The Ph.D. (Dottorato di Ricerca) is a qualification awarded on completion of a course corresponding to the third cycle of studies. Its learning outcomes are the knowledge of the most advanced level of a scientific field and the ability to extend, improve, redefine or innovate the existing knowledge through original research contribution.
A Ph.D. course lasts three academic years. As a general rule, each academic year goes from October 31 of a specific year to October 30 of the next year.
Types of Ph.D. courses
- Ph.D. courses offered and implemented by the University of Catania as single institution. The final degree is awarded by the University of Catania.
- Ph.D. courses offered and implemented by the University of Catania in collaboration with other Italian universities/Research centres. The final degree is awarded by the University of Catania as coordinating institution.
- Ph.D. courses offered and implemented by the University of Catania in collaboration with foreign Higher Education Institutions. The final degree can take the form of joint/double/multiple degree.
- Ph.D. courses offered and implemented by the University of Catania in collaboration with private companies. The final degree is awarded by the University of Catania.
Each Ph.D. course is managed by an Academic Board and a Coordinator.
The Academic Board is composed by tenured professors and researchers from the University of Catania and from partner institutions, if any.
The Academic Board:
- defines coursework activities;
- approves the research project and the study plan of each Ph.D. student;
- nominates an academic supervisor for each Ph.D. student;
- authorizes Ph.D. students to carry out research work at other institutions, both in Italy and abroad;
- monitors each Ph.D. student's research work at the end of each academic year and decides whether to admit the student to the subsequent year or exclude him/her from the course.
The Coordinator is elected among and by the Academic Board members. The Coordinator convenes and chairs the Academic Board and is responsible for the general coordination of the doctoral programme.
Candidates for a place in a Ph.D. programme must hold one of the following degrees:
- "Laurea Magistrale" or "Specialistica" or "Laurea Vecchio Ordinamento" issued by an Italian university;
- Any foreign university degree corresponding to the second cycle of studies (second level - master level degree).
Selection procedure and Call for applications
Candidates for a Ph.D. programme are selected on competitive basis. Selection procedures always include the evaluation of specific qualifications. Additional written/oral examinations might be required according to the type of Ph.D. programme.
Each academic year the University of Catania issues a Call for applications (in Italian "Bando di Concorso"). The Call for applications provides candidates with information regarding:
- Ph.D. courses offered by the University of Catania in the relevant academic year with indication, for each Ph.D. course, of the following information:
- Selection procedures;
- Duration of the course;
- Number of places with scolarships and funding institutions;
- Number of non-scolarship places;
- Partner institutions, if any;
- Access requirements;
Application guidelines and qualifications/annexes to be attached to the application form;
Registration procedures and fees
Further information on the organization of Ph.D. courses is included in the Regulations governing Ph.D. courses (under the heading "Helpful documents), articles 8-24 .
Ph.D. Thesis co-direction
The thesis co-direction concerns a modality of development of a Ph.D. course involving the registration of the doctoral student with two universities of two different countries. A thesis co-direction path can be implemented with any foreign country provided the following documents are signed:
- a framework agreement between the two institutions or an intergovernmental agreement concerning the collaboration in the field of university education;
- a thesis co-direction agreement , representing an executive covenant of the framework or intergovernmental agreement and including:
- the doctoral candidate's personal details;
- the doctoral candidate’s insurance policy;
- amount of enrolment fees;
- title of the research project;
- names of supervisors from both institutions;
- periods of research from both institutions;
- modality of the final dissertation and institution where the final dissertation will take place.
* The Framework Agreement sample is available under the heading "Useful documents". Since a memorandum of understaning has been signed between the Conference of Italian Rector and its French, German, Spanish and Swiss counterpart, in case of thesis co-direction between the University of Catania and a French, German, Spanish or Swiss University, the thesis co-direction agreement is the only document to be signed.
The doctoral student in thesis co-direction must be enrolled in two Ph.D. courses: one at the home institution (university which selected and admitted the candidate to the place in the Ph.D. program) and one at the partner institution. Each institution assigns a research supervisor to the doctoral candidate.
The development of course activities and thesis preparation must be divided into alternate periods at both institutions, whose duration is provided for in the apposite thesis co-direction agreement. The doctoral students pay the registration fees at the home institution and must be exempted from the payment of these fees at the partner institution, with this latter being able to require the payment of additional costs whether required by the legislation in force in the pertinent country.
At the end of the Ph.D. program the doctoral student shall take one final dissertation exam, as a general rule at the home institution and against a joint committee whose composition is defined according to the legislation in force in both countries. On successful pass of the final dissertation exam the doctoral student is awarded the Ph.D. degree from the home institution and, if permitted by the legal provisions of the partner country, the Ph.D. degree from the hosting institution (double or joint degree).
The University of Catania will confer the Ph.D. degree upon doctoral students from foreign universities, registered at the University of Catania as candidates in thesis co-direction, on condition that they carry out at least twelve months of research activity, not necessarily consecutive, at the University of Catania.
Procedure of implementation
Doctoral students from the University of Catania can submit their request of thesis co-direction within their first year and by no later than the end of their second year at the latest (request form available under the heading "Helpful documents") . The request must be submitted to the Coordinator of the Ph.D. course and in cc to the Ph.D. Students Office and must be approved by the Academic board within the candidate’s second year of course. The Academic Board must determine the availability of the financial resources necessary to the implementation of the thesis co-direction.
Doctoral students from foreign Ph.D. courses can submit request of thesis co-direction within their first year and by no later than their second year at the home institution at the latest (request form under the heading "Helpful documents"). The request must be submitted to the coordinator of the Ph.D. course at the University of Catania in which the candidate desires to enroll and in cc to the Ph.D. Students Office.
The Ph.D. Academic Board in which the candidate desires to enrol must assess the correspondence of the research project of the candidate to the research themes of the Ph.D. course and approve the thesis co-direction.
Provided the approval of the Academic board, the doctoral student will be registered as supra-numeral student in thesis co-direction without financial expenses for the University of Catania.