partner universities, by taking part in selective competitions published each year.

Students enrolled in double degree programmes are awarded an academic qualification from both the Italian university and the partner foreign university.


Erasmus+ is a European Union programme that allows students, graduands, doctoral students and those who are completing a postgraduate specialization to study and complete traineeships at partner European universities. The activities completed are recognized and entered into the student’s academic record.

The requirements and procedures for participating in Erasmus+ are reported in the calls for application published each year between February and March.

Esame - Exam

This is used to assess a student’s preparation in each course included in the plan of study.

The exam may be written or oral and must be sat at the end of lectures. Exams are marked in points out of thirty, and range from a minimum of 18 to a maximum of 30 with honours.

Students who pass an exam are awarded the corresponding course credits.

Frequenza - Attendance

This is a student’s participation in the educational activities of each degree programme. Attendance may be compulsory or recommended, depending on the regulations of individual programmes.

Immatricolazione - Matriculation

This is the administrative procedure for enrolling on the first year of a university programme; it ends with the assignment of a 6-digits matriculation number, an identification code assigned to students and reported on all documents or certificates relating to their university studies.

The matriculation number is required to identify yourself when you take an exam or when you require some services from the Secretariat. 

Iscrizione a tempo parziale - Part-time enrolment
See: Part-time student



Laboratori - Laboratories

These are training activities that complement the theory taught in certain courses: practicals are completed under the guidance of members of the teaching staff or assistants, or on one’s own.

Manifesto degli studi - Programme Structure

Each year this document defines the content and structure of a degree programme.
It provides important information regarding:

  • admission requirements
  • the official plan of study, with a list of available courses for the academic year to which it refers and the corresponding credits (CFU) for each course 
  • any pre-requisites
  • procedures for enrolling and attending courses
  • start and duration of teaching activities
  • deadline for submitting any proposed personal plan of study.

Programme structures may be viewed by accessing the general profile of each degree programme, through search a degree programme.

Matricola - Matriculation number

On matriculating, each student is assigned a numerical code: the matriculation number. Each matriculation number identifies only one student in the University and is reported on all documents and certificates pertaining to a student’s academic studies.

Media ponderata - Weighted average

The weighted average in marks out of thirty is calculated by summing up the coefficients of each single exam – obtained by multiplying the mark awarded and the number of credits assigned to that course – and dividing this sum by the total number of credits for each degree programme (excluding those for proficiency tests and the final exam). 

The weighted average expressed as marks out of one-hundred and ten is used to calculate the starting mark for the final exam;  It is calculated by multiplying the weighted average by 110 and dividing the result by 30.


The Ministry of Education, Universities and Research . It is responsible for promoting (implementing article 9 of the Constitution) scientific research and technology, and for developing universities and university level higher education institutions. 

The overall academic offering of Italian universities, can be accessed from the Miur website Universitaly

Modulo - Module

These are the activities (lectures, practicals, laboratories, seminars, individual study) required to acquire certain competencies in a discipline. The activities for each course may encompass one or more modules.

Each module is worth a certain number of credits, which increases with the number of lesson hours required to complete it.

Obiettivi formativi - Educational Objectives

The knowledge and skills characterizing the cultural and professional profile of degree programme graduates.

Obblighi Formativi Aggiuntivi (OFA) - Additional Learning Obligations (OFA)

With the reform of Ministerial Decree 270/2004, admission to bachelor’s and single cycle degree programmes is subject to assessment of a student's initial preparation.

Students with identified learning gaps are assigned additional learning obligations (i.e. additional activities: courses, seminars…) to be completed in accordance with the timing and methods defined by each degree programme.

Piano degli studi - Plan of study

This is the group of exams and training activities that must be completed to graduate. It includes both compulsory courses and electives, divided by year.

The Programme Structures indicate the year of the programme in which each student must submit his/her individual plan of study: for bachelor’s programmes, this is generally the second year. Students must have submitted at least one plan of study before applying for graduation.

The plans are approved by special committees composed of members of the programme's teaching staff, who can also provide guidance on its compilation.

Propedeuticità - Prerequisites

Indicates the obligation to pass courses, which for their introductory or preparatory nature, must be completed before undertaking more in-depth courses in the plan of study.

The prerequisites of a degree programme are indicated in its Programme Structure.

Prova finale - Final exam

This is a report or paper at the end of a bachelor’s degree programme, on a topic agreed upon with one of the programme’s teaching staff.

The procedures relating to the final exam are indicated in the individual Programme Regulations.

Prova in itinere - Ongoing assessment

Used to assess acquired knowledge of part of the exam programme, it takes place before lessons end and regards the part of the programme that has already been covered.

A fail mark does not bar the student from the final exam; however, a pass mark may reduce the number of topics covered by the final exam.

Relatore - Supervisor

This is a member of the teaching staff who supervises the student during his/her preparation of the final work of a bachelor’s programme or the thesis of a master’s programme. The student contacts the professor directly to agree upon the topics to be addressed.

Seminari - Seminars
These are complementary educational activities that cover certain course topics more in-depth and for which credits are awarded. They are open to a limited number of students, and registration and attendance are compulsory.
Sifa online services

Sifa online services are services dedicated to students that can be accessed from the portal or from the Unimia personal page.

The services are both administrative (matriculation, registering for admission examinations for limited enrolment programmes, administrative paperwork, certifications) and academic (compiling plans of study, registering for courses and exams, degree theses, laboratories, competitions).

Sessione d'esame - Exam session

A period in which lectures are suspended and students can sit exams. The summer session normally takes place in June-July, the autumn session in November-December, and the winter session in February-March.

Each session comprises more than one exam date. The regulations governing exam sessions are reported in the Programme Structure of each degree programme.

Settori scientifico disciplinari (SSD) - Scientific disciplinary sector - SSD

These are groups of disciplines with homogeneous scientific and educational contents, as set out by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR).

The courses included in the degree programme relate to specific scientific sectors and disciplines indicated next to the title with a code comprising letters and numbers. The scientific-disciplinary sector of a course tells you whether, for example, it can be included in one's individual plan of study or whether it is useful for admission to certain public competitions, such as those for secondary school teachers.

Scientific disciplinary sectors are particularly important for credit recognition when transferring from one degree programme to another (or one university to another).

Stage - Internship

This is a training activity that allows students to come into contact with the world of work during or at the end of a study programme. All bachelor’s and master’s programmes entail an internship in a company or organization having an agreement with the University of Milan, preferably undertaken in the last year of study. This activity allows students to acquire credits (curricular internships).

Formative, orientation traineeships are instead for those who finished their studies no more than 12 months earlier. These aim to facilitate career choices and employment through training in direct contact with the world of work (extracurricular traineeships).

Studente fuori corso - Student not on track with exams

A student who, at the end of the legal duration of the programme, has not passed all the exams (and acquired the corresponding credits) in the plan of study.

Studente in corso - On-track student

A student who has completed the courses within the prescribed time frame and is compliant with the plan of study.

Studente part-time - Part-time student
Some degree programmes allow students to enrol as part-time students. These are students who cannot attend lessons with continuity because they work, are family carers, have personal health problems, or practice arts or sports. These students have a reduced workload and pay lower fees.
Degree thesis

This is a written report on a project or an original research paper to be submitted and defended at the end of master’s and single-cycle degree programmes. The thesis must relate to one of the disciplines in the student’s plan of study and must be drafted under the guidance of a member of the teaching staff, who is assigned the role of supervisor.

Students can defend their thesis only after they have passed all courses in the plan of study and have acquired all credits required. Thesis defence is assessed in marks out of one-hundred and ten, with a minimum mark of 66/110 and a top mark of 110/110 with honours.


UNIMIA is a personal, customizable “home page” from which to readily access the main  information regarding programmes (registering for written exams and results, course timetables and syllabus), administration (administrative status, fees, benefits) and study career (academic standing, electronic record book, average mark). Students may access the page using the University e-mail credentials assigned when matriculating.