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Living and Working as an Oncologist in Italy

Facts and Statistics

  • Population: 60.6 million (January 2011 est.)
  • Capital: Rome
  • Currency: Euro
  • Time Zone: Central European Time (CET)
  • Religions: Roman Catholic (majority)
  • Government: Democratic Republic
  • Language: Italian

Studying medicine in Italy

The Italian System has adopted the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) which is based on a definition of credits and procedures widely accepted throughout Europe. One credit corresponds to 25 hours of student work, and 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during an academic year. A degree in Medicine and Surgery is a Single-Cycle Master Program (Laurea Magistrale a Ciclo unico) which requires 6 years (360 credits). Access is restricted to a limited number of students, through a selection procedure which take place on a yearly basis.

For additional information, the MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research) established a national website Study in Italy, for students wishing to attend higher education (H.Ed.) programmes in Italy, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The European university systems have been working towards internationalization, and to promote student mobility. In this perspective, several Universities are increasing the availability of courses in English language.

Italian medical Universities

In Italy you can study Medicine at 40 universities. Please find some examples of web links of medical schools below (not exhaustive):

After Completing Medical School, an examination is required to be registered with the Medical Council, which is organized on a provincial basis.

What do I need to do to become a haemato-oncologist in Italy?

Medical Oncology is officially recognized as a Speciality. The training consists of 5 years. This program has a closed admission process: applications are evaluated on the basis of qualification and academic potential through a selection procedure and schedule of examinations. The Schools of Specialization in Medical Oncology are located in approximately  30 Universities (see for example the list above). Each year there is an examination, and at the end of the five year training there is a final examination to become qualified and practice as a Medical Oncologist.

Are there any Oncology Societies in Italy?

AIOM (Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica) is the main Italian society for clinical oncologists. There is a specific section dedicated to Young Oncologists (AIOM Giovani). Furthermore, there are several societies for professionals from different disciplines dealing with cancer patients. Below are some examples of Italian societies (not exhaustive list):

Is it possible to do a fellowship in Italy?

There are several fellowship opportunities in Italy. For a pure research fellowship, a good knowledge of English is sufficient. When considering a clinical fellowship dealing with patients, a good knowledge of the Italian language is required. Fellowship opportunities can be found through the Italian cancer societies (for instance: AIOM - Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica), or directly through University web sites.
A lot of information can be found at the web site Study In Italy under the section "Living in Italy". Several Universities have dedicated websites for foreign students, offering practical information (e.g. MoRe for Students) Enjoy studying in Italy!!

Italian Society & Culture

Italy is famous worldwide for its art, culture, and monuments. Several Italian cities are truly open-air museums, and the Greek ruins in southern Italy are perhaps the most spectacular and best preserved anywhere. Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From antiquity until the 16th century, Italy was at the centre of western Culture, the fulcrum or origin of the Etruscan Civilization and Ancient Rome. With Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in 312, Rome became the open and official seat of the Catholic Church. In 1088, the first university in Europe was established in Bologna, Italy. Furthermore the Schola Medica Salernitana was the first medieval medical school in the cosmopolitan coastal south Italian city of Salerno, which provided the most important source of medical knowledge in Western Europe at the time. Italian painting, sculpture, architecture, science, literature, and music fuelled the European Renaissance. Italian culture had a leading role throughout the Baroque period and Romantic period continuing until the 20th century.
Nowadays, Italy is renowned for lifestyle, design, cinema, theatre, literature, poetry, visual arts, music (notably Opera), food & wine.

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