Practical Info

1st Year – Instructions for Use (November 2023)


For regulations, refer to the University information and contacts for PhD students ( and the Department website pages (, in which you may find a lot of information (especially in the downloadable brochure).


1. English Language

The official language of the course is English. Every official document must therefore be in English as well as all the documents (project, reports) and all the presentations you will make. In the first year there is a mandatory English course organized by the University, for which you will be contacted by the University Language Center and which you will have to follow. During the second year you will have to attend a further English course more focused on scientific aspects, which is also mandatory.


2. Representatives of PhD students in the Doctorate Board

Two PhD students are members of the Doctorate Board. Elections are held in January, every two years. Elections are held in early November, every two years. It is advisable that the representatives are elected from among the first- or second-year doctoral students, so that the seats in the board do not remain vacant, but you are always represented.


3. Funds

Funds are made available to the PhD student (around €1600 per year, but the amount may vary each year), the so-called “10% contribution”, made available by the University or by the Department or by the Supervisors (depending on the type of grant).

These funds can be used exclusively for reimbursement of missions and participation in conferences and for buying consumables (reagents, etc.) necessary for carrying out the thesis work. Any expenditure on these funds must be authorized by the coordinator.

Funds can be cumulated in subsequent years. For any information on funds, write to (not to the coordinator).

If you want to attend a conference, or if you want to go to pick up material, make notes, acquire new laboratory protocols, or go abroad (see later), you must first request authorization for the mission (see next point).

If you need to buy consumables, you also need to be first authorized by the coordinator. For the forms to be used, ask your supervisor: the forms to fill out are the same as those she/he uses and the procedure is the same, except that neither you nor your supervisor sign the order and the attachments, but send them to for adding coordinator’s sign and the fund code.


4. Missions

Each mission requiring reimbursement charged on Doctoral funds must be authorized by the Coordinator and then by the Director of the Department.

Missions for which no reimbursement is charged on doctoral funds are to be signed by the fund owner, not by the PhD Coordinator.

The request for authorization of the mission must be made through the university portal ( fuori-sede/) where you can find all instructions, at least five days before the scheduled mission date. In case you do not know the fund on which to request the refund, you can indicate the requested amount as 0 (zero) in order to send the request (the refund will follow anyway). The portal will send the request to the coordinator of the PhD course and the director of the Department for final approval.

In the case of particularly heavy duty missions and / or registration fees, you can apply for a refund advance or issue an order for registration by the DiSAAA Administrative Secretariat. In this case, the request must arrive together with the application form and at least 1 month before the date of departure together with the data of the institution to which the fee is to be paid (company name, full address, telephone / email address, VAT number, IBAN) .

Before leaving, PhD students must check that the mission has been authorized.

Once the mission has been completed, you can apply for reimbursement of expenses, online. In any case, it is necessary to deliver the following documentation, in original:

  • Receipt of lunches and overnight stays;
  • tickets and boarding passes;
  • attestation of attendance at the congress, course etc .; alternatively, a copy of the invitation letter from the person who organized the

For the type of eligible expenses and for which documents (tax receipts, receipts) to attach, keep in mind that if the cost is not documented the right way, you will not be refunded… The PhD student must first speak with her/his supervisor, or with the Departmental administrative office in the case of doubts regarding the type of expense to attach to the request for advance or refund.

It is advisable to keep a photocopy of the documents submitted with the refund request. The refund request must be sent to the office within 30 days of the end of the mission.

For the maximum daily allowance for housing and lodging expenses, and other information on off-site missions, please read the UNIPI rules carefully.


5. Stage abroad

It is strongly recommended that the PhD student, obviously in agreement with her/his supervisor, which will help her/him in the operation and will have to countersign the request, do a stage abroad during the PhD programme. We recommend an internship of at least 4 months, preferably during the second year. PhD students with a scholarship are entitled to a scholarship increase and also may have a contribution to travel expenses (by submitting a request for a mission in advance). Find all the rules on the University website.

In any case, the internship abroad must be authorized by the PhD Board, so you must apply at least one month in advance to the coordinator, by presenting a letter of acceptance from the foreign university/institution and indicating the start and end dates of the internship, research institution, name of the local supervisor, a brief motivation of the stage (two lines). The supervisor has to agree, so when you send me the request put the supervisor address on cc.


6. Stage in a company

The PhD student who, in relation to her/his type of scholarship, must compulsorily carry out a stage in a company, must also be authorized by the PhD Board for this purpose, and must therefore make a request to the coordinator at least one month before, presenting a letter of acceptance from the company and indicating the start and end dates of the internship, name of the company, name of the local supervisor, a brief motivation for the internship (two lines). The supervisor must agree, so when you send me the request, cc the supervisor.


7. Publications

For admission to the final exam, the PhD student must have published at least one paper on the topic of the thesis in international indexed journals over the three years.


8. Final Examination

The instructions for the final examination will be announced at the beginning of the third year, as the rules are often subject to unexpected changes…


9. European doctorate

Under certain conditions, at the end of the course, you may apply for a European  qualification for your PhD title. The rules are listed on the University website.


10. “Active” didactic activity

If you are interested and your supervisor agrees, it is expected that you can do a maximum of thirty hours of “active” teaching activity, i.e., as subsidiary teachers (seminars, assistance with exercises): this activity must in any case be authorized by the PhD Board.



Mid December: Presentation to the Board of your research project (about 10 minutes, with a ppt), which must be agreed with the supervisor. The project must be written in English (see template in doc format, attached) and sent to the coordinator at least 4-5 days before the Board meeting. The project will be approved or changes will be requested. During the meeting you will also be officially appointed the two supervisors.

December-June: you will have to follow some courses organized by the University for all PhD students (the so- called transversal didactic activity). Such courses (including that of English, mandatory) generally take place during the first part of the first year. You should be contacted by the university offices for registration and dates, however it is always advisable to frequently check the university website to avoid the risk of not attending a course (see the attached brochure, where you will also find the site to consult regularly). Our PhD course also organizes a course in Statistics and a course on “Publishing in international journals”, which are compulsory, of which you will be advised by the teachers. During the year there will be seminars and small courses (compulsory or not) of which you will be warned. If you consider it necessary with the supervisor, you can also follow specific master’s degree courses to fill some gaps you think you have.

During the second year you will have to take a further English course more focused on scientific aspects, which is also mandatory, and for which you will be contacted by the University Language Centre.


End October: presentation of the annual report on your activity (including the didactic activity carried out and a short program for the following year – using the same file of the project), according to the template already used for the project, with attached supervisor and opponent reports. Your report will be illustrated by a ppt (see template) at a board meeting attended by all PhD students (I, II and III year) to present their activity.

Based on the report and the presentation, the PhD Board decides on your admission to the following year (in case of negative judgment the student leaves the doctorate).


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