First year: student's wishes → student's aspirations
After completion of the lessons and proficiency in exams, 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 a wish list provided by the students and a number of other criteria, including: each supervisor typically accepts at most one student per year; the number of students directly supervised by ICTP staff should match the number of fellowships covered by the SISSA-ICTP joint PhD program; the student background should be appropriate for the proposed project. In case the assigned supervisor is not a member of the Scientific Board, a co-supervisor belonging to the Scientific Board will be nominated as well.
Progress report and admission to following years
In order to be admitted to second year (and succesive years), students must present the most relevant results of their research projects in front of the PhD faculty. The faculty assesses the quality and quantity of the presentated material and evaulates the successful attendance of the courses (for first year students). The outcome of the evaluation (admitted, non-admitted, conditionally admitted) is communicated to the students within a couple of days. A personalised, short evaluation note is sent individually by email to each student.
PhD thesis defense
The default, ministerial, duration of PhD studies is three years. To complete their ongoing research most third-year students of our PhD programme obtain an extension to a fourth year (which must be granted by the SISSA Senate/Director) . At the end of the PhD studies, students hold a formal defense of their thesis.
The thesis defense consists in the submission of a written dissertation and its subsequent public discussion in the presence of an evaluation board with both internal and external members. Once the public defense is finished, the board deliberates, at closed doors, whether approve the thesis and confer the PhD title to the candidate.
A list of recent Alumni of the PhD programme in Physics and Chemistry of Biological systems can be found here .