PhD Study in Italy – 2023
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PhD study in Italy – 2023

Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than anywhere in the world, which means there is a lot to see and do during your PhD. You have plenty of time as a PhD student in Italy to enjoy the food and culture of the country. If you decide to do a PhD in Italy, you have the chance to participate in international research programmes and live in a country synonymous with culture, fashion, good food and entertainment.

Why study a PhD in Italy?

  • Choice of subject and institution– Italy is known for its excellent education system which is built on foundations like scientific research and creativity. It has a number of different kinds of higher education institutions where you can study your PhD. Each institute offers specialised courses in a particular subject area making sure you have a fulfilling and rich learning experience.
  • Affordable – A PhD in Italy will cost you a lot less that other popular study destinations in Europe. This has been possible because of the public-funded universities with fees between €900 and €4,000. And, there are a number of scholarships available for both national and international students
  • Historic relevance– Italy is home to the world’s oldest university: The University of Bologna. Ring a bell? The Bologna Process, which set down the three-cycle degree process across Europe and allowed for easy credit transfer, was introduced in Italy. Why wouldn’t you want to study at the place where it all began?
  • Courses in both Italian and English – To attract more international students, Italian universities now offer more and more course in English. They do still encourage students to learn Italian during their stay in the country. When in Rome, I guess!
  • The wonderful climate – You have the chance to enjoy the wonderful and warm Mediterranean climate whether in the heart of the city with some pasta and wine or at one of the many beaches in the country (also with pasta and wine if you fancy it!).

Structure of a PhD in Italy

Italian higher education institutions award two kinds of PhD degrees:

  • A PhD or a Dottorato is awarded by universities and is similar to the ones in the UK and other parts of the world.
  • A Research Academic Diploma or a Diploma accademico di formazione alla ricerca is awarded by Institutes of Higher Artistic Education

An Italian PhD consists primarily of independent research with some taught modules usually in the first year. However, the structure of a PhD can vary drastically between course types and universities. You can find detailed information on course structure on your university website.

At the end of your degree, you will be expected to have written a doctoral thesis according to your department’s requirements.

How long does a PhD in Italy last?

A PhD programme usually lasts a minimum of three years. The usual length of study in Italy is between three to four years depending on the course structure and the institution.

An academic year in Italy is divided into two semesters. The first semester usually runs from September/October to January/February and then the second runs from February to July.

Assessments during a PhD in Italy

At the end of your PhD you will be expected to submit a final piece of research work, which will be your thesis, along with a report of all activities and publications during the period of your PhD. You will have to submit your thesis both in English and Italian.

The thesis that you submit will undergo review by external examiners who will judge its quality and contribution. If they are satisfied, your thesis will qualify for public defence or an additional six months of corrections.

The public defence is similar to a UK viva wherein you present your work and answer any questions raised by a commission of experts. However, unlike the viva, the Italian final assessment is also open to the public.

Some institutions in Italy implement the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) which includes completing a number of credits (most of which attributed to the thesis) in order to obtain your doctorate. However, this isn’t the case with all institutions.

If you think a PhD in Italy sounds like something you want to explore more, we have more information on applications, fees, funding and visas below.

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: 07 December 2022