Doctoral School

The research Doctorate is the highest level of education provided for in the academic degree system, and it aims for the acquisition of highly qualified skills, which are necessary for effectively conducting research activity in universities as well as in public and private sectors. It involves a three-year process dedicated to the research and writing of a doctoral dissertation, which concludes with a public discussion of the dissertation thesis.

At Sophia it is possible to obtain a Doctoral degree in

  • Culture of Unity (with specializations defined by the Council of the Doctorate School based on the specific research project)
  • Economics and Management
  • Political Sciences
  • Trinitarian Ontology (with specializations in Philosophy and in Theology)

Dual or joint degrees may also be obtained through specific agreements established with other academic Institutions.

For admission to the Doctoral programme, candidates must have obtained a second-level university degree (Laurea specialistica or magistrale, post-graduate, master’s, licentiate) with an academic track of at least 5 years’ duration, equivalent to at least 300 ECTS.

For more information:
 +39 055 9051530
e-mail: segreteria.phd@sophiauniversity.org

The Doctoral School coordinates the activities and the strategic development of the study and research programme, according to the inter- and transdisciplinary approach typical of the Institute.

Director of the Doctoral School (since 18 March 2020): Prof. Daniela Ropelato, responsible for the overall organisation and operation of the school and its educational activities.

The Council of the Doctoral School assists the Director in the admissions process of candidate applications, especially taking into account the aptitude for research and the congruity of the project with the specific aims of Sophia and the candidate’s previous studies, which must be suited to the project. The Council will also take into consideration the availability of Faculty members in the requested areas of research.

Procedure and annual deadlines

  • By February 15th the following must be presented by the Candidate to the Academic Registrar:
    1. the application for admission, in which the Candidate should also briefly state their motivations for choosing Sophia;
    2. previous academic degrees (see the Application information in the right margin of this page for more details);
    3. a summary of the research project of at least ten thousand characters (spaces included), which presents the topic, reasons for choosing it, and precise references to existing literature about the topic. The working hypothesis, intended methodology and initial bibliography should also be included;
    4. a personal and professional curriculum vitae;
    5. documentation of any other relevant study or research activities undertaken;
    6. copy of Master’s dissertation or other academically recognised work of equivalent standard, as well as a copy of any available publications;
    7. one or more academic reference letters.


  • By March 15th the candidate may be contacted for an interview in person or online with one or more Sophia professors; and by March 31st the candidate will receive the final results of the evaluation procedure and indications about the Supervisor.

Candidates are required to know at least two modern languages besides their own; other languages may be required in relation to the project. For Doctorates in Economics and Management and in Political Sciences one of the two languages must be English.

The written language of the thesis is determined in agreement with the Supervisor at the beginning of the work, and can be chosen from the following: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese.

Candidates who wish to apply for joint or dual Doctoral degrees, in conjunction with agreements with other academic institutions, must include a motivated request with their admission application. The Doctoral School Council is responsible for granting approval.

    • Enrolment commences upon payment of the first instalment of the annual enrolment fee: the deadline for payment of the first instalment is November 15th, while the second instalment is due March 15th.

Other Requirements and duties

The Institute provides a meaningful experience of life and study in the context of the its academic project. For this reason, the Doctoral student commits to following in the scheduled programme every year, taking part in:

  1. annual inter- and trans-disciplinary initiatives, and in particular, the “PhD Week”, which studies the method and the research activities promoted by the Doctoral School;

  2. seminars that are scheduled throughout the year on the disciplinary topics and methodology of research, according to the indicated programme.

Study plans

With the beginning of the first academic year, those who did not obtain a Master’s degree at Sophia will be expected to attend courses and pass the corresponding exams for a minimum of 30 ECTS. In some cases, the Doctoral student may be required to follow a personalized study programme, which must be completed within the first two academic years of enrolment.

  • By October 15th of the first year, the study plan must be presented to the Registrar.
  • By September 30th at the end of the first and second year, the Doctoral student is expected to submit a written status report about their research, requesting advancement to the next academic year.

Extensions for annual enrolment beyond the three-year period are allowed only twice and must be requested by April 30th for those who have not yet obtained the degree. The duration of the Doctorate is not to exceed five academic years (excluding a possible period of suspension).

Pre-discussion and final public discussion

During the third year, the Supervisor assesses the maturity of the thesis in view of the pre-discussion, and authorizes the Doctoral student to present the request. The pre-discussion Commission is convened within 30 days after 4 unbound copies of the thesis, with the Supervisor’s signature, have been submitted to the Academic Registrar.

At the end of the process, the Doctoral student must submit 6 bound printed copies of the thesis and an electronic copy to the Academic Registrar; the date of the public discussion is established for 30 days after the copies have been submitted.

The thesis should be of at least 400 thousand and no more than 600 thousand characters (including spaces), according to the standards of uniformity provided by the Institute. The assessment is expressed in terms of 100, of which 90 based on the thesis work and 10 for the discussion. Evaluation will take into account the relevance and innovativeness of the work, the specific contribution to the field of study, the research methodology and the bibliographic work produced.

The title of Doctor of research (Ph.D.) is conferred only after the thesis has been validated by the Supervisor, the Co-supervisors and the Director of the Doctoral School and has been made public in the Library of the Insititute.

Requirements -  Application Form -  Scholarships - Order of Studies 2023/2024