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PhD in Italy: Know About Best Universities in Italy for PhD

Rohan Deshmukh

It's no surprise that Italy is the world's fifth most visited country, with its rich history, gorgeous climate, and incredible creative heritage - and if you're thinking of getting a PhD abroad, the road may well bring you to Rome at some point in the future.

Italy has been at the forefront of the Bologna Process, a system that standardises diverse degree systems and makes international study possible. Then Phd in Italy is an ideal choice! This blog has all of the information you'll need if you're thinking about PhD programs in Italy, including information about universities, application criteria, funding, and more.

  Table of Contents:

  1. Why Study Phd In Italy?
  2. Duration Of Studying Pd In Italy
  3. Structure Of Phd Program
  4. Popular Phd Programs And Specializations In Italy
  5. Top Universities For Phd In Italy
  6. Application Process For Studying Phd In Italy 
  7. Cost For Studying Phd In Italy
  8. Scholarships For Studying Phd In Italy 
  9. Career Scope For Studying Phd In Italy

Why Study Phd In Italy?

  1. Italy is home to several historic and prestigious higher education institutions, including the University of Bologna, the oldest continuously operating university in the West.
  2. Italian influence has certainly also shaped the profile of Western civilization through the ages with contributions in the fields of art, architecture and science, spawning famous and famous figures. Colleges provide various courses for Phd in Italy for international students.
  3. The Italian universities are highly prestigious and have close links with other universities throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

Suggested: Best public universities in Italy for international students

Duration Of Studying PhD In Italy

When studying for a PhD in Italy, each year is divided into two semesters: a study period and an examination period.





October- December

January- February


March- May

June- July

Note: This is an overview of how to work during the year. As a PhD student is fully registered in Italy, his work schedule may differ from the above due to obligations, course or model- program-related modules. The usual duration of a PhD study is 3 to 4 years, which varies depending on the institution and course structure. During the PhD study in Italy, each year will be divided into two semesters with a teaching period and an examination period.

Structure Of Phd Program

Doctoral programs can vary between universities and between courses. Usually, pursuing a doctorate in Italy consists mainly of original research work, with some courses taught during the first year. You may also be expected or even invited to tutoring and teaching sessions during your PhD, which are limited to 40 hours per week. At the end of the course, you should have written a doctoral thesis that matches the requirements of the faculty.

Italy is home to the Bologna Process, which organizes the different levels of study in a three-cycle system, with the third cycle being equivalent to a British doctorate. Some universities also offer doctoral degrees in partnership with modules and programs organized in cooperation with foreign universities  or disciplines. However, the basis of the degree is the basis of admission.

There are two types of PhD degrees available:

  1. The Dottorato (PhD) - Awarded by Universities
  2. Diploma Accademico di Formazione Alla Ricerca (Diploma of Undergraduate Studies)- Obtained at one of the Advanced Institutes of Arts and Music Education (Adams).

Specializations In Phd Programs In Italy:

You can pursue a PhD in Italy in any discipline you desire, from fashion to education.  Some of the popular PhD majors in Italy: 

  • Hospitality
  • Humanities
  • Fashion
  • Social Studies
  • Health
  • Management
  • Art and Design
  • Science and Technology
  • Education

Top Universities For Phd In Italy

Some of the top universities in Italy for Phd are listed below:

  1. University of Bologna
  2. University of Padua
  3. University of Brescia
  4. University of Milan
  5. Sapienza University of Rome

Further details on each of these universities is discussed below:

1.University of Bologna

Founded in 1089, the University of Bologna focuses on research programmes, and it is one of the oldest universities in the world. The school has several campuses located in different regions of Italy, such as the Cesena Campus, Forli Campus, Ravenna Campus and Rimini Campus.

QS WUR 2022

Tuition fees 4000 -5000 EUR
  • Phd in Aerospace Science and Technology·
  • Phd in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Science and Technology
  • Phd in Architecture and Design Cultures

2.University of Padua

The University of Padua is the oldest and most prestigious place of study in Europe. It is a multidisciplinary university that aims to provide its students with professional training and a solid cultural background.

QS WUR 2022

Tuition fees 1000-1100 EUR
  • Phd in  Biomedical Sciences
  • Phd in Crop science
  • Phd in Clinical and Experimental Sciences

3.University of Brescia

The University of Brescia offers a  range of educational programmes, with bachelor's and master's of science (MSc) degrees, graduate engineering courses, specialist schools and doctoral degrees. Programs in most areas: business and economics, engineering and technology, law, medicine and surgery, dentistry. 

QS WUR 2022

Tuition fees 900 -1200 EUR

4.University of Milan

The University of Milan's interdisciplinary vocation and connections between various fields lead to a fascinating and enriching offer of undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and specialized courses, Italian as the language primary of education.

QS WUR 2022

Tuition fees 800-1000 EUR

5.Sapienza University of Rome

The Sapienza University  serves as a school-level research facility in Rome, Italy. Formerly known as "La Sapienza", it is considered one of the largest universities in Europe in terms of enrollments.

QS WUR 2022

Tuition fees 1000-1500 EUR
  • Phd in Vascular Biology
  • Phd in  Architecture
  • Phd in  Archeology

Application Process For Studying Phd In Italy 

Admission to the PhD program requires a competitive application process available to qualified local and international students from outside Italy. This process is usually done online. Each institution establishes the courses' parameters, including selection criteria, rules, assessments, research objectives, and costs. This information is included in advertised projects or competition announcements.

  • Academic documents such as certificates (for which you must be accredited), academic transcripts and a CV.
  • Academic References - Letters of recommendation are often required from one or two academics who have worked with you
  • Motivation letter/personal statement - This document should describe your motivation for applying, goals, and why you think you're a good fit for the program.
  • Research Proposal - You may be asked to submit a research proposal even if you are applying for a specific project.
  • Language certificate
  • As part of the application, you may also be asked to submit the relevant portfolio and list of publications (if applicable).

Important Notes:

  • Hold by second cycle (Laurea Magistrale) or equivalent
  • Gain academic recognition of your degree. Before applying, you should contact the university of your choice and ask them to re-evaluate your eligibility.
  • Students who don't reside in Italy must submit applications and documents to the Italian diplomatic mission in their country of residence (i.e. Italian Embassy in New Delhi). 

Cost For Studying Phd In Italy

In Italy, tuition fees vary, though they are typically lower compared to other parts of Europe and North America. Due to this, Italian universities tend to appeal to international students. The following expenses are normally incurred by students pursuing PhD in Italy:


Cost in EUR

Average tuition fees

5000/Academic year


250-300 /month

Food cost

150-200 /month

Transportation cost


Miscellaneous cost


Suggested: Complete cost of living in Italy for international students

Scholarships For Studying Phd In Italy 

Scholarships are granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Associations to students. Indian students can benefit from government scholarships at the national and regional levels. Doing PhD in Italy for Indian students is affordable.


Eligibility & Amount Awarded

EDISU Piemonte Scholarships

  • Desirable students to pursue bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees at any university in Piedmont. Phd programs are fully funded under this scholarship.

Italian Government Scholarships for Foreign Students

  • The scholarships are granted to Italian and international students pursuing a master's degree, higher education in art, music and dance, research, doctoral studies and courses in Italian culture and language.
  •  Amounts up to 900 euros per month for the duration of the study.

Università Cattolica International Scholarships

  • UCSC 30% deduction for international students

Scuola Normale Superiore PhD Scholarships

  • PhD scholarships are awarded to 78 international students. Phd programs are fully funded under this scholarship.

Many colleges award scholarships to study in Italy based on academic merit, ranging from 12,000 to 20,000 euros per year.

Career Scope For Studying Phd In Italy

Graduates from the medical field are the most likely to be employed, followed by engineering - the information technology sector with the highest number of jobs. Economics, biology, and pharmaceutical chemistry are other sciences that look attractive on the Italian job market. International students can apply for a temporary residence permit (valid for  6 to 12 months) after completing their doctoral program in Italy and use this time to find work in the field. You can pursue some career options and their average earnings:

Job Title

Average Annual Salary (EUR)

College professor


Science writing


Patent lawyer




PhD holders from Italian universities enjoy favourable employment in Europe and around the world. 16 Italian universities are ranked in the top 300 of the QS rankings for employability due to the state's active participation in maintaining the quality of education. So if you want to speed up your process to study in Italy, connect with Yocket professionals, who will guide you in understanding how to pursue Phd in Italy.


Frequently Asked Questions About PhD in Italy

Are PhD students paid in Italy?

Is a PhD in Italy free?

Can PhD students work in Italy?

How should I prepare a cover letter?

My tuition fees will be paid with a bank loan, but the bank will not lend me the loan until I receive the acceptance letter. How can I continue?

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