The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a tool of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for making studies and courses more transparent and thus helping to enhance the quality of higher education. ECTS credits express the volume of learning based on the defined learning outcomes and their associated workload. 60 ECTS credits correspond to the workload of a full-time academic year or its equivalent, which normally comprises a number of educational components to which credits are allocated.

The PhD program in Computer and Data Science for Technological and Social Innovation (CDS-TSI) envisions both educational and research activities that span the three years for a total of 180 Doctoral ECTS, including the preparation and defense of the Doctoral Thesis. The activities are divided as follows:

– 50 ECTS for teachings and other educational activities;

– 130 ECTS for research activities, which include 20 ECTS for the preparation of the doctoral thesis.

Educational activities include:

  • a) teachings offered within the PhD program in (see below). These activities are organized and coordinated by the Doctorate Council and primarily take place in the Department of Physics, Informatics and Mathematics (FIM) and in the Department of Communication and Economics (DCE). These activities allow to earn a variable number of ECTS subject to passing a final test. For these activities 1 ECTS = 4 teaching hours;
  • b) teachings offered within the master degree in Computer Science from the FIM Department (or other master degree, subject to approval of the Doctoral Council). The number of ECTS earned corresponds to the number of CFUs (crediti formativi universitari) for that teaching, subject to passing a final test;
  • c) seminars, tutorials (offered, for example, within international conferences of workshops), summer schools and other international schools for PhD students. 1 ECTS = 4 teaching hours, provided that certification of attendance is obtained;
  • f) online or other remote courses, courses organized by companies. The number of ECTS earned is decided by the Doctoral Council;
  • g) tutoring and other teaching assistance activities. Such activities are entrusted by the Doctoral Council, in agreement with the Coordinator of the bachelor/master degree program, identifying the scientific disciplinary sector where the doctoral student can carry out his/her TA activities. 1ECTS = 10 hours of TA (max 40 hours per year).

Concerning research activities of each doctoral student, a fundamental role is played by the tutor. This important figure should involve the PhD students in funded research project activities or collaborations with national and international research institutes or companies. Within this context it is encouraged that the PhD students spend at least four months for internships at such institutions.

The ECTS derived from research activities concern both theoretical studies and experimentations conducted within the relevant areas to the PhD program in CDS-TSI. The research activities of each student can be quantified tangibly by means of research products of various types:

  1. the production of journal papers;
  2. the production of conference papers;
  3. the presentation of a paper or a poster at a conference;
  4. the involvement in conference organization activities;
  5. the involvement in national/international/industrial research project activities;
  6. internships in foreign institutions.

Activities over the three years

The 50 ECTS for educational activities must be acquired within the first two years, at least 30 during the first year. Overall, at least 21 of these ECTS must be of type a) (see the list above), subject to the following constraints:

  1. The following PhD teachings are mandatory:
  • Corso di Formazione complementare per dottorandi e assegnisti (6 ECTS)
  • Bibliographic Research, Scientific Writing and Dissemination Tools: Techniques and Strategies (3 ECTS)
  1. At least 6 ECTS must come from teachings offered in the Computer Science area and another 6 ECTS should come from teachings offered in the Comunication/Economics area.

The 130 ECTS for research activities are to be obtained under the following constraints:

– I year: at least 10 ECTS;

– II year: at least 40 ECTS;

– III year: at least 40 ECTS + 20 ECTS (for the thesis, approx 3 months).

At the end of every year the tutor of each PhD student presents to the Doctoral Council a report which describes the activities completed by the student. In this report a brief description of each activity is provided, including all the teachings and associated ECTS (along with proofs that the final tests were passed and/or the certificates of attendance) and a list of the published papers. The Doctoral Council approves or rejects the report and the admission of the candidates to the next year (or to the defense of the thesis).

Things to remember

At the beginning of every year, each student must agree with their supervisors about the planned study and research activities for that year, and populate an individual study and research plan accordingly. The plan must be signed by the students and their supervisors, and sent to the coordinator within the 15th of November of every year.

Similarly, towards the end of every year, each student must populate an individual study and research report, where all the activities that were actually carried out during the year are listed. The report must be signed by the students and their supervisors, and sent to the Coordinator within the 20th of October of every year.

The templates for the individual study and research plan and report can be found in the HOMEPAGE –> RESOURCES section of the website.

For more details see the complete Regulations for the PhD Course in Computer and Data Science for Technological and Social Innovation.

Teachings of the PhD Program