Tutors and supervisors

At the beginning of the first year each student is assigned a staff member as tutor, who will be the advisor for the selection of the exams and guide the student in the choice of a research project for the PhD thesis.

In order to be admitted to the second year, students must pass a number of exams to achieve a minimum of 81 credits. We strongly encourage our students to complete their course study program within the end of the summer of the first year.

After completion of the coursework, students start a research project under the supervision of a member of the Scientific Board; an external supervisor can also be considered, subject to the approval of the Scientific Board. The supervisor is finally assigned by the Scientific Board, taking into account the student's wishes. In case the supervisor is not a member of the Scientific Board, a co-supervisor belonging to the Scientific Board will be nominated as well.

Admission to the following years and annual report

By the early summer of the second and third year, after a 45 minutes report from the supervisor and a presentation of the research activity by the student, the Scientific Board makes a decision regarding the admission of students to the third and fourth year. Students not admitted to the third year are given the chance to take part to a Magister exam by the end of the second year. Students interested in the possible enrollment in a fourth year, are required to submit a motivated written request, also signed by the supervisor, at least six months before the end of the third year to the Scientific Board, which will deliberate on whether to forward the request to the SISSA Senate.

Further information can be found on the Regolamento Didattico of the Astrophysics curriculum (Italian only) and on the Regolamento Didattico of SISSA PhD courses (Italian only).

Procedure for the PhD final exam

The thesis should comprise original results, which have been or can be published in articles on highly qualified scientific publications. Candidates who wish to obtain the PhD should present a written request to the Director at least four months before the date of the defence, which usually takes place in October.

The Sector Council agrees on at least two external referees, experts in the field, with typically one not Italian. The PhD defense Commision will include the two external examiners plus at least three members of SISSA, among which the Doctorate Coordinator.

The thesis should be submitted within a deadline determined by the Sector Council (usually 15 August). A copy should be given to the Student Secretariat and an electronic version has to be uploaded on a protected website for the referees. After the deadline the referees and members of the Commission for the PhD defense will be contacted so they can download the thesis or ask for a paper copy to be sent to them.

The examiners are asked to give a global opinion to the candidate and supervisor, and in particular to make clear whether they see major problems and/or think the thesis is not adequate for a PhD, within 4 weeks. In case it is considered important or useful, the candidate might be asked to visit in person the external examiners to discuss any major point. Other (not crucial) criticisms and comments can be either sent at this point or discussed at the time of the PhD examination.

The PhD defence consists of a presentation of the work done (around 45 minutes) and then questions from the examiners, general committee and staff. A discussion within the Commission follows, during which the decision on whether or not to award the PhD is taken.

After the PhD exam, the candidate should introduce any corrections suggested by the examiners in the thesis and within two weeks produce the final version to be given to the Student Secretariat (in hard copy) and uploaded in the Library storage system.

The defence can take place after the duration of the PhD course.

A list of the Alumni of the AP curriculum can be found here.