The PhD School in Physics, Astrophysics, and Applied Physics (from now on, the PhD school) is run by a consortium including the Department of Physics (FIS) and the Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine (BIOMETRA) of the University of Milan. The smooth running of the PhD school is responsibility of a director (Roberta Vecchi), a secretary (Andrea Zanzani), a school board (GD-Giunta del Dottorato) made of seven faculty members (see the full list at http://phd.fisica.unimi.it/organization/boards/) and a school council (CD – Collegio dei Docenti del dottorato, see the full list at http://phd.fisica.unimi.it/organization/boards/) made of about eighty faculty members plus the students’ representatives.
For administrative matter (including enrolling and bursary) the main contact is the welcome desk – (Infostudenti) office of UniMI, see details at https://www.unimi.it/en/study/student-services/welcome-desk-infostudenti.
Student’s basic duties
Each student is expected to choose his/her research activity and a supervisor within the first three months. The student, in agreement with his/her supervisor, may also indicate a co-supervisor.
Each student should attend courses for at least 12 credits (CFU), chosen among those offered by any PhD school of UniMI (see the full list PhD courses at https://www.unimi.it/en/education/postgraduate-programmes/doctoral-programmes-phd/phd-courses-list). Students may also attend additional courses of their choice. Their validity to achieve the mandatory 12 CFU is subject to approval from the CD. The deadline to take exams is February of the second year.
Additionally, it is mandatory for each student:
- to attend an international summer or winter school, and then deliver a seminar on the topics of the school;
- to follow the courses offered by UniMI about soft and transversal skills;
- to attend the physics colloquia organized by the PhD school.
At the end of each year, students should give a public seminar about their activity. Seminars of the first-year students are grouped in the form of a workshop, where each student gives an introductory talk about their thesis topic, illustrating why that particular topic is interesting and worthy of research.
All seminars must be communicated to the secretariat for a proper organization and advertisement.
Study plan and role of the CD
Soon after the start of the PhD, each student is expected to present a study plan consisting of:
1. supervisor form with the topic of the research, signed by his/her supervisor and including the name of any co-supervisor;
2. a doctorate program with a title and a description (at least 300 words);
3. a list of the courses that he/she intends to attend (and take the examination).
This study plan must be presented to the PhD school secretariat usually within the second month of the first year and will be approved by the CD. The summer/winter school may be selected at a later stage, in order to allow for an informed choice.
At the end of each academic year, the CD is called to assess the students’ activity. In case of a positive assessment, the student is admitted to the next year. After a positive third year assessment, the student is admitted to the final examination to obtain the degree of Ph.Doctor.
The commitment of the student and the supervisor, i.e. the overall aims and scopes of the PhD program as well as of the thesis and the final discussion are briefly described in an accompanying document (Aims and Scopes).
Together with the mandatory 12 CFU that should be earned following PhD courses, each student is expected to earn 60 credits per year engaging in different activities (nominally corresponding to 1600 hours per year). Achieving the credits is a prerequisite for the admission to the next year.
Students earning more than 180 credits may ask for a “Diploma supplement”, summarizing the full list of activities in which he/she engaged during the PhD. Credits can be obtained by:
1. courses and related examinations;
2. certified attendance of a course;
3. attendance of Physics colloquia;
4. participation to summer schools and/or conferences;
5. presentations to conferences (poster and talks);
6. internship in external labs or companies;
7. seminars given by the student;
8. publication of papers, patents, internal reports;
9. research activity and thesis preparation (as certified by the supervisor);
The credits are assigned as follows:
1. by passing the exams of the mandatory courses. For external courses the approval of the PhD school council is needed;
2. by attending courses (in case the exam is not taken), following teacher’s certification: 0.5 CFU/5 hours of the course;
3. by attending the Physics colloquia (or other department seminars): 0.2 credits;
4. by attending schools and/or conferences: as a rule of thumb a one-week event is worth 6 CFU. Upon return, the student is expected to give a public seminar about the school topics and the supervisor should be present at the seminar;
5. by presenting talks or posters to conferences and workshops: 3 credits for each poster presentation, 5 credits for each talk, the number of CFUs is validated by the supervisor;
6. by spending time working in external labs or companies: 6 credits per month;
7. by delivering seminars: 2 credits per seminar;
8. by publishing papers: 6 credits per publication;
9. by the annual assessment by the supervisor about the overall student performance in terms of: interest, commitment, zeal, competence, creativity, independence, analytical, numerical or experimental skills, strategic vision, open-mindedness, performance and productivity, communication and writing skills, interaction with the supervisor and/or the research group, collaboration and networking, travel, conference and visiting activities.
The maximum number of credits assigned by the supervisor are: 45 credits for the 1st year, 49 credits for the 2nd year, 57 credits for the 3rd year. If the performance is considered below minimum standards, the credits are not granted, and the student is not admitted to the following year.
Mandatory credits are validated by the PhD school secretariat. All the others are initially validated by the supervisor. The e-booklets are then checked by the GD and finally validated after the approval of the CD.
Mandatory credits include:1. PhD courses (12 CFU); 2. The full set of the Physics colloquia (6 x 3 x 0.2 = 3.6 CFU); 3. The end-year seminars (3 x 2 = 6 CFU); 5. At least one school (6 CFU).
1. The student must choose his/her research topic and attend specialized courses. The study plan must be presented within the second month and must be approved by the CD;
2. he/she must give a seminar on his/her research plan in the PhD workshop (usually during the 3rd week of September);
3. he/she must fill all the records in the e-booklet before Sep. 15th;
4. he/she may participate in an international summer or winter school and give a seminar on the school topics;
5. at the end of the year the CD, together with the supervisor, decides whether to pass or fail the student. If the CD decides to pass the student, he/she may be granted the fellowship for the subsequent year.
1. The student must pass the course examinations by February;
2. he/she must give an end-year seminar on his/her research. The seminar is public and the title/venue should be communicated to the secretariat at least 10 days before so that it can be published on the PhD web site;
3. he/she must fill in all the records in the e-booklet before Sep. 15th;
4. he/she may participate to an international summer or winter school and give a seminar on the school topic;
5. at the end of the year, the CD, together with the supervisor, decides whether to pass or fail the student. If the CD decides to pass the student, he/she may be granted the fellowship for the subsequent year.
1. The student must give an end-year seminar on his/her research. The seminar is public and the title/venue should be communicated to the secretariat at least 10 days before so that it can be published on the PhD web site;
2. if he/she has not done so during the previous years, he/she must participate to an international summer or winter school and give a seminar on the school topic within the first week of September of the 3rd year;
3. the student & supervisor suggest two referees for the thesis before June of the 3rd year;
4. the student & supervisor make a suggestion for members of the final exam committee by Sep. 15th of the 3rd year;
5. the student must fill in all the records in the e-booklet before Sep. 15th of the 3rd year;
6. At the end of the year the CD, together with the supervisor, decides whether to pass or fail the student. If the CD decides to pass the student, he/she may defend his/her thesis in the PhD final exam;
7. the student submits a draft thesis to the referees. The deadline for the submission of the draft thesis draft depends on the date of the final exam. At the end of the 3rd year the student is provided with a set of possible dates for the defense with the associate deadlines;
8. he/she sends the electronic version of the final thesis at least 20 days before the date of the PhD final exam to the final exam committee members;
9. the PhD final exam is taken between November and January.
N.B. In case of co-tutoring or international PhD school the rules will be adjusted according to the requirements of the partner institutions.
Students may have teaching contracts (up to 50 hours per year). Approval by the PhD school council is needed.