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The PhD Structure

The duration of the programme is three years: the first year is mainly dedicated to course work; the second and the third years to research. The PhD degree is jointly awarded by the University of Milan and the University of Pavia after completion and defence of an original thesis which must provide a significant contribution to the development of knowledge in Economics.

The programme requires full time engagement: students must attend PhD courses and participate in all PhD activities. They must carry out their research at the University of Milan, at the University of Pavia or at a foreign institution during their period of study abroad.

Full Funding
Full financial support is granted to admitted students; there are no tuition costs and students receive a scholarship for the first three years of study. Additional funding is available to support participation to summer schools, workshops and conferences.We also offer a top up on the scholarship for students in the study abroad period.



A Tutor/Advisor working in your area of research interests will be identified at the beginning of your PhD programme. The Tutor will be your primary contact for any academic issue regarding the PhD program, will monitor your progresses, and will support you in your research activity.
In the first year students receive a rigorous training in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics. Three or four courses, of about 20 hours each, are usually offered in each area.

Additionally, students must prepare a research project.

  • Getting started with research: the research project

The research project should identify one or more issues to be addressed, and be motivated by a short survey of the literature; the project proposal should include a statement of research objectives, and a research strategy. Students receive guidance on the research project preparation from their Tutor. At the end of the first year, students present their projects to the PhD Faculty and fellow students, and submit a short written report of their research activity and results.

  • Getting started with research: additional resources

Each PhD student is endowed with a research budget, i.e. with research funds of approxi-mately €1650,00. You can use these funds to purchase datasets and software, to participate in summer schools, conferences and workshop conditional on prior approval by your thesis advisor (and the Director).

Admission to the second year is conditional on exam performance as well as on presentation of a satisfactory research project



In the second year students attend field courses, preferably in the first term (September-December).
Meanwhile, they start working on a first research paper under the supervision of their thesis advisor. The paper, which must have the potential to satisfy the requirements of a thesis chapter, will be presented at the end of the year to the PhD Faculty and fellow students. Students also submit a short report on their research activity and results.

  • Getting on with research: study abroad

After completing second-year courses, students can spend a period of study abroad at a foreign university or research institution. Additional funding is available for this activity.

Admission to the third year is conditional on passing all second-year courses and on writing an original research paper that is positively evaluated by the PhD Faculty. The paper can be in the form of a preliminary draft but should clearly state the research objectives, include a literature review, and provide original results.



During the third year, students have to complete their PhD thesis under the supervision of their advisor.

  • Getting on with research: workshops and conferences

Students who did not take advantage this opportunity in the second year can spend a period of study abroad at a foreign university or research institution. Students are also encouraged to present their results at international conferences and workshops.

At the end of the year, the thesis is presented in an open seminar to the PhD Faculty and fellow students. Then, it is sent to two external referees who provide a formal written assessment. After addressing the reviewers comments, students are admitted to the final discussion of their thesis.



The thesis generally consists of a brief introduction and two chapters. Essays on different topics within the same field are acceptable. The two chapters must provide original contributions to the development of knowledge, i.e. new theoretical and/or empirical results in the chosen research field. The thesis chapters should be in the form of original papers publishable on international scientific journals with peer review. At least one of the two chapters should be single-authored by the PhD candidate

The thesis has to be publicly defended in front of a Committee of three members (two of whom must be external) who are selected by the PhD Faculty among experts in the field of the dissertation. The PhD in Economics is awarded upon approval of the thesis by the Committee.


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