Earth sciences

Doctoral programme (PhD)
A.Y. 2020/2021
Study area
Science and Technology
Doctoral programme (PhD)
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra 'Ardito Desio' - Via L. Mangiagalli, 34 - 20133 Milano
The doctoral programme in Earth Sciences aims to train young researchers so that they are able to autonomously investigate a broad range of geoscience topics. The mission is to form high profile geologists with scientific-technical-experimental training in the study, modelling and management of georesources who are able to solve problems effectively. Based on past experience, the programme will focus on immediately marketable hard & soft skills and meet the need for post-graduate education with up-to-date, innovative know-how. In particular, it will provide advanced specialist training
1. in basic, applied and theoretical research on problems relating to the structure, composition, evolution and dynamics of the Earth;
2. in the characterisation and modelling of the Earth System;
3. in basic and applied research on land use, natural hazards, energy and water resources, geomaterials, mineral prospecting and enhancement of cultural heritage.
The geological perspective of the overall functioning of the Earth System includes research centred on the processes at work on the surface and inside the Earth, on their impact on ecosystems and human activities and, conversely, the short and long-term consequences of human activity on the environment. The complex interactions between geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere are stored in the geological record, which can be decoded to:
a) reconstruct the development and evolution of our planet, combining experimental observations and models;
b) Define natural resources (oil, gas, mineral raw materials, water), their use and sustainable exploitation;
c) Evaluate geological hazards (e.g., earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides);
d) Devise works of geological engineering and infrastructures;
e) Implement environmental reclamation technologies;
f) Develop exploitation of raw materials for industrial applications;
g) Preserve and make the most of our cultural geo-paleontological heritage;
h) Evaluate forensic applications.
The EARTH SYSTEM: PROCESSES AND MODELLING curriculum aims to develop scientific-technical skills for understanding, quantifying and modelling the current Earth System and the geological record, characterised by complex interactions between Geosphere, Biosphere, Atmosphere and Hydrosphere.
The GEORESOURCES curriculum aims to develop innovative skills to address the global challenges deriving from the growing need for Georesources. Research activities will focus on a wide spectrum of geological skills regarding the identification and exploitation of energy, mineral and water resources while preserving the landscape. The aim is to train high-profile geologists with scientific-technical-experimental training for research, modelling and management of georesources and for studying and enhancing the landscape and cultural heritage.
The programme is organised to meet teaching and research requirements related to the broad spectrum of geosciences. The lines of research developed during the doctoral programme in Earth Sciences are highly topical with extensive international significance, as witnessed by close cooperation with leading international research institutions. Special attention is dedicated to training researchers to tackle complex research topics in an independent and innovative manner. Training of doctoral students includes short courses and workshops, work experience in Italian and international institutions/laboratories, collaboration with industry, participation in Italian and international conferences and workshops, and other activities focused on overall training.
Classi di laurea magistrale - Classes of master's degree:

LM-11 Scienze per la conservazione dei beni culturali
LM-17 Fisica,
LM-18 Informatica,
LM-22 Ingegneria chimica,
LM-23 Ingegneria civile,
LM-27 Ingegneria delle telecomunicazioni,
LM-29 Ingegneria elettronica,
LM-30 Ingegneria energetica e nucleare,
LM-32 Ingegneria informatica,
LM-34 Ingegneria navale,
LM-35 Ingegneria per l'ambiente e il territorio,
LM-40 Matematica,
LM-48 Pianificazione territoriale urbanistica e ambientale,
LM-53 Scienza e ingegneria dei materiali,
LM-54 Scienze chimiche,
LM-58 Scienze dell'universo,
LM-60 Scienze della natura,
LM-69 Scienze e tecnologie agrarie,
LM-71 Scienze e tecnologie della chimica industriale,
LM-72 Scienze e tecnologie della navigazione,
LM-73 Scienze e tecnologie forestali ed ambientali,
LM-74 Scienze e tecnologie geologiche,
LM-75 Scienze e tecnologie per l'ambiente e il territorio,
LM-79 Scienze geofisiche,
LM-82 Scienze statistiche.
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra 'Ardito Desio' - Via L. Mangiagalli, 34 - 20133 Milano
Title Professor(s)
Microporous minerals: occurrences, crystal chemistry, properties and utilizations
Requisiti: Mineralogy: advanced level; Methods in crystal chemistry
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Magnetochronology, chronostratigraphy, and paleoenvironmental evolution of Pleistocene depositional sequences in the Mediterranean realm
Requisiti: Knowledge of general stratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Dissolution of diamond and carbon isotopic exchanges in high-pressure aqueous fluids. Experimental study on the solubility in aqueous fluids of micro- and nano-sized diamond at high pressure conditions representing subduction zones.
Requisiti: Basic knowledge of petrology and geochemistry
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
The response of calcareous nannoplankton to paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental stress conditions over selected Cretaceous case histories: the effects on the assemblage composition and on nannofossil biomineralization
Requisiti: Knowledge in oceanography, micropaleontology and paleoecology
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Mississippian mud mounds of Derbyshire (England, UK): facies architecture and biotic evolution. Comparative study of the mud mounds in carbonate ramp settings and in platform margins to unravel their spectrum of facies and biota and their genetic processes.
Requisiti: Knowledge of facies analysis methods and of fossil macroinvertebrates sampling and identification. Basic knowledge of palaeoecology and carbonate sedimentology. Field work skills
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Paraglacial dynamics: analysis of the sediment connectivity within the critical zone in Alpine environments since the Little Ice Age and fallouts on the geomorphological evolution of the territory and on its fruition
Requisiti: Basic knowledge of the geomorphological mapping cartography, of Geographical Information Systems and of dendrogeomorphological analyses
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Evolution and stable isotope-based paleoecology of planktonic foraminifera across the rise and fall of the Cretaceous hot greenhouse climate
Requisiti: Knowledge on foraminiferal taxonomy and geochemistry
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Reconstruction of the stratigraphic evolution of carbonate depositional systems (geometry, internal architecture, facies distribution) with a multidisciplinary approach
Requisiti: Good skills in stratigraphic and sedimentological field work and geological mapping; experience in carbonate microfacies petrography
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Hydro-thermo-mechanical behaviour of jointed rock masses. Assessment of the impact of metereologic-climatic variables on landsliding and/or rock mass-engineering works interactions, through different spatial and temporal scales approches, including future climate scenarios, and with the support of laboratory and in situ experimental activities, and coupled numerical modelling.
Requisiti: Basic knowledge of rock mechanics and slope stability, aptitude for numerical modelling and experimental geomechanics
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Geological heterogeneity of clastic depositional systems: characterization and geostatistical modelling. Methods to characterize, describe and model geological heterogeneity at different scales from the Elementary Representative Volume to the Depositional System. PhD students will apply and develop the most updated tools and techniques to understand and model geological heterogeneities in their space-time frame.
Requisiti: Basic knowledge of sedimentology and statistics
Curriculum: Earth system: processes and modelling
Structure-property relationship in selected disordered minerals, produced during acidic mine drainage.
Requisiti: Some experience in powder diffraction and crystallography
Curriculum: Georesources
Multi-disciplinary approach to model clastic systems as outcrop analogue: the links between processes and architectures. The aim is to constrain facies and architectural interpretation to the genetic processes. The study will be based on facies analysis and physical sedimentology of well exposed outcrops, combined with geostatistical modelling
Requisiti: Basic knowledge in sedimentology
Curriculum: Georesources
Reconstructing the thermal and fluid-flow history in sedimentary basins by combining conventional and new approaches in diagenesis (petrography, stable and radiometric isotopy, fluid inclusion study, Raman spectroscopy). Possible targets are: Paris Basin (Triassic, fluvial siliciclastics), Western Canada Basin (Devonian, dolomitized reefs), Salta Basin (Cretaceous-Paleogene, lacustrine carbonates)
Requisiti: Good skills in sedimentary petrology and/or diagenesis studies. Interest for lab work.
Curriculum: Georesources
Numerical analysis of energy geostructures (serving both structural and energy purposes), to assess any detrimental thermo-hydro-mechanical interactions and maximise their thermal performance, also in the presence of flowing groundwater. Assessment of possible coupling of EGs with solar energy storage systems, also in view of expected climate change.
Requisiti: Basic knowledge of geotechnics, aptitude for mathematical and numerical modelling
Curriculum: Georesources
Geophysics for natural resources: development of methods for collection, processing and inversion of geophysical and hydrological data for exploration, modelling and sustainable management of natural resources
Requisiti: Excellent knowledge of basic physics and mathematics and of geophysics. Skills on application of mathematical and numerical methods and programming skills. Skills in data handling
Curriculum: Georesources

Courses list

Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Improving skills in conservative and reactive transport modelling
3 16 English
Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Multiphysics Geomechanics for Earth Science applications: from resource engineering to fault mechanics
2 10 English
Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Tectonic evolution of collisional belts: case studies from north-western Alps 5 25 Italian
Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Carbonate diagenesis to constrain thermo-barometry and fluid geochemistry in sedimentary basins 2 12 English
Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Principles, applications and new frontiers in isotope geochemistry
6 30 English
Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Tectonic evolution of collisional belts: case studies from north-western Alps 5 25 Italian
Courses or activities Professor(s) ECTS Total hours Language
Shallow geothermal energy: from the ground to buildings, from the field to modelling 3 15 English


Places available: 7

Call for applications

Please refer to the call for admission test dates and contents, and how to register.

Application for admission: from 08/07/2020 to 14/09/2020

Application for matriculation: from 12/10/2020 to 25/10/2020

Read the Call

Attachments and documents

Qualifications assessment

Evaluation results

Attachment 1