What are the teaching duties in Italy for researchers (RTDa & RTDb), associate professors, and full professors?

In particular, I'd be interested to know, for each position, the number of courses/hours per week per semester and any additional obbligation that are involved (exams, seminars...?). Is there a minimum number of hours per week and any addition is paid as a bonus?

Is there an official table available with the details?

Also, in addition to the teaching duties, are is there any compulsory administrative tasks (faculty meetings, paperwork, budget management) that come along with these positions?

1 Answer 1


I'll answer about where I teach, but I think it is similar in the rest of Italy. Typical amounts of teaching are:

  • RTD-A 50-70 hours of frontal teaching / year
  • RTD-B 70-100 hours
  • Full and associate professor 120-130 hours.

In addition, exams take quite a lot of time. You have to offer the students up to 5-7 opportunities to take each exam each year (yes, you read that right), plus 2 make-up exams for certain protected categories such as parents and workers. Many undergraduate courses have a written and an oral exam, at least in the STEM area.

You have some leeway in scheduling your exams so that you can fit in conferences and/or visits, but typically lectures and exams will keep you busy for more or less the whole year, apart from August and a 2-weeks Christmas break. (Or you can arrange to have courses only in one semester, especially at the earlier career stages when you have less teaching.)

There are regular faculty meetings (at least 1/month). In addition, there are some committees for stuff like outreach, teaching evaluation, attracting new students; you can expect to have little administrative tasks at the beginning of your career but it will step up as you progress.

Paperwork is mostly tied to national and European grants.

EDIT to add more detail: As a professor, you won't have to sign a contract detailing your obligations: all the regulations come directly from the Italian codes of laws (yes, this is weird). In practice, there are very few hard requirements written in stone; one of them is the amount of teaching activities: as a professor, you can be required to cover at least 120 frontal teaching hours/academic year, and you have to devote to all teaching activities at least 350 hours/academic year overall. In practice, people usually talk to each other, compromise, and share the burden of department administrative activities. I don't know what would happen if someone decides to do the bare minimum and refuse all additional assignments, because in practice this doesn't happen.

  • Thank you very much! Can you give me an idea of how these numbers of hours are divided (i.e. how many courses each semester and how many weekly hours)? Are there any "office hours" that one should offer to the students?
    – Kei
    Dec 25, 2020 at 21:49
  • There are two semesters, each with ca. 12 weeks of teaching; so on average a professor will teach for 5 hours/week. The number of courses varies; typically you will be divided across 2-3 different courses each year. Office hours are 1-2 hours weekly, usually; in my experience they are not so crowded, so often I am there waiting for someone to show up but I can use that time to do something else. Dec 25, 2020 at 21:57
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    Federico, those numbers vary by university. For instance, in mine, semesters are 14-week long with 6 to 9 hours lectures per week. I had up to 3 classes in a semester with up to 20-22 hours per week. Also the number of exam sessions varies, e. g. we have just 4. Office hours may be by appointment.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Dec 25, 2020 at 23:22
  • Another thing that is worth pointing out is that for researchers lectures are paid extra in full, sometimes fairly well.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Dec 25, 2020 at 23:26
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    @MassimoOrtolano I don't think lectures are still paid extra for RTD-A and RTD-B positions. I don't know about your university, but I think that the law specifies that that teaching amount is part of their contract. This used to be true for the old RTI positions, but things have changed. Dec 26, 2020 at 9:17

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