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PhD requirements and regulations

Program Requirements

The completion of the PhD program and the admission to the final defense/exam are subject to the fulfilment of the criteria described in this section. The students are asked to read it carefully.

The full program contains the following educational modules:

  • Coursework
  • “Colloquium on Ethics, Politics, and Society”, Other seminars/conferences
  • Period of Study Abroad
  • Qualifying Seminar
  • Research seminar
  • Thesis supervision
  • Final Dissertation 
  • PhD Tutorship
  • Responsibilities of PhD students 

1. Coursework

The coursework of our program is one year long, and includes three terms of instruction:

  • I term: October-December
  • II term: January-March
  • III term: April-June

Students enrolled in the first year of the program are required to complete the workload on duly time, attending and passing the term courses during the first year (3-4 courses per term). All the courses are taught in English.

  • Course attendance: Course attendance is mandatory. If a student skips 20% of a course, he/she will not pass the course. In this case, it is possible to attend the same course - or any other considered analogous by the instructor of the failed course - in the following academic years. Any further solution can be considered - case by case- by the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti).
  • Evaluation: by the end of the first academic year, students are required to prepare a paper (5000 words) for each of the courses they have attended.

The term papers will be evaluated on a letter-based grade. According to instructors’ decision, course attendance can be evaluated in different ways (presentations, homework, etc.). In general, each course will be evaluated in the academic transcripts of the PhD candidates and the instructors are free to decide about the evaluation system (whether passed-failed or letter-based).

2. Colloquium on Ethics, Politics, and Society and other seminars/conferences  

Attendance is compulsory for all first-year students and those who are not spending a research period abroad in agreement with Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti).

  • Colloquium: The colloquium attendance list will be circulated at the beginning of each meeting. The first year students will be allowed to miss only one meeting a year. For any further absence, the student is asked to motivate with a certificate (health or personal reasons) which will be evaluated by the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti). Third-year students may be asked to take part to the Colloquium as young discussants.
  • Conferences and Seminars: the involvement of the students in the academic conferences and seminars organized by both the CEGP and the Department of Political Science is considered as a part of the student’s activity. Students might be asked to cooperate in the organization of and to participate (as discussants or young speakers) in such activities. However, the attendance to these events for those who are in Rome is always compulsory.

3.  Study abroad or internship period

Students are encouraged to spend a research period abroad starting from the second academic year.

Proposals regarding this matter must be discussed with the dissertation supervisor and formally addressed to the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti). Proposals must include a detailed description of the host institution, including the research goals of the fellowship, and the proposed length of the fellowship. In the end of the fellowship, students must provide a document stating the research activities and the results of the fellowship which has to be signed by the co-supervisor at the host institution.

Granted students may ask for an allowance to support their fellowship. Such an allowance cannot exceed the 50% of the monthly scholarship. Applications for the allowance must be addressed to the Board of the Professors (Collegio dei Docenti) along with the fellowship proposal.

In any case, the allowance will be funded only after the fellowship.

For further details, please see also the Call for Application (Bando di Concorso) and the Rules of the University (Regolamento Dottorati di Ricerca).

The period of research abroad can be substituted with a period of one year of research and collaboration -in the form of an internship or any sort of certified collaboration- at the CEGP or at any other relevant research institution at LUISS (other research centers or the School of Government). 

4. Qualifying seminar

The Qualifying Seminar constitutes an important occasion for the students to present their works and confront with other students and faculty members. The QS is organized every year and it is structured as a small student conference.

Faculty members will discuss the proposals and the papers and will give their evaluation (passed-failed). In case of failure, the supervisor is asked to report and discuss the situation at the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti).

Qualifying seminar guidelines:

Each student has to present her/his research project (max. 20 pages) in 20 minutes. The presentation is followed by 40 minutes of discussion. Each presentation has to include:

  1. Research question,
  2. State of the Art (Literature),
  3. Methodology,
  4. Research objective/s,
  5. Expected impact and relevance for the academic community,
  6. Bibliography

5. Research seminars

It is a seminar in which second- and third-year students present their research (mainly chapters of their dissertations). There will be a three hour seminar every three weeks. Each student will present his/her work for 20 minutes. Then, 70 minutes of discussion will follow. There will be two research seminars: one for the PS students, and one for the PT students.

6. Thesis supervision

At the beginning of the first year, the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti) assigns the supervisions to the faculty members, taking into account the research proposals and availability of the instructors. The supervisor is assumed to be responsible for the advancement of the research of the student. In special cases, the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti) may agree on a co-supervision or the substitution of the supervisor – when all the stakeholders (student, former supervisor and new supervisor) agree so.

Before the end of the first year, students have to submit, at least, one chapter of the dissertation along with a structured research proposal. Special arrangements will be made on the basis of the decision of the supervisor and under his/her responsibility.

7. Final Dissertation

Students are asked to undertake a high quality research work in the form of a final dissertation. The dissertation should follow the guidelines provided by both the supervisor and the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti).

The final version of the dissertation, once accepted by both the supervisor and the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti), will be defended before the Dissertation Committee that is appointed by the Board of Professors (Collegio dei Docenti). In the two months before the official defence a less formal seminar may be organized.

The length of the whole dissertation cannot be less than 45,000 words. Bibliography will not count towards the minimum length requirement.

The official dissertation defense takes place usually at the end of the third year. For further details, please see also the Call for Application (Bando di Concorso) and the Rules of the University (Regolamento Dottorati di Ricerca).

Final Dissertation guidelines

The PhD degree is obtained at the end of the doctoral program and it is awarded after the research thesis has been discussed and judged as a valid contribution to the advancement of knowledge or methodologies in the relevant field of study.

The thesis is examined by at least two highly qualified professors, even belonging to foreign institutions, different from those individuals who have contributed to issue the PhD degree, hereafter called examiners.

The examiners are nominated by the Academic Board, eventually also if proposed by the doctoral student who collaborates with professors from another University (in any case different from those individuals who have contributed to issue the PhD degree), during the last year of the doctorate.

After drafting the thesis, and in any case right after the end of the three years of the doctoral program, every doctoral student must submit his or her work to the Academic Board which, in approving it, prepares an evaluation form on the activities carried out during the doctoral program.

The doctoral thesis, which is submitted in its final version in electronic form, and supplied with an abstract (no more than 1500 characters) in English language, is written in the English language or may be written in another language prior to the approval of the Academic Board.

The thesis must be submitted to the Doctoral Office by the deadlines established each time by the Academic Board and communicated to the students by the Doctoral Office.

The student must attach to the thesis a report of the activities carried out during the doctoral program and of the publications, if any.

The Doctoral Office will be in charge of transmitting the thesis to the two examiners, along with a specific evaluation form.

The examiners must express, within two months from receiving the thesis, a written analytical judgement on it, which will be integral part of the final memorandum, and propose either its admission to public discussion or its postponement for a period of no more than six months, if they believe that significant integrations or corrections are necessary. After this period, the thesis will in any case be admitted to public discussion, along with a new written opinion from the examiners, in light of the corrections or integrations made, which will be integral part of the final memorandum.

The public discussion of the thesis is held, even individually for each candidate, normally between March and June following the end of the academic years of the doctoral cycle or, in case the examiners request significant integrations or corrections, between the following months of September and December.

The public discussion takes place in front of a Commission, composed of at least three professors or experts (eventually including the two examiners and no more than one member of the Academic Board), appointed by decree of the Rector of LUISS Guido Carli, having heard the Academic Board.

After receiving the evaluation forms from the examiners, the Doctoral Office will transmit the thesis to the members of the Commission.

The Commission, to judge the candidate, will consider:
  1. the thesis;
  2. the two evaluation forms filled in by the examiners;
  3. the evaluation form prepared by the Academic Board;
  4. the report of the candidate on the activities carried out during the doctoral program and of the publications, if any. 

According to art. 19 of law no. 240 of year 2010, the title of Research Doctor is abbreviated by Ph.D. and is issued by the rector of the university. 

Within thirty days after the discussion and approval of the thesis, the university files a copy of the final version of the thesis, in electronic format, with the databank of the ministry and with the University's open access institutional repository, which stores the work and allows public access to it. The university will arrange for the thesis to be filed with the national libraries in Rome and Florence as required by law. 

Prior to the authorization of the Academic Board, some parts of the thesis related to the use of data covered by industrial secret, may be made unavailable, according to the regulation in force. 

8. PhD Tutorship

During the whole period of the PhD program a young researcher will be dedicated to the executive coordination of the PhD in support of the vice-coordinator and the coordinator of the program. His main responsibilities are:

  • inform students about the courses schedule for each term
  • send course syllabus to all students
  • be the contact person between the PhD Committee and the students
  • inform students about seminars and about the presence in LUISS of vising researchers and professors

9. Responsibilities of PhD students 

According to the LUISS University PhD regulations (article 20), ‘[A]dmission to a doctoral program entails an exclusive and full-time commitment in line with what is specified in the plan for the research doctorate program concerned. Enrolled students must attend doctoral courses and activities and continuously undertake study and research within the context of the facilities intended for such purposes and in the manner established by the academic board.’

Specifically, students are responsible for:
  • Developing the research proposal and sharing it with supervisor/s;
  • Discussing with the supervisor/s the type of guidance and comment which will be most helpful, and agreeing upon a schedule of meetings;
  • Keeping a record of supervisory meetings;
  • Maintaining the progress of work in accordance with
the milestones as agreed with the supervisor, and in particular the timely submission of written work to allow for comments;
  • Being aware of the LUISS Codes of Ethics and observing the principles contained therein.

Program contacts

LUISS Doctoral Office

LUISS Doctoral Office supports and supplies PhD Students with all the information they need from the enrolment throughout their academic career.

Doctoral Office

Viale Romania 32
T: 06 85225997-716 

Opening hours

Mon and Wed: 10:00 a.m.- noon
Tues and Thurs: 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.