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In 1980, with Presidential Decree dated 11th July 1980 no. 382, the PhD was set up in Italy. This is a post-graduate university programme, the completion of which leads graduates to be awarded the equivalent of the PhD title (Philosophise Doctor) of Anglo-Saxon countries and similar titles present in other countries.

The aim of the PhD programme is to provide specialised training, aimed at carrying out highly specialised research activity. The course is of a legal duration of three years, which may be extended to four, and it involves obligatory the attendance of lessons, seminars, conferences, as well as giving participants the possibility to engage in work placements and study experiences abroad.

The training programme involves the identification of a research project to be developed both through the aforementioned advanced teaching and through individual study. This often leads the PhD student to participate in a cultural exchange with other countries, to participate in conferences organised within the national territory, visiting libraries, departments and institutes of Italian and other universities. The training period is aimed at the drafting of a doctoral thesis which should be carried out with a scientific method and have an original content.
The PhD title is awarded after passing a final examination. This involves the discussion of a thesis before an examination commission and gives the holder access to the world of scientific research that is not limited to the university world but that also extends to institutions, business and the socio-cultural realities that are outside of the academic world. The PhD title corresponds to the attainment of 180 CFU, which are divided up equally over the three years of the course.

To access a doctorate course, you must have already obtained a Master’s Degree or four year degree (prior to the reform as per DM 509/99) and you must pass the selection process foreseen as per the indications in the call for applications.

With respect to the ministerial regulations, at least 70% of PhD students admitted must be able to benefit from scholarships, the total of which is established by the Ministry for University and Research and amounts to the gross sum of € 13,638.47 annually. This amount is increased during periods of research and study abroad, which must be of a duration of no less than 3 months within the three-year period of the course.