PhD in Communication Sciences

The Ph.D. is the highest academic degree awarded by USI. Its purpose is the training of new researchers in the field of communication sciences. To that end, doctoral students are expected to take Ph.D. level courses that will expand their knowledge on communication, research and ethical aspects. Doctoral student training is then completed by teaching related experiences and by attending academic events organized by the Faculty. The main objective of the Ph.D. is the formation of future academics, however knowledge and experience gained during the Ph.D. are also relevant for those who wish to work in companies, organizations, or as entrepreneurs in the communication field.

 

Eligibility for applying to the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences
 
To be admitted to the status of doctoral student, one must have:

  • a Master degree or of a Licentiate degree (under the previous higher degrees system) from a Swiss University, or
  • a Swiss or foreign degree recognized as equivalent by the Graduate Studies Committee.

To be admitted to the status of doctoral student, the candidate must have obtained a final score in the Master program of no less than 8 (on a 10-point scale).
Applicants from outside Switzerland must send a certificate from their previous University demonstrating the equivalence of their Master score thesis to the above mentioned score criteria.
 
It is also possible to ask for special consideration (admission “su dossier”) in case the candidate has a final Master score lower than 8 (on a 10-point scale) or has a Master degree from a University of Applied Science. Each professor of the Faculty can direct the thesis of maximum 1 doctoral student admitted “su dossier”. This admission “su dossier” is considered exceptional.

 

The Ph.D. Program in Communication Sciences

The program requires close collaboration between the student and their Thesis Director. Hence, access to the program necessitates a written declaration by one of the Faculty professors (full, associate, assistant, titular, or adjunct professor), that he/she would be willing to supervise you. The list of professors of the Faculty and their research interest can be found here.

 

Doctoral Assistant (with funding)

Conventionally, a doctoral student in Communication Sciences is enrolled as an "Assistant" to a professor with a specific work contract or a scholarship. The "Assistant" has research duties as well as teaching assistance responsibilities. To become an "Assistant" there are several paths:

  • Periodic announcements of vacant positions for doctoral students, that are reported here. Interested applicants should apply for such positions following the instructions given in the announcement.
  • Institutional or National funding opportunities, provided by either private or public sector within Switzerland, and reported here.
  • Sending a spontaneous application to a single professor (full, associate, assistant, titular, or adjunct professor) describing a research proposal and motivation for doctoral studies. The list of professors of our Faculty and their research interest can be found here. Each candidate is invited to carefully select the professor to contact, based on their research interests, and to avoid to send random applications.

 

Non-assistant Ph.D.

It is also possible to enroll into the Ph.D. program without a work contract with the Faculty. This is the case of doctoral students who may work at another organization or who have financial means to self-fund their studies. The enrolment procedure is the same as for Doctoral Assistant; one must fulfill the same eligibility criteria (as reported above) and the same admission process (as reported below). In order to start a non-funded Ph.D., the candidate must:

  • Send a spontaneous application to a single professor (full, associate, assistant, titular, or adjunct professor) describing a research proposal and motivation for doctoral studies. The list of professors of our Faculty and their research interest can be found here. Each candidate is invited to carefully select the professor to contact, based on their research interests, and to avoid to send random applications.

The tuition fee for Non-assistant Ph.D. students applies in biannual installments as specified in "Regolamento per le ammissioni e le immatricolazioni all'Università della Svizzera italiana" of the 14th of April 2000, at Article 16 (that can be downloaded here).

 

Admission Process to the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences

Only once the candidate has found a Professor (full, associate, titular, adjunct or assistant professor) available to become Thesis Director, the candidate can submit the required documents (that can be found here) to the doctoral administration. These documents will be examined first by the Doctoral Committee and then, if they meet the requirements, ratified by the Faculty Council. The Ph.D. can only start from the day in which the Faculty Council ratifies the application.

In case of announcements of vacant positions or Institutional or National funding opportunities, the candidate has to respect the deadline reported in the specific document. On the contrary, spontaneous applications can be sent during the entire year.

 

Additional information

The application process (composition of the Graduate Studies Committee, choice of the Thesis Director, doctoral courses, thesis, etc.) is stated in our Ph.D. study regulations and in our Ph.D. study program (that can be downloaded here).

On the quick links section of this webpage you can see several links that redirect to other webpages with useful information (e.g. Ph.D. courses offered by the Faculty).

 

Programme coordinator and contact

Ph.D. programme coordinator is Prof. Antonella Carassa.

For more information about the Ph.D. program please contact the assistant to the Ph.D. programme coordinator, Dr. Stefano Giacomelli, at: gestione-dottorato.com@usi.ch.