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Italian OFA (additional educational obligation)


As indicated in the educational project of each doctoral course, from 39th cycle, PhD candidates enrolled with foreign citizenship are automatically assigned an Italian OFA (additional educational obligation)  which must be removed before admission to the final exam of the last year. .



Those who fall into the following cases are not required to demonstrate knowledge of the Italian language:

  1. holders of a italian A1 level certification recognised by the MUR 
  2. students with foreign citizenship that have also an Italian citizenship
  3. students that have obtained one or more of these qualifications:
    •  a Baccalaureate/high school diploma (or equivalent qualification) awarded in italian 
    •  a Bachelor degree (or equivalent) awarded in italian 
    •  a Master of Science degree  (or equivalent) awarded in italian 
  4.  students that have attended a pontifical school in italian
  5.  students that reside in the Canton of Ticino (official language italian)

This candidates are required to submit official documents that demonstrate belonging to one of the above categories to


Students who do NOT fall into any of said cases need to take a test (By Cisia). 

The test is considered passed by reaching at least an A1 level. Each student will have a maximum of 3 attempts to remove the OFA. After reaching the limit of attempts, it will no longer be possible to take the Cisia test and each student will have to independently demonstrate their knowledge of the Italian language.

Politecnico di Milano offers a free italian course:

  • If you want you can take the first assessment (by Cisia) test without following the italian course (this will count as one of the three total attempts).
    Students unable to demonstrate at least an A1 level in this first Cisia assessment test will have to follow the free Italian course. You will receive an email with the information to register to the course. 

    • The Cisia exam dates will be communicated by email as soon as they are available,
    • You can check online the OFA ITALIAN sessions scheduled through  by selecting 
      Richieste di ammissione” (Application Forms) section and selecting the item “Laurea (equivalent to a Bachelor of Science) and five-year single-cycle programs: entrance or discharge test and enrollment”. Then click on "Remedial OFA Registration”.
    • You need to register and take the ONLINE test which is considered passed if the student demonstrates at least an A1 level. By passing the test with an A1 level, your OFA is removed
    • Exam results will be available on the CISIA website and then in Online Services.
  • If you want to follow the free italian course without taking the first Cisia test, write to


  • When: every semester
  • Registration opening: end of August (1st semester) - end of January (2nd semester)
  • Method: online, live lectures
  • Frequency: 2 lectures per week from 18:15 to 20:15 or a 4-hour lesson on Saturday morning for a total of 40 hours per course
  • Days: a choice of two days: Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday or Saturday morning (4 hours)
  • Levels offered:
    • beginner A1
    • basic A2
    • intermediate B1
  • Lectures. Development of the following skills: listening, reading, speaking and comprehension, language structures and grammar. Regardless of the level, lectures aim to improve communication skills useful in working contexts
  • Curriculum objectives:
    • surviving: understanding and processing everyday sentences and expressions to satisfy basic needs (use of goods and services); 
    • socialisation: development of new skills for using the language in a social way (making new experiences); 
    • familiarity: gaining fluency in more elaborate communicative situations and being able to use the language flexibly and effectively for professional and academic purposes. 

COURSE ENTRANCE TEST (through online service)

It is not a proficiency test, nor does it have official value; is aimed at identifying the starting level of each student with assignment of the relevant course. You will receive an email with the information regarding the registration to the course entrance test.
It is a grammatical test and consists of 50 multiple choice questions in ascending order of difficulty, organized into 5 sections.


  • 0 to 17: beginner A1
  • 18 to 34: basic A2
  • 35 to 50:  intermediate B1

EXIT TEST (By Cisia)

Those who have 75% attendance on the course will be able to access the exit test.

The available dates and registration methods will be communicated by email.

The test consists of three types of tests: listening, reading and language structures.

  • Listening: 3 audios with 7 multiple-choice questions per audio- 21  questions.
    The delivery system stipulates that each listening test is allocated a total of 15 minutes and that the student can listen to the audio again. At the end of the first listening test, the system will offer the next listening test.
  • Reading: 3 sections with 7 multiple-choice questions per section. 21 questions  15 minutes for each sections
  • Language structures: 6 microtexts with 5 cloze questions per microtext - 30 questions , 5 minutes for each  microtexts

A total of 72 questions to be answered in 120 minutes.

For each type of test, the questions are presented in ascending order of difficulty. 


  • from 0 to 11: insufficient
  • from 12 to 21: beginner A1
  • from 22 to 32: basic A2
  • from 33 to 48:  intermediate  B1
  • from 49 to 61: intermediate  B2
  • from 62 to 72: advanced C1

For further details about the course please refer to: