PhD in Political and Social Sciences

Academic Year 2022-2023
Subject area Legal, Politological, Economic and Statistical Sciences
Cycle 38
Coordinator Prof. Daniela Giannetti
Language English
Duration 4 years

Application deadline: Jun 09, 2022 at 11:59 PM (Expired)

Call for Applications

Positions: More information in the PhD Programme Table

Enrolment: From Jul 29, 2022 to Aug 29, 2023

Doctoral programme start date: Nov 01, 2022

Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Political and Social Sciences - SPS
  1. Political Science
  2. International Studies
  3. Sociology
Research topics

Curriculum 1: Political Science

  • Political Theory
  • Authoritarian Regimes
  • Democratic Regimes
  • Democratic Transitions
  • Electoral Politics
  • Parties and Party Systems
  • Political Participation
  • Political Culture
  • Comparative Political Institutions
  • EU Institutions and Policies
  • Public Policy

Curriculum 2: International Studies

  • International Political Economy
  • International Security
  • Strategic Studies
  • War and Politics
  • Cooperation and Conflict in the International Arena
  • International Organizations
  • Technological Innovation and International Relations
  • Theories of International Relations
  • Africa
  • Americas
  • Asia
  • Eastern Europe
  • Balkans

Curriculum 3: Sociology

  • Sociology
  • Sociology of Culture
  • Communication
  • Trust and Social Capital
  • Social Media
  • Digital Society
  • Immigration


Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
A doctoral degree in Political and Social Sciences enables a career as an academic or other careers with high demand for capacity of developing research at the highest level. Such a capacity might also be used to develop autonomous entrepreneurial activities. Potential areas of employment include academic institutions, research institutions, public and private organizations, at the national and international levels.
Admission Board

Surname Name University / Institution Role email Curriculum
Baracani Elena Università di Bologna Member Scienza Politica
De Luigi Nicola Università di Bologna Member Sociologia
Giannetti Daniela Università di Bologna Member Scienza Politica
Pallotti Arrigo Università di Bologna Member Relazioni internazionali
Quaglia Lucia Università di Bologna Member Scienza Politica
Rizza Roberto Università di Bologna Member Sociologia
Zambernardi Lorenzo Università di Bologna Member Relazioni internazionali
Alacevich Michele Università di Bologna Substitute Relazioni internazionali
Bianchini Stefano Università di Bologna Substitute Relazioni internazionali
Giorgini Giovanni Università di Bologna Substitute Scienza Politica
Lucarelli Sonia Università di Bologna Substitute Relazioni internazionali
Mantovani Debora Università di Bologna Substitute Sociologia
Profeti Stefania Università di Bologna Substitute Scienza Politica
Tornimbeni Corrado Università di Bologna Substitute Relazioni internazionali
Learning outcomes

The complexity of contemporary technological, social and geo-political challenges requires the mastering of advanced research tools. The doctoral  programme in Political and Social Sciences is designed to produce rigorously trained social scientists, able to conduct cutting-edge research. The programme combines a common set of courses on the methodology of research along with a training in a specific subfield. The programme has three curricula: Political Science (including Political Theory), International Studies (including Area Studies), and Sociology. Acquiring common methodological skills allows students to carry out a research project grounded within a specific discipline but also to experiment innovative cross-curricular paths. For instance, the doctoral programme aims at integrating the regional expertise typical of Area Studies with the methodological tool-kit of the social sciences. 

Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates

The doctoral programme combines an intensive set of courses on the methodology of social research along with an advanced knowledge in one of the subfields corresponding to each curriculum. In the first year students will attend a number of methodological plus a number of courses in the core disciplines of the PhD programme. Modules are of  10 or 20 hours each, with a total number of 180  hours (already assigned in Phase 1 of  the Teaching Plan 2022-2023) taught in the first year: Applied Research Methods (60 hours); Epistemology of the Social Sciences (20 hours); Seminars in Political Science (60 hours); Seminars in International Studies (20 hours); Seminars in Sociology (10 hours); Classics in Political and Social Sciences (10 hours).  There are other courses (Advanced Statistics, Game Theory, Research Ethics and Safety) plus other training activities. Students  will also develop their  research project to be presented to the Academic Board by  the end of the first year and discussed at the annual phD conference (two PhD conference have been  organized in 2020 and 2021). In the second year there are further courses in the core disciplines. In the  third and in the fourth year students will work at their final dissertation and spend time abroad for research purposes. Academic calendar is published on the website

Research training activities compliant with the Doctoral programme's learning outcomes

Research training activities  are  carried out through the methodological courses and other parallel activities (seminars, workshops). From 37° cycle onwards PhD students can attend courses in Academic Speaking and Writing, other than be trained in how to publish in peer reviewed journals. From 37° cycle onwards PhD students can also attend a course about "Ethics and Scientific Research". The Department provides an interactive environment where  PhD students present and discuss their research. PhD students are encouraged  to actively engage themselves in international research networks, joining international conferences and workshops. They also must spend periods of time doing research abroad. 

Internationalization features

Most of the members of the Academic Board have an international background, having taught or done research in foreign Universities. The PhD website is in English and provides specific information about the admission procedures to foreign candidates. Courses are taught in English. The dissertation is also written in English, although the Academic Board might approve usage of different languages in particular cases. PhD students  will spend a period of time doing research abroad (minimum six months). A number of co-tutelle agreements have been  finalized. Students are encouraged to present their work at international meetings, and to take part in international research networks. The doctoral programme has an agreement with the Radboud Universiteit in Njimegen. The Department joins the international network Europaeum which provides opportunities for mobility of PhD students. Following the University of Bologna regulations, the Department allocates resources to help funding international mobility of PhD students.

Expected research results and products

The ultimate goal of the doctoral programme is the dissertation, which must prove  the capacity of conducting methodologically sound and original research. Research results must be publishable in peer reviewed top journals. Participation in conferences and publication of partial results of PhD students' research work are encouraged