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PhD in Computer Science

PhD in Computer Science

Doctorates (Ph.D. programs) are multi-year post-degree university courses that aim at providing graduate students an advanced training toward research activities.

The Ph.D. program in Computer Science of the Università degli Studi di Milano lasts three years and promotes the definition and the development of the students' individual research projects through advanced teaching methodologies, personal learning, and, in most cases, through cultural exchanges with other countries. At the end of the Ph.D. program, the presentation of a thesis based on sound scientific methodologies and including original research results is expected.

The 1st cycle of the Ph.D. Computer Science program started in 1983, initially from a consortium between the University of Milan and the University of Turin. Starting from the 9th cycle, the course was organized by the Computer Science departments of the University of Milan. Nowadays, the course length is of three years, but until the 16th cycle, it lasted four years. Most of the students are now established researchers in a number of IT sectors, among italian and international universities and public and private istitutions.

Access to Ph.D. courses is limited to graduates holding Master Degree (or a Degree Certificate obtained before the coming into force of Italian Ministerial Decree 509/99); admission to the Ph.D. program takes place through a competitive examination whose announcement is issued yearly by the University. At least half of the available Ph.D. positions will be covered by scholarships, financed in part by the Italian Minister of University and Research, by internal University funds, and by foreingn countries or private bodies.

The field-specific training activity for each PhD student consists mainly in a number of doctoral courses specifically offered within the so-called PhD Course List.

The PhD board provides every year at least 18 credits (corresponding typically to 9 monographic courses) among which each PhD students can freely choose in order to obtain at least 12 credits within his/her 3-years PhD program. Every course has a final exam that the student must pass in order to obtain the corresponding credits. The PhD board allows (and in fact encourages) to supplement and integrate the described training activity with the participation to national and international PhD schools and courses, provided that they are well-known and appropriate for the research field of the student; if those schools and courses have a final exam, the student can ask the board to gain the corresponding credits according to the internal rules that the PhD board has established.

The title of Ph.D. is achieved by passing a final examination consisting in the discussion of the Doctoral Thesis. It gives access to scientific research in academic institutions as well as in public and private bodies or research centers.

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To be admitted to a doctoral programme you must pass the selection examinations as stated in the calls for applications, 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.

General requirements for admission

The suitability of the foreign academic qualifications in terms of content is appraised by the Examining Board constituted for admission to each doctoral programme, in compliance with the regulations in force in Italy and in the country in which the academic qualification was issued, and the international treaties or agreements pertaining to the conferment of qualifications for the continuation of studies.

Forthcoming selections

The call for applications is available in Italian and in English.
You can find more details about admissions and scholarships in the University website.


The Computer Science Ph.D. provides a program that supplies:

  • a wide and exhaustive knowledge on the basis of Information Technology, Computer Science, and similar branches,
  • advanced skills on specific subject aspects that are essential for autonomous research activities,
  • a cross-subject knowledge to exploit arising synergies between sciences, information technology, and other research areas,
  • a sound methodological education to carry out research activities, as well as their organization, management, and communication.

The Computer Science Ph.D. program prepares people, providing them innovative and in-depth knowledge on specific subjects, along with a high flexibility and a wide broadmindedness. The Ph.D. program prepares students to perform autonomously and manage theoretical and practical researches, putting them in a position to contribute to the growth of the international scientific and technological knowledge. Furthermore, the program supplies the competences to design and realize complex computing systems, to develop innovative solutions, and to transfer knowledge to organizations, contributing to consolidate and expand the role of Italian enterprises in the global economic environment.

The Ph.D. program didactics is organized to put beside:

  • an offer of a number of initiatives typically structured in cultural-homogeneous areas (training programs), organized in short and extensive courses,
  • other instructive opportunities, that comprise courses and internal seminars, as well as external initiatives organized by Italian and international universities, with the aim to widen educational opportunities and to favour the Ph.D. program internationalization.

Each Ph.D. student can build his own study plan selecting the educational initiatives of his interest.