PhD programmes - Humanities
Doctoral programme
International Studies
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Final Exam

Admission to the Final Examination

By September of the third year, the PhD student presents a request for admission to the Final Examination. The request is evaluated by the Programme Committee, together with a report on activities. In the request for admission the student shall also indicate whether she/he wants to obtain the label of Doctor Europaeus, if the necessary criteria have been fulfilled. 

Doctor Europaeus

The School of International Studies offers the possibility of obtaining the label of “Doctor Europaeus” together with the conferral of the PhD degree; this is subject to certain conditions which, given the structure of the PhD Programme in International Studies, are easy to fulfil. PhD students inform the PhD Programme Committee together with their request for admission to the Final Examination that they wish to obtain the label.

The criteria for the conferral of the “European Doctor” label, as established by the Confederation of European Union’s Rector’s Conferences in its declaration of the 1991 Salamanca Congress, are:

  • “The PhD thesis defence will be accorded if at least two professors from two higher education institutions of two European countries, other than the one where the PhD thesis will be defended, have given their judgment concerning the manuscript.” 

Since the External Referees of the Examination Committee are required to write a report in any case, this requirement will be satisfied if they are employed by an EU-University outside of Italy.

  • “At least one member of the jury should come from a higher education institution in European countries, other than the one where the PhD thesis will be defended”
  • “Part of the defence must take place in one of the official languages, other than the one(s) of the country where the PhD thesis will be defended”

Since the Dissertation Defences at the School of International Studies take place in English, all PhD students satisfy this criterion.

  • “The PhD Thesis must partly have been prepared as a result of a period of research of at least one trimester spent in another European country."

In agreement with their Supervisor, the students should decide where to spend their research period abroad on the basis of their thesis topic. If they do so in another European country, also the fourth criterion for obtaining the European Doctor label is satisfied. PhD candidates must present a certificate, issued by the institute where the research was conducted, testifying to the duration and nature of their stay.


Before applying, the student must discuss the state of the thesis with his/her supervisor. 

The request for admission to the final examination must be submitted online by means of the Esse3 system The request implies the payment of a contribution (“final examination contribution”) of € 72,00 (which includes two duty stamps of € 16,00). PhD students must have regularly paid all the three-year PhD course fees when they submit the online final examination form. 
Information about the online application is available at 
The supervisor will recommend to the PhD Programme Committee some names of the external experts from which the PhD Programme Committee designates two external referees. These examine the dissertation prior to its admission to the Final Examination. 
The Administrative office (phd [at] will send PhD students all details about their referees as well as the instructions on the submission via e-mail of the required documents: the dissertations (.pdf files) and a report on their activities during the Programme (PhD Completion Report). PhD students also have to send a hard copy of their dissertation to the referees (and to the supervisor) by courier.
As an overall evaluation of the student's thesis, referees may propose one of the following results: 
  • MINOR Revision: admission of the student to the final examination/PhD defense 
  • MAJOR Revision: the student must resubmit a new version of the thesis with a rebuttal letter within 6 months 

Each PhD student will receive the reviews via email from the Administrative office (phd [at] as soon as both referees have submitted their evaluations. 

The PhD Programme Committee submits a proposal for a Final Examination Commission to the Rector, which may include the referees. The PhD candidates will receive an official notification letter by the Central PhD Office of the University ( [at], with the composition of the Commission, date and room where the Examination will take place. 

Publication of the Dissertation

The Central PhD Office of the University ( [at] will inform the PhD candidates about the procedure for uploading the dissertation in the Research Registry of the University of Trento (IRIS), which facilitates the collection, management, dissemination and preservation of data related to research production. See

Thesis in electronic format and the related disclaimer must be uploaded at least 10 days before the date set for the final examination.

Further information about the examination

Dissertations are defended publicly; members of the Commission can participate via video conference. Final Examinations are individual and candidate-specific; they are a true exam—i.e., substantive, not merely ceremonial. The Final Examinations last between 90 minutes and 3 hours. They take place in English. Exceptionally, by agreement of the candidate and all members of the Examination Commission, another language can be used additionally or alternatively. 

During the Examination, the candidate shall defend his/her work. The members of the Commission will primarily examine that:

  • the candidate has a comprehensive understanding of the academic literature in the field in which s/he has undertaken research;
  • the thesis is the candidate’s own work;
  • it makes an original contribution to the academic literature;
  • the candidate is fully able to explain and discuss the research and its results.