We have always believed in the value of dual enrolment for the creation of multi-disciplinary pathways, which broaden students’ education and go beyond standardised academic paths, delving into areas of interest other than the main discipline of their degree. For this reason, we have submitted a new motion on this matter to the National Council of University Students, requesting that the Ministry of Universities and Research acknowledge this motion and initiate, within no more than 30 working days of receiving this document, a collaboration with a representative of the Didactic Commission aimed at exploring the feasibility of the proposal, jointly outlining the programmatic lines and defining the implementation procedures.
Paragraph 1: an introduction on the abolition of the ban on double registration – Double registration
This motion calls for the abolition of the ban on double enrolment laid down in Article 142(2) of the Consolidated Text of Laws on Higher Education, as per Royal Decree 1592 of 31 August 1933, and proposes a number of possible solutions to encourage multidisciplinarity and expand the range of courses on offer. After a brief list of some of the limitations necessary as a result of the possibility of enrolling in two courses at the same time, the suggested solutions are illustrated: Double Enrolment, Double Degree and Minor. Double Enrolment consists of the simple possibility of enrolling in two courses simultaneously; Double Degree, on the other hand, consists of an integrated pathway that allows the student to obtain a double degree at the end of their studies; finally, Minor Degree allows students to obtain a ‘minor’ degree in a course of study other than their own.
These proposals have been drawn up on the basis of students’ requests; taking virtuous examples from foreign universities as a model and trying to imagine a practical implementation of these policies in the Italian university system.
Paragraph 2: Technical limitations of the proposal – Dual enrolment
The abolition of the ban on dual enrolment marginally affects certain administrative aspects of the University, such as the use of the right to study. In order to avoid the creation of bureaucratic obstacles; it is reiterated that the general criteria for the university study system to determine the type of degree remain those established by DM 270/2004. Below are some suggested limitations that should be applied to any programme that encourages multidisciplinarity:
- it is not possible to enrol simultaneously in the same degree course in two different universities, or to enrol simultaneously in the same degree course taught in two different languages;
- the maximum number of simultaneous enrolments in bachelor or master courses is two, both in Italy and abroad;
- one of the two enrolments must be made at a state university;
- as far as the right to study is concerned, any financial benefits to which the student would be entitled may only be used for one of the two bachelor or master university courses;
- unless otherwise specified, simultaneous enrolment in two degree courses does not allow any reduction in the amount due for tuition fees for the two courses;
- unless otherwise specified, simultaneous enrolment in two degree courses is equivalent to two independent single enrolments. For this reason, the student will have two matriculation numbers and two university ID cards, respectively one for each university attended.
The above restrictions are open to possible modification, integration and extension.
Paragraph 3: Proposals to renew the training offer – Dual enrolment
The following proposals are formulated, aimed at extending the training offer.
This proposal consists in the possibility of enrolling in two degree courses at the same time. It is regulated by the Ministry and is subject to the following limitations:
- simultaneous enrolment in a maximum of two degree courses of any type (three-year, master’s or single-cycle master’s) is allowed;
- in the case of enrolment in two degree courses provided by different universities, at least one must be a state university. Each university must be informed of the student’s participation in the “Double Enrolment” programme. Specifically, the university of second enrolment must inform the university of first enrolment that the student has joined the programme;
- the admission requirements to any of the chosen courses remain unchanged compared to the standard courses;
- income benefits and/or any scholarships sponsored by public bodies are available for only one of the two courses;
- the student must make his or her own arrangements to meet the educational obligations of the two courses;
- each student may request the conversion of credits acquired in a degree course for subjects common to the two courses in which he/she is enrolled. The outcome of the conversion request is at the discretion of the University;
- any internship experience is valid, for the purposes of conversion into credits, only for one of the two courses;
- with regard to any exchange experiences abroad, participation in only one project is permitted for one of the two degree courses followed. It is up to the universities to check that the student has not participated in any other exchange experience;
- In addition, at least two thirds of the credits envisaged for each academic year must be obtained; each university verifies this condition at the end of the academic year; if it is not met, it freezes the student’s enrolment and notifies any second university. If this condition is met at both universities (or for both courses at the same university), both enrolments will be frozen and the student will have to choose which course to complete; the frozen course may be resumed and completed outside the “Double Enrolment” programme;
- if the student is enrolled out of the course for more than one year, he/she must renounce one of the two enrolments. The enrolment for the course that is renounced will be frozen, with the possibility of being resumed following graduation from the chosen course;
- in the event of interruption of the “double enrolment” programme due to non-fulfilment of the educational obligations, it will not be possible for the student to undertake a new “double enrolment” or “minor programme” or “double degree” until he/she has separately completed both courses undertaken;
- at the end of each academic year it is possible for the student to opt out of the “double enrolment” programme by freezing one of the two enrolments; this does not entail any further burden for the student nor does it preclude the possibility of undertaking similar courses in the future;
- upon completion of each course, the student will receive the relevant qualification.
Dual enrolment is the most immediate (and least administratively complex) consequence of lifting the ban. The proposal leaves almost total scope for action to the student, who will be responsible for managing dual enrolment and the associated academic obligations independently.
Double Enrolment – Double Degree
This proposal envisages the creation of Double Degree programmes between Italian universities. Integrated courses, based on the foreign model, which allow two degrees to be obtained at the same time. This proposal stems from the need to exploit synergies between degree courses with similarities, in order to further expand the educational offerings; the development of this programme is based on similar experiences carried out by Italian universities with foreign universities.
The proposal is based on the creation of bilateral collaborations between individual Italian universities (partner universities). Each university may, within the limits of its financial and organisational capacities, initiate a Double Degree with another Italian university. The planning and organisation of the educational and logistical aspects of the programme are the responsibility of the partner universities, subject to certain general directives drawn up by the Ministry, including the following:
- a regulation of the specific technical and logistical aspects (venue, duration, administrative procedures etc) of each Double Degree programme is the responsibility of the partner universities;
- the educational offer plan of the Double Degree programme is drawn up by the partner universities and subject to the approval of the relevant ministerial bodies;
- it is possible to undertake a double degree in three-year programmes, in master’s programmes and in single-cycle master’s programmes;
- it is only possible to be enrolled in one double degree programme;
- the duration of the double degree may exceed that of the corresponding regular degree programme by a maximum of one year;
- it is not possible to enrol for a double degree if you are enrolled at the same time in two universities;
- where places are limited, access arrangements are determined by the partner universities and must comply with merit criteria;
- the benefits inherent to the right to study can only be used for one of the two bachelor or master degree courses;
- at the end of the course, the student will obtain two degrees, one for each of the courses in the programme.
The Double Degree programme makes it possible to combine the need for multidisciplinarity with the need for efficient and easy-to-manage programmes. The Double Degree could fill the gap created by the abolition of the prohibition of double enrolment, allowing the rapid development of multidisciplinary programmes and at the same time avoiding management problems in the transition phase.
Dual Enrolment – Minor
The Minor Programme is structured in the image of similar courses in foreign universities and consists of the possibility, for students on a given degree course at a given university, to take a given number of exams in a degree course other than their own, obtaining at the end of their university course a Degree with Minor. The programme is structured according to guidelines issued by the Ministry, taking into account the following provisions:
- participation: participation in the “Minor Programme” gives students the opportunity to sit a given number of exams in a degree course other than their own (the number of CFUs required to be established between 20% and 30% of the total CFUs required by the degree course). At the end of the university course, the student receives the Degree with Minor;
- when: the Minor may be taken during the entire duration of the study cycle and examinations relating to it may be taken throughout the period;
- where: compatibly with the possibility of taking examinations, the Minor may be taken at any university that has an agreement with the university to which the student belongs;
- network Minor Programme: in order to start the Minor Programme, two universities must agree with each other, deciding the number of admissions to each Minor and the possible contribution of each student;
- limited access for reasons of places: in the case of limited access, we suggest a solution that takes into consideration the principle of the timing of the application to the programme (‘first-come-first-served’);
- renunciation: Renunciation of the Minor programme does not entail any penalty, but does not allow the refund of any contribution paid;
- title obtained: the title obtained at the end of one’s university career is a degree (Bachelor/Master/Single Cycle) in a given degree course with a minor in another course; the evaluation of the minor consists of the weighted average of the marks obtained in the exams of the same course (rounded to two decimal places); it is not possible to take a minor if one is not enrolled in a degree course.
The Minor programme represents a less pronounced openness to multidisciplinarity than the first two proposals, but it would allow a large number of students to undertake a multidisciplinary experience that could enrich their training.