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The PhD course in “Politics, Culture and Development” merged all previous PhD courses of the Department in 2013. It is based on the idea that the advanced study of social phenomena needs to adopt an interdisciplinary approach.

The training provided to the students - who are selected every year based on their CV, a research project, a written and oral test and an English language test - is aimed at developing the competences needed to investigate the processes of social, political, cultural, linguistic, communicative, economic and juridical development. Different perspectives are integrated to widen the scope of analysis beyond the conventional borders of disciplinary fields.

The program offers training in quantitative and qualitative research methods applicable to the different disciplines, as well as seminars on concepts shared by social sciences that will guarantee key vocabulary for research. These seminars are centred on the three keywords of the PhD program: politics, culture, development; additional seminars are offered in the first year, and especially in the second and third year, so that PhD students can learn and apply the various methods and concepts to their own research agenda.

All educational activities are assessed according to the academic credit system, based on the workload of a student during the activities aimed at passing the exams.

Starting from the first year of attendance, each student is assigned to one of the research workshops established by the members of the Academic Board .  Each student is supported by a tutor. Based on the needs of the research project, co-tutorships with national and international partners are possible.

Comparative research is central to the tradition and practice of the PhD program. Comparative analysis across geographical and conceptual lines is encouraged, and it is compulsory for each student to carry out research activities abroad. The PhD course has agreements and partnerships with many institutions in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, and aims at increasing and strengthening these partnerships to support students in accessing international research networks and participating in the global scholarly debate.