Didactic regulation of the PhD School in Engineering Science

PhD students’ activities regulation


The need for a regulation of the activities of PhD students comes from the need to coordinate many curricula, in order to provide the PhD students educational training to reach an adequate scientific maturity and autonomy, to actively contribute to research both inside and outside university.
Therefore, keeping in mind the respect for cultural and scientific differences and the natural dynamics of the school, it becomes necessary to standardize the approach to courses through the curricula, fixing the minimum requisites relative to the PhD students’ work to guarantee, thanks to a few clear and easy rules, a minimum, but appropriate level of scientific quality and an equality of judgement between PhD students of different curricula.
Another goal is to recognize and to show the value and the amount of work that the teaching staff of the faculty does in relation to the PhD school, committing to the teaching activity and the tutoring of students.


PhD students’ activities – General considerations

Similarly to bachelor and master degrees, the activity of a PhD student of the PhD research school will be based on formative credits, even though they are not to be mistaken with traditional CFU (University formative credits, as deliberated by CUN, 16/09/04). The CFU will be considered as the measurement unit of the work of the PhD student, to be able to compare the different curricula. To obtain the PhD degree, a work of 180 CFU will be necessary, equally divided in three years and appropriately divided in different activities. Relatively to common requisites, as explained below, the activities can be different for every PhD student based on specific needs and will be defined by the curriculum faculty council. The activities, and the relative quantification in terms of CFU, can also be changed during the year (to take into account the dynamic of events like participation to national and international schools, congresses, seminars, workshops, stages).

Activity type

The activity of every educational training should be oriented to provide to every Phd student a specific preparation but in the perspective of a multidisciplinary course, coming from the different research areas active inside the school.
The study and research programs should provide educational trainings that include both studying activities in common with all scientific areas and specific activities related to the specific scientific area of the PhD thesis. In particular, the activity of every educational training, defined by the curriculum faculty council, will consist of:

  • Attendance to basic courses or common to various scientific areas (Type A1 CFU): to promote an enrichment of basic knowledge, to allow a multidisciplinary approach to engineering applications, to complete the students’ preparation; these courses can be found in our faculty or in others;
  • Attendance to specific courses related to the chosen research activity (Type A2 CFU): to provide specific knowledge for the development of the field of research of the PhD; in this case courses will be found in the list of courses specific for each PhD curriculum;
  • Attendance to post-degree courses of the specific scientific area chosen for the PhD thesis (Type B CFU): to direct and organize the research, providing for each theme, the state of art, methodology and perspectives; they will consist of classes, seminars and laboratory
  • exercises. The corresponding CFU to this activity can be obtained through courses, seminars and the participation to national and international PhD schools;
  • Orientative and educational activities on different fields of research (type C CFU): to offer a chance to discuss with national and international researchers of the same field and to test to an industrial level knowledge and scientific methodology, this activity can be obtained through workshops, congresses, stages in factories or external agencies affiliated with the PhD school;
  • Scientific - methodological activities (Type D CFU): to offer a chance to discuss issues related to the field of research; this activity takes place inside each Department, through brainstorming and regular meetings that every student and teacher will attend;
  • Research activity on the chosen subject for the PhD thesis (Type E CFU): this activity will be carried out with individual study, bibliographical research, laboratory activity and it will be focused on new ways to solve problems related to the chosen research;
  • Educational support activities to courses in bachelor and master degrees (Type F CFU);
  • Paper drafting and final exam (Type G CFU).


Monitoring and assessment of activities

At the beginning of each school year, each student will have to present a study plan, in accordance with the attached facsimile. The plan, which will be approved by the School council, can be presented each year or it can cover the entire three years, with the possibility to edit it annually.
For each course year, each student will have to fill in a register each month, where he will summarize the performed activities (see the summary scheme of monthly activities reported below).
This register will be an integral part of the material that each student will have to present to the School council for the annual verification.
Attendance to courses will be certified by a certificate of attendance. The preparation level of the students can be evaluated either by the course professor, by the academic tutor of the student or by means of an elaborate relative to a topic agreed with the course professor or with the academic tutor.
The verification of other kind of activities is left to the academic tutor, which will have to countersign the activities register

Monthly summary of activities
(compilare solo le caselle che interessano)
month ......................................... from ..........................to ............................
Activity type
Hours (CFU)
Brief description of actity

A1+A2 (attendance to institutional courses and related study



B (attendance to courses, seminars, doctoral schools and related

study activities)

C (partecipation to workshop, congresses and related activities
D (scientific-methodological activity)
E (research) 
F (didactic support)
G (thesis and final exam)

Structured didactic activity and periodical verifications

The wide range of PhD students that are admitted to the school makes it impossible to uniquely quantify didactic activity; as an alternative it is appropriate to determine reference intervals to organize the students’ work. The reasons for a mandatory didactic activity, even for those students that already have specific knowledge in their research field, can be summarized as: a) acquisition of analysis methodologies and\or physical knowledge useful for solving engineering problems; b) broadening of scientific knowledge in similar scientific sectors; c) improving interdisciplinary approach; d) exchange of scientific knowledge with PhD students of other curricula.

It is also necessary to set a maximum amount of activities, since PhD students have to be an active part of the research process, in line with the CUN statement “.. PhD didactics should not exceed 15-20% of the overall commitment, for the most part concentrated in the first year ” and “.. the PhD program has to prepare to research through research”.

The didactic activity and the verifications of the PhD students’ work can be synthesized as follows:

  • Year I- the first year is mostly dedicated to widening cultural basis and to orientation. Therefore, in accordance with the Curriculum Teachers Council, each PhD student will attend courses of bachelor\master degrees and\or specific PhD courses (type A1 and A2 activities). Moreover, the participation to seminars, schools and congresses (type B activities) relative to the research field of interest will be encouraged, and the research activity will start. Didactic activities of type A1 and A2 should not be less than 9CFU and not more than 30CFU, a part of which (at least 3CFU) will be reserved for basic subjects.
  • Admission to year II: presentation of the register of monthly activities, countersigned by the tutor. Oral presentation to the Curriculum Teachers Council of the activities from which is inferred participation to the scheduled courses, attendance to laboratories, the scope and purposes in which the research activity is framed, and the activities planned for the second year.
  • Year II: the second year is about defining the specific subject of research for each PhD student (if it was not already defined during the first year) and the achievement of preliminary results. The didactic activity (type A1 and A2) could be absent and in any case not higher than 6CFU.
  • Admission to year 3: presentation of the register of monthly activities, countersigned by the tutor. Presentation, through a scientific article, of the performed activities and of the possible preliminary results. Oral presentation to the Curriculum Teachers Council, of the activities from which is inferred participation to the scheduled courses, attendance to laboratories, the possibility that the activity may result in publications in international journals with reviewers, and the activities planned for the second year.
  • Year III: The third year is totally dedicated to the development of the research and of the PhD thesis. The didactic activities (type A1 and A2) should be absent and in any case not higher than 3CFU.
  • Admission to the final exam: presentation of the register of monthly activities, countersigned by the tutor. Oral presentation to the Curriculum Teachers Council of the contents of the PhD thesis, which will necessarily have resulted in at least one international publication (congress or journal) with reviewers; moreover, the PhD student will have to carry out part of the activities abroad, this will be certified with the participation to at least one international congress organized outside the national territory.