PhD Educational and Communicational Sciences

University of Milano - Bicocca

Application deadline: mid-September
Tuition fee:
  • € 595 / Year (EEA)
Start date: January  2015, January  2016
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Italian
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
Project type: Predefined
Educational Form: Academic

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* Coordinator: Porf.ssa Ottavia Albanese

This doctoral research programme aims to effectively draw together resources from multiple disciplines, using a cross-disciplinary framework while continuing to respect the independence of individual branches of knowledge. Thus, topics of key interest to the human sciences will be examined from a number of different perspectives which have contributed valuable new theoretical and operational models in recent years. Specifically, the field of education has seen the emergence of innovative theoretical and practical perspectives capable of identifying, explaining and managing the various stages of educational processes.

There has also been a greater exchange of views between pedagogy and other branches of educational science; however, there is still a risk that the diversity of approaches to theoretical research, educational processes, didactics and field research coexisting within education may lead to a lack of integration between the various areas of specialization as well as to difficulty in developing models which are sufficiently complex and permit rigorous evaluation. Similarly, the psychology of communication has been characterized by new developments regarding the acquisition of linguistic and communication competences, meaning construction and cognitive pragmatics. Much scientific interest in this area has focused on the development of new paradigms relating to intercultural communication, seen as providing the opportunity for mutual recognition, contact and exchange between individuals and groups of people from different cultural backgrounds.

Within the field of psychology, special attention has also been devoted to health topics relating both to prevention and the promotion of good health in all its forms. Finally, a further topic of current interest is personal wellbeing, seen as regarding the person as a whole and defined as happiness, which is linked to the concept of eudaimonia and to characteristics of human behaviour promoting optimism and the development of positive emotions. Particular attention has been devoted to the socialization of very young children as the basis for their subsequent harmonious development. Physical and mental disability has been another area of research with particular reference to the topic of inclusion. Other studies have focused on adult education as a requirement for realizing potential and reaching a satisfactory level of self-efficacy.

The need for valid scientific instruments to analyse the development patterns of present day organizations has led a growing number of private and public sector organizations to initiate processes of change and transformation aimed at coping with the considerable environmental and technological discontinuities characterising our time and, in general, with the increased complexity of the current socio-economic context. This context, and the consequent challenges for organizations, has evolved in line with the massive development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). On the one hand, ICT have contributed significantly to the transformation of the economic and the social contexts that organizations operate within. On the other, they provide a range of instruments which can facilitate organizational change.


Year I

The first year programme is designed to provide the PhD students with the basic training required in order to undertake postgraduate research within the social sciences and is structured as follows: 1) Epistemological Workshops (4-8 hour sessions, depending on the complexity of the topic)- Formulating a research question- Research designs - Alternative strategies for empirical research - Scientific writing- Use of data bases - Reading groups set up to review and discuss a multidisciplinary scientific debate (e.g. nativism vs. learning) 2) Methodology Courses - Data Analysis (Basic Course): 16 hours- Data Analysis (Advanced Course): 8 hours 3) Scientific English Course - Basic Course (60 hours)- Advanced Course (60 hours) 4) Individual Coaching sessions with supervisor in order to gradually identify the student´s own research questions and to initiate a comprehensive review of the relevant specialist literature. 5) Group Session at the end of Year I in which research proposals are presented to, and discussed with, an Advisory Panel. 1:1 sessions in Year I will be a relatively limited component of course work (around 40 hours)

Year II

The second year programme is principally devoted to developing participants´ knowledge of key thematic areas and contents pertaining to the different scientific disciplines and is made up of the following activities : 1) Seminars with guest lecturers. There will be a schedule of seminars taking place on a monthly basis and Supervisors/Curriculum Leaders will identify the seminars of interest to each particular disciplinary field and advise the doctoral students and the Programme Director accordingly 2) Courses or lectures devoted to major scientific paradigms and perspectives; these may also take place in other universities with which exchange agreements are in place. 3) Individual study under the guidance of the supervisor (e.g. identification of thematic bibliographies relating to the different disciplines and group sessions with the interested doctoral students) 4) Individual Coaching sessions with supervisor in order to refine the student´s own research proposal and to produce a position paper 5) Group Session at the end of Year II in which position papers are presented to, and discussed with, an Advisory Panel. 1:1 sessions in Year II will be a more significant component of course work (around 80 hours)

Year III

The third year is primarily devoted to carrying out the empirical research which will form the basis for the doctoral thesis. The course work will therefore mainly consist of an intense 1:1 exchange between supervisor and doctoral student, culminating in the presentation of the thesis and the final examination. In any case, first, second and third year doctoral students are free to attend all the training activities made available in a given year as well as having continued access to the relevant communication platforms (e.g. PhD web pages).


Admissions are open to anyone with one or more of the following academic qualifications:

* Italian Post-Graduate (Masters) degree
* Italian 4-year or 5-year single cycle degree
* Equivalent degree taken abroad

Students enrolled in a PhD course may not be simultaneously enrolled in any other university course.

Students holding a doctoral degree and taking another doctoral degree course may accept more than one scholarship.

Doctoral degree applicants who have not yet graduated from their previous degree must take that degree by the date of the first doctoral admissions test.


General information

All doctoral courses have scholarships available for half the number of students admitted.

Doctoral scholarships have been established at 13.638,47 per year.

Doctoral scholarships are not exclusive and can be combined with other income as long as the recipients total income does not exceed 15.000,00 in any calendar year.

Doctoral scholarships are not subject to IRPEF taxes.

Upon enrolment, doctoral students will receive a form to fill out concerning scholarship payment information (bank account number, etc.). This must be brought to the Scholarship office or sent by fax to: 0039 02 6448 6789.

Scholarships start at the beginning of the semester teaching schedule (November 1st or January 1st) and are paid in monthly installments.

Note: Scholarship payment for the first year depends on the beginning of the semester teaching schedule and on completion of administrative procedures to activate the scholarship.

Enrolment in INPS (Workers's pension fund)

Doctoral scholarships must include a deduction of 25.72% for the pension fund, which will be taken out directly from the university to INPS.

The portion paid by the student is 8.57% unless the student is also obliged to pay into other forms of insurance (such as that for a professional guild) in which case the students INPS deduction is reduced.

Doctoral students should open an INPS account by filling out a "Gestione separata dei Lavoratori Autonomi" form available at any INPS office in Italy.

Guide to Filling in the INPS Form:

Heading / What to write

Dottorando / Your name and Italian tax code (codice fiscale)

Decorrenza / Date the scholarship starts (November 1st or January 1st)

Attività / Dottorato di ricerca

Albo professionale / Fill in only if you belong to a professional guild

Committente 1 / Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

Sede / Piazza dellAteneo Nuovo, 1 - 20126 Milano

C.F. Università 12621570154

Raise in scholarship for research abroad

When doctoral students go abroad to do research, they receive a 50% raise in their doctoral scholarships.

The request form for a raise in scholarship for research abroad can be downloaded from the internet or picked up at Booth 18 of Student Services. The form must be handed back in to the Booth 18 before the start of the research abroad period and must be authorized by the coordinator or (for periods of over 6 months) by the Board of Professors.

Periodically, the students tutor abroad will send attendance records to the Italian Office of Self-Employment.

The raise in scholarship will be paid on the 24th of the 1st month abroad, separate from the normal monthly payment.

Students can receive reimbursement for train or airline travel costs from endowments to the doctoral program.

Scholarship revocation

Doctoral scholarships will be revoked in the following cases:

* the students income exceeds 15.000,00 gross in the same calendar year in which the scholarship is granted.
* incompatibility with other scholarships

In these cases, the entire amount of the scholarship is revoked and the student must pay tuition for that academic year.

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