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Doctoral programmes (PhD)

Doctorates provide the expertise necessary for high-level research activities in both public and private institutions.

To be admitted to a doctoral programme you must hold a master degree or a suitable equivalent foreign qualification. You must also pass the selection examinations as stated in the competitive examination announcements, which are published annually.

At least half of the places on offer are covered by scholarships, which are generally funded by the MIUR (Ministry of University and Research), the University, or by external public and private institutions.

Some of our doctoral programmes use English as working language. For more information please visit the section  Programmes in English.

The doctorate involves the planning and execution of a research project, by way of advanced educational programmes, individual in-depth study and, in many cases, through cultural exchanges with other countries

A doctoral degree is awarded after a period of study lasting three to four years, and following the presentation of an original doctoral thesis


Doctoral programmes 2016-2017

Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

  • Comparative, Private and Civil Procedural Law
  • Economics
  • Economic Sociology and Labour Studies
  • History, Culture, Social and Institutional Theories
  • Legal studies "Cesare Beccaria"
  • Linguistic, Literary and Intercultural Studies in European and Extra-European Perspectives
  • Literature, Arts and Environmental Heritage 
  • Philosophy and Human Sciences
  • Political Studies
  • Public, International and European Union law
  • Sociology and Methodology of Social Research

Medicine and Healthcare

  • Clinical Experimental Medicine
  • Epidemiology, Environment and Public Health
  • Experimental Medicine and Medical Biotechnologies
  • Integrative Biomedical Research
  • Molecular and Translational Medicine
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Oral Sciences
  • System Medicine

Science and Technology

  • Agriculture, Environment and Bioenergy
  • Biochemical Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Experimental and Clinical Pharmacological Sciences
  • Food Systems
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Physics, Astrophysics and Applied Physics
  • Veterinary and Animal Science

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Accreditation and assessment

"Maintaining a quality culture in doctoral education at research-intensive universities” - LERU 2015

Italian Doctoral courses have been reformed by Decree of the Ministry of Education, University and Research n. 45 of February 8, 2013. Particularly, the Ministerial Degree has introduced a system for accreditation of doctoral courses. As of the enforcement of these new regulations doctoral courses are set up after the accreditation by the Ministry is delivered taking into account the opinion expressed by the National Agency for Evaluation of Higher Education and Research (ANVUR).

The Accreditation System consists of an initial approval subject to the existence of specific requirements as reported below, and of a periodical assessment of the observance of said requirements carried out according to the procedure undertaken for initial accreditation:

  • a doctoral board consisting of academic staff boasting research results at international level in the disciplinary areas of the doctoral course
  • a minimum number of scholarships to be awarded for each doctoral course
  • appropriate and stable financing ensuring sustainability towards research carried out in the doctoral course within which doctoral students are enrolled
  • availability of relevant qualified administrative and research facilities
  • doctoral training, also jointly conducted with other doctoral courses, which can either be disciplinary or  interdisciplinary, specialized or transversal.

The regulations issued in 2013 introduced a further novelty in the national HE system. An  assessment system was established according to which each University is assigned specific funds by the Ministry for doctoral courses sustenance. Ministerial assessment, once again carried out by ANVUR, takes into account the following criteria:

  • quality of research carried out by the members of the Doctoral Board;
  • level on internationalization of the doctoral course;
  • level of cooperation with enterprises and incidence of the doctoral course on the socio-economic system;
  • attractiveness of the doctoral course;
  • services, infrastructures and financial resources available to the doctoral course as well as to doctoral students, also as a result of a merger or federation of HE Institutions;
  • employability of PhD graduates.

Assessment carried out in accordance with specific methodologies set out by ANVUR, wherein indicators deriving from the above criteria are applied, will produce a national ranking of doctoral courses held in homogenous disciplinary areas.

Within the Italian accreditation and assessment systems, each University’s Assessment Unity plays an effective role consisting in monitoring doctoral activities jointly with ANVUR.

Bearing in mind national rules on accreditation and assessment, the University of Milan has established its own criteria to assess its academic staff’s eligibility to teach in  doctoral courses. Particularly, the University has defined thresholds for researches carried out in relevant specific areas within the three years preceding a targeted year.Then, as for resources either deriving from ministerial transfers or from own resources, the University assigns funds to doctoral courses through assessment procedures which take into account efficient and effective results produced by each doctoral course.

Besides these mechanisms, some PhD programmes have been voluntarily experimenting additional procedures aimed to quality assessment. 
For example the PhD programmes in Sociology, Political Science, Labour Studies and Physics collect systematic evaluations of teaching activities and training satisfaction from first and second year students through an anonymous on-line questionnaire.

Some of these PhD programmes have also been monitoring the occupational outcomes of their doctors.
The PhD programmes in Philosophy and Physics have adopted procedures of accountability in the phase of screening and selection of PhD candidates, in which the admission interviews are organized as a workshop and publicized to all members of the faculty.

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