To be eligible you must hold a MSc degree or equivalent (at least 5 years of university studies). You may apply before graduation but you must obtain your degree before the beginning of the PhD Program. Specific requirements and documents to be submitted will be described in the call for application.

Research proposal
Normally we ask that you write a research proposal describing a three-years project having a high potential for a novel scientific contribution in one of the 4 curricula of the PhD program and more specifically in one of the research areas listed in the call for application.

A shortlist of candidates will be formed based on the submitted documents. They will be invited to interview.

Online application
A link to the application form will be available when the call for applications is posted.

Doctoral committee
It consists of the faculty members.

Supervisory committee
At the beginning of the PhD Program, the doctoral committee appoints for every PhD student a supervisory committee consisting of one or multiple tutors. The composition can be changed during the doctoral program. The tutors are responsible for supervising and monitoring the progress of the doctoral research.

Evaluation committee
The doctoral committee, on a proposal of the supervisory committee, appoints an evaluation committee for every PhD candidate, at least two months before the deadline for the submission of the PhD thesis. The evaluation committee consists of two external assessors who are not affiliated with the University of Florence and cannot be tutors of the PhD candidate. The assessors must be researchers, in universities or research institutions, with world renowned reputation on the specific research topic of the PhD candidate. The assessors are responsible for evaluating the PhD thesis.

The jury is appointed by the Chancellor of the University of Florence and is responsible for running the public defense and approving the thesis. It must consist of three members and three deputy members. It cannot include tutors of the PhD candidate.


PhD candidates are required to obtain about 45 ECTS (or equivalent) during the 3 years of the doctoral program. Credits can be acquired by attending:

  • PhD. Courses of this program or of external PhD programs, conference tutorials, PhD Schools (1 CFU every four hours);
  • Master courses (1 CFU every 8 hours). Master courses need to be authorized by the tutor and the Scientific Coordinator of the PhD program
  • Seminars organized within the PhD program (1 CFU for each seminar, typically 1 hour duration). 

Attending scientific conferences and workshops, however,  does not grant any CFU, as these are mainly considered as research activities.

Attending PhD courses officially organized outside the PhD program is allowed and encouraged. Frequency certification for these courses will be provided by a tutor of the PhD student, provided the tutor is part pf the PhD program Committee.

Since 2022/23, frequency to courses and seminars will be certified on the personal PhD booklet. For in person courses, at the end of the course each student will be responsible to collect a frequency signature. For on line courses, a participation certificate will be required and the PhD booklet will be signed by a tutor.

It is suggested that the acquired credits are approximately distributed as follows: 75% in the first year, 20% in the second and 5% in the third.

  • In addition to the curricula CFU’s,  it is also required that students obtain 6 CFU’s (corresponding to 36 hours) by following specific Soft and Complementary Skills (see the page devoted to PhD programs at unifi for information and schedules). Attendance to these courses requires registration; participation is managed and certified by UNIFI central offices:

Important news:

Starting from cycle XXXVIII (November 2022) it is required that each PhD student, within the 45 CFU’s, acquires at least 4 CFU in each of the 4 Curricula.

Progress reports

PhD candidates must submit progress reports at the end of each year within deadlines that will be communicated in time by the head of the PhD program. Reports should include:

  • A summary of research and results (min 1 page, max 3 pages)
  • A list of attended courses, seminars, tutorials, schools
  • A list of publications
  • A list of research visits to external institutions.
  • A detailed research plan for the next year (max 2 pages, only for the first and second year).

Normally, the PhD candidate illustrates each progress report with an oral presentation that can be attended by members of the doctoral committee. The supervisory committee makes a recommendation to the doctoral committee in order to allow the candidate to continue the PhD program. The recommendation must be written and signed and the outcome can be either positive or negative. The final decision on the continuation of the PhD program will be made by the doctoral committee based on the received recommendation. The supervisory committee also prepares a final report for the candidate that has completed the program. The final report is approved by the doctoral committee and is sent to the evaluation committee and to the jury for the final exam.

A template for this report is available in the PhD program internal repository.


The thesis must be written either in English or in Italian (preferably in English) and must contain original research material. The thesis must be submitted by email before the end of the third year of the PhD program to the PhD coordinator and also to the secretary. Printed copies of the PhD thesis are no more required.

Thesis templates are available in the PhD’s internal repository.


There is a preliminary evaluation of the PhD thesis carried out by the evaluation committee. Each assessor independently expresses a recommendation on the admission of the PhD candidate to the public defense which can be either:

  • positive (possibly conditional to a minor revision of the thesis);
  • negative, in case there are major problems with the thesis.

If the recommendations of the two assessors are both positive, the candidate is directly admitted to the public defense otherwise he/she is allowed to submit a substantially revised version of the thesis within six months and then a new final recommendation to the jury will be made by the assessors. The candidate is allowed to the public defense even if the final recommendation is negative though this is not recommended.


The public defense must be scheduled no later than 90 days after the jury has been appointed. It is the final act of the PhD procedure where the PhD candidate discusses the thesis in front of the jury which decides about the conferral of the PhD degree to the candidate.

Doctor Europaeus certificate

Eligible students might apply for a Doctor Europaeus certificate (see the official site of Unifi PhD’s ). In order to be eligible it is required that:
  • the defense of the PhD thesis must be carried out upon presentation of two positive evaluations of  the thesis by professors or researchers from two foreign European universities, different form the one in which the thesis is discussed;
  • at least one member of the Examination Commission must belong to an academic or research institution from a EU country different from the one in which the thesis is being discussed;
  • part of the thesis discussion must take place in one of the official languages of the European Union,  different from that of the country in which the thesis is being discussed;
  • part of the research presented in the thesis must have been carried out during a stay of at least three months in a European country other than that of the student.

Concerning this last point, it is necessary to obtain a certificate of the stay from the host institution. This document  will also be attached to the final exam report.

Eligible students are required to  send a written request for the Doctor Europaeus certificate to the College and the PhD Coordinator before the end of the PhD period. The  certificate of stay needs to be attached to the request. Every submitted request will  be analyzed and possibly approved by the PhD College.

Visits to foreign institutions
PhD students can spend periods of study and research at foreign institutions upon authorization by the Head of the PhD program for periods up to 6 months and by the doctoral committee for longer periods. Scholarships are increased by 50% during the time spent abroad (this does not apply to PhD students supported by other research assistantship contracts).

Student grants
Starting from the second year, PhD students with a fellowship are entitled a grant (ten percent of the fellowship) as a contribution towards travel expenses and registration fees for attending high quality scientific conferences or workshops or PhD courses/schools. Requests should be sent (at least three weeks before the trip) to the head of the PhD program for approval. The grant is in the form of reimbursement and expense receipts need to be handed in to the appropriate administrative office.

Delegates for administrative procedures
Travel authorizations must be requested to the head of the PhD program and to the administrative responsible