The PhD course is designed as a higher education program with the aim to fully realize the close connection between theory, research and analysis of political, social and cultural phenomena. Pursuant to the structural multidisciplinary approach, the PhD course is based on two curricula - History of Political Doctrines and Institutions and Theory of Socio-cultural, Political and International Cooperation Processes – and specifically involves the following areas of research: Modern History; Contemporary History; History of Political Doctrines and Institutions; Theory and History of International Relations and Cooperation Processes; Political and Social Theory; Sociology of Political, Juridical and Cultural Processes; Political Science.

The main lines of research of the PhD course are:

the study of the reflective and discursive elaborations and of the conceptual configurations of politics, in a historical and theoretical key, with specific reference to the modern and the contemporary ages;
the analysis of the processes of governance from a historical and comparative perspective as well as in relation to the most recent developments in the European and international spheres;
the study of international and cooperation relations with a historical and comparative perspective and in relation to the current challenges linked to the “global era”;
the analysis of political cultures and ideologies, of political parties and movements with an interdisciplinary approach, with specific reference to processes of democratization;
the analysis of the leading classes and of public powers in the modern and contemporary ages with a historical, political science and sociological approach;
the analysis of the social, political and institutional innovation processes, with specific reference to contemporary Europe;
the analysis of social networks and of the linguistic and communication processes of political activity, with specific focus on the study of information and propaganda instruments in the modern and contemporary ages;
the analysis of the dynamics and conflicts in contemporary societies.
Educational targets of the PhD course:

Specific educational objectives of the PhD in Political Studies are:

The in-depth study of political, social and cultural processes with a historical, philosophical and political perspective, the acquisition of a solid theoretical understanding;
The acquisition and mastery of the methodologies for empirical research;
The achievement of the competence and professional skills necessary for interpreting and “governing” the dynamics behind the evolution of contemporary social, political, economic and institutional phenomena, also with reference to equal opportunities.
These objectives will be achieved by beginning with the formation of a community of students and teachers who will develop the methodological and conceptual tools for giving value to, while overcoming, the “confines dividing disciplines” by sharing knowledge and professional skills developed in various areas of historical and political studies and the social sciences and the humanities.

Students enrolled in the PhD course in Political Science are required to follow a compulsory training course, structured as follows:

A first level, compulsory for all PhD students enrolled in the first year, aimed at providing the theoretical and methodologic competence required for the analysis of political, social and cultural processes, as well as providing knowledge in areas of general interest.

A second core level in the specific area of research chosen by each student (as early as the first year, and specifically in the second and third)

Training course

Regular attendance of the training activities program, compliance with the work-plan and the presentation of reports and papers pertaining to the level of development of the research project (within the deadlines set by the Board of professors during the academic year) are conditions required for the student’s admission to the following course year and to the final exam.

Furthermore, during the three-year course period PhD students will be encouraged to publish articles in journals specialized in their field of research and to participate to seminars and meetings with reports and statements.


First year

Training activity. First year PhD students are compelled to attend:

A minimum of two basic required courses coordinated with the Board of professors, chosen among the courses made available by the Department of Political Science, with the aim to strengthen the basic preparation;
Methodological and thematic training seminars (Historical research methodology, Contemporary political and social theory, Social research methodologies, etc.).
Master classes held by eminent researchers in the fields of historical, political and social studies.
Research activity. Research projects submitted by candidates for admission to the PhD course and in compliance with the guidelines set by the Board of professors, will be examined at the start of the first year of the PhD course in order to define the research, assign one or more tutors (either internal or external to the Board of professors) who will assist each PhD student with the research work, and determine a timetable for the activities specifically tailored to the research subject.

Research activities carried out by PhD students will undergo quarterly evaluation before the Board of professors for which students will be required to illustrate the methodologies employed and the results achieved during the period under consideration.

Second year

Training activity. Second year PhD students are required to attend the theme seminars specifically planned in their field of study. Compared to the first year, PhD students will be encouraged to become more strongly involved in the organization of theme seminars with specific reference to the lines of research carried out throughout their doctoral activities. In addition to these activities, Master classes will be held by eminent researchers in the fields of historical, political and social studies, in continuity with similar initiatives organized in past years.

Students will also be allowed to tailor their doctoral study plan according to their interests by proposing training and research activities to the Board of professors.

Research activity. Beginning in the second course year PhD students will focus on the preparation of their doctorate thesis. The drafting of thesis research may require field surveys, consultating national or international archives, the in-depth study of theoretical, national and international areas of debate. The research activity carried out will be monitored through quarterly meetings with the Board of professors, and the preparation of written reports and/or the presentation of sections of the thesis, if required.

With the aim to strengthen and tailor their education course, PhD students will be invited to spend study and work periods abroad: in universities, research institutes, libraries, archives and other bodies, accredited by the doctorate course, where they shall develop their specific research project in depth, as well as gain the opportunity to attend summer classes, meetings and seminars.

Third year

Training activity. The third year will be dedicated to the completion of the research project and the drafting of the final paper. Participation in seminars will therefore be reduced with the aim of allowing doctoral students to complete research on, and gain full understanding of, the issues and themes and outline interesting and original critically analyzed results.

Research activity. In order to gain admission to the final exam, students enrolled in the third course year must present their research activity to the Board of professors within the deadline set by the board itself. The Board must approve the research carried out, once the tutor or tutors following the development of the project have expressed an opinion.

The final examination will consist on a public discussion of the final paper held before a Committee nominated following a proposal by the Board of professors in accordance with the procedures laid down. The Commissioners will examine the level of knowledge and competence achieved by the students throughout their research activity and verify the originality of the overall results.


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