Applying for a PhD in Italy
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Applying for a PhD in Italy

Written by Taru Medha

The process of applying for a PhD in Italy can be long and complicated with a lot of steps to get through. This guide takes you through the process of applying for a PhD programme in Italy.

Do I have the right qualifications to do a PhD in Italy?

Italy follows the Bologna three-cycle framework and requires a relevant Masters degree to undertake a PhD. If you completed your Masters outside of Italy, make sure your qualifications meet the requirements to be recognised as a valid degree in Italy. It’s a good idea to contact your university of choice before you apply and ask them for a prior assessment of your eligibility.

Along with these academic/professional qualifications international students might also need to provide proof of proficiency in the language your course will be taught in:

  • If the course is taught in English: There are a number of Italian universities that provide courses in English. If your previous course was not taught in English, you can provide scores of an English language test (like IELTS or TOEFL) to prove your proficiency. You should check the university website to know which language test is accepted and recognised.
  • If the course is taught in Italian: You will have to demonstrate a good command of the language if you opt for a course taught in Italian. Your university is likely to ask for a proficiency certificate for which you will have to take an Italian language test. There are two kinds of Italian language tests (CILS and CELI) that are administered by Universities for foreigners (Università per Stranieri)

Application process for PhD programmes in Italy

In order to be accepted on a PhD programme, you will need to pass a competitive application process, which is also available for students who have obtained their qualifications outside of Italy. Institutions will advertise doctoral opportunities (in both English and Italian) in various places, including here, on FindAPhD.

Each institution establishes the parameters of the course they offer, including the eligibility criteria, regulations, assessment, research goals and fees. This information will be included along with the advertised project or competition call.

Applications for PhD programmes are usually made online. You will need to submit the following documents as part of your application:

  • Academic documentation – this includes certificates (which you need to have acquired recognition for), academic transcript and / or CV
  • Academic referencesreference letters are usually required from one or two academics that have worked with you
  • Letter of motivation / personal statement – a personal statement will need to outline your motivation for applying, your goals and why you believe you are suitable for the programme
  • Research proposal - you may be required to submit a research proposal even if you are applying for a particular project
  • Language certificate

Some universities might also ask you to submit a portfolio and a list of previous publications.

To study as an international student in Italy (non-EU/EEA) you will need to submit all these documents through the Italian embassy/consulate in your country

Once you are done, there isn’t really much left to do other than figuring out how to fund your Italian PhD and applying for a visa if you need one. You are then ready to immerse yourself in everything that Italy has to offer.

Think you’re ready to find the perfect project for you?

Search our database of PhD programmes in Italy



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Last Updated: 05 May 2023