PhD programmes - Humanities
Doctoral Programme
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Building of Sociology and Social Research

Sociology and Social Research

5 PhD fully funded PhD positions in Sociology and Social Research available for the academic year 2023/2024.

One additional position is reserved to applicants working for academic institutions or research centers in Italy or abroad (further details available in the call for applications below).

The doctoral programme in Sociology and Social Research (SRS) was established in 1981 with the aim of providing state-of-art research training  and advanced professional skills in sociology and social research. It joined  the Doctoral School of Social Sciences in 2011.

The PhD programme provides a solid basis in the discipline, including a  broad range of quantitative and qualitative methods, in an interdisciplinary  research environment. Since its foundation the programme has placed  special emphasis on theoretically driven empirical sociology. In particular  the PhD programme educates professionals that are able to apply their  knowledge in an interdisciplinary fashion.

The programme is open to all topics of interest for Sociological research,  but particular attention is paid to proposals fitting in the following research  areas: the study of social and demographic change; comparative sociology;  welfare and social policies; social inequality studies and stratification  research (class, cohort, gender, sociology of education); economic  sociology, labour market and organizational studies; migration studies;  political sociology (social movement, public opinion); communication and  culture.

The goal of the doctoral programme is to qualify its alumni for high level  positions in academia, as well as in the public and private sector.

The PhD programme offers students a stimulation international research  environment and important opportunities, not least through an international  network of high quality. Beyond a wider range of teaching and research opportunities, PhD-SRS  offers and intensive calendar of seminars and conferences including distinguished scholars from an international context. Amost all our doctoral student spent a longer research period abroad. 

Since 2018/19 (34th cycle) we offer fully funded PhD grants of 4 years. The grant amounts to about 1350 euro net a month, with the possibility of a 50% increase for periods spent abroad. 
The official languages of the doctoral programme are English and Italian. The language of instruction is English.


These are the topics our PhD students currently do their research on and their opinion about this programme:


Click HERE to see some of the recent pubblications by our PhD students 




Milena Belloni


Milena Belloni

Post-doctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp



The PhD in Sociology and Social Research offers the possibility to connect with a wide range of institutions and scholars all over the world. For those interested in migration studies and urban sociology, international conferences, research seminars and interdisciplinary workshops allow to discover different methodological approaches, theoretical perspectives and ongoing research on these subjects. By being a doctoral student there, I have learned how to prepare a research project which appeals to quantitative and qualitative researchers and have enhanced the theoretical foundations which shaped my ethnography on refugee flows from the Horn of Africa towards Europe.

Giulia Maria Dotti Sani


Giulia Maria Dotti Sani

Post-doctoral researcher Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turnin. Max Weber Fellow EUI,
Fiesole from september 2017 onwards.


I earned my PhD in sociology and social research at the University of Trento in April 2013. Looking back to it today I can say that it was no walk in the park, but these years were essential to my growth as a social scientist. During the first year we took a set of mandatory classes covering a broad range of topics, from epistemology of the social science to quantitative and qualitative methods, from sociological theory to comparative welfare systems and family demography. Classes were taught by Trento faculty but also by professors from other Italian universities and even by leading international scholars. Thanks to this, students got the opportunity to breach out and make contacts with prominent experts in their field. After discussing my research proposal after the first year, I was off towards my fully funded six weeks of summer school where I refined my skills that proved essential for my dissertation first and for my published work afterwards. I spent my second year working on literature reviews, drawing hypothesis from the literature and sorting out data. At the end of this year I published my first article on an Italian peer reviewed journal. During my third year I was off for my fully funded six months abroad to continue my dissertation at the university of California Irvine. My stay in Irvine was a great opportunity and resulted in a co-authored paper with my American tutor. As common practice in most doctoral programs in Europe, but not Italy, dissertations go through a review process with an individual and external committee before they are defended. I defended the thesis in April 2013. Ever since I have been working as a post-doc and I am having a fair degree of success in disseminating my research. I have by now published most of the dissertation in international peer-reviewed journal articles. Many other articles that saw their incipit during those years are now either published or in an R&R process. Looking back today to my PhD experience I can confidently say that my years in Trento were tough but essential to my growth as a social scientist. Indeed, this extremely enriching experience gave me the tools to become a recognized member of the national and international community of social scientists. In particular, the international and interdisciplinary environment of the doctoral school and the many opportunities it offers to go abroad to present research and refine ones skills are the greatest strength of this PhD program in sociology and social research which is unique in the Italian panorama.

Raffaele Grotti


Raffaele Grotti

Post doctoral research fellow ESRI, Dublin, IE


I received my PhD in Sociology and Social Research in April 2016 from the Doctoral School of Social Sciences at the University of Trento. Since October 2016 I am working as post-doctoral research fellow in quantitative sociology at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. The invaluable experience and knowledge I gained during my PhD was the key factor in obtaining my current position and in preparing me for my career development.
Those years enriched me in many ways. Firstly, I gained experience through my research, the courses I took, and the collaboration with experienced researchers within an ERC project I worked for. Secondly, I had opportunities to experiencing international and stimulating environments within the school, participating at international schools and conferences, and spending a visiting period abroad at the UPF in Barcelona.
Thirdly, during the PhD period I benefitted from the opportunities to teach and to co-supervise master students, as well as from the interactions with colleagues with whom I intensively collaborated in teaching and preparing papers. Last but not least, my development strongly benefitted from the interactions with my supervisor who has been an invaluable mentor and provided me with both professional and personal support. Hence, in my experience, the SSS has been a very supportive and enriching learning and working environment.

Nadya Bobova

Nadya Bobova

Director, Start Up “kissmybike”


Three years spent at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences taught me critical thinking, discipline and determination. 
Not the easiest, but definitely unforgettable experience!

Marco Tosi

Marco Tosi

Research Officer on FAMHEALTH project
Alpha Research Unit, Department of Social Policy
London School of Economics and Political Science<


I undertook both a Masters degree and a PhD in Sociology and Social Research at the University of Trento. I was initially attracted by the faculty’s reputation. I then liked the programme so much that I decided to get a Ph.D. I enjoyed many stimulating lectures and seminars on statistics, research methodology and advanced quantitative modeling. Professors who were experts in their fields aided reflection to my research and encouraged me to present my work at international conferences. I also had the opportunity to spend a visiting period abroad (i.e. SOFI, Stockholm University), working with experienced researchers. I think the PhD gave me an in-depth knowledge in sociological theory and empirical research, and the skills that are necessary to publish in high-impact international journals. The programme offered the unique opportunity to become a successful researcher. To get the most from this experience, full dedication and determination were required. This process of personal growth and professional development was not obvious for me. I spent many moments plagued with stress and self-doubt over my ability. I was fortunate to receive excellent support and encouragement from my supervisors and colleagues with whom still today I collaborate and maintain friendly relationships. The environment was extremely helpful for my growth, but it also led me to be confronted conflicting views of academic work. Armed with determination and hope, I dedicated all my efforts in my work and now I look back on the doctoral period with some gratefulness. My experience of studying at the Department of Sociology and Social Research was positive, transformative and challenging in many ways. I would recommend the PhD programme to everybody who truly loves this work and is firmly committed to follow a research path.


Moreno Mancosu

Post-doctoral researcher, Collegio Carlo Albert, Turin.

I graduated at the School of Social Sciences in April 2015. Sociology and Social research Ph.D. program is challenging (someone would define it tough). I think that few Ph.D. programs in southern Europe are aimed at squeezing your mental energies as the SSR program does. During the first year, mandatory classes, paper presentations and assignments force you to be totally focused on the program: reading, thinking, writing and taking classes covers large part of your waking time. However, it was worth it. Looking back to the my years as a Ph.D. student, I must say that the program has been crucial for my career and some of the seminars still reveal useful now, after almost 5 years. I had ample resources to conduct my research: the doctoral program fully funded a four-week period of summer school, as well as many conferences I’ve attended all over Europe during my doctoral path. Most importantly, I had helpful mentors who invested in me, teaching me the tricks of the trade. Being my focus on quantitative methods, I had the opportunity to interact with and learn from brilliant academics, sharing my views with them and being directed towards the most intellectually challenging and academically relevant debates.

Giampiero Passaretta

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Trinity College Dublin

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the European University Institute

I got my PhD in Sociology from the School of Social Sciences in 2017. The PhD program is demanding and perfect for those who seek intellectual challenges. I still remember myself complaining about the workloads during the first year of the program, but I am glad to have been given such an extraordinary amount of input at an early stage. The program will offer you plenty of training opportunities and an ample budget to step out your comfort zone by joining international conferences and workshops. Little doubts that tight mentoring, the stimulating academic environment, and the chance to get in touch with international scholars helped my personal and professional growth. I started as a naïve student and ended up as a social scientist.

Loris Vergolini

Research fellow at FBK-IRVAPP I earned my PhD in Sociology and Social Research in 2009. The years of the doctoral school were surely demanding, being characterised by mandatory classes, assignments, and paper presentations. I have to admit that those years were not easy, but they provided a set of skills crucial for my future career. After the PhD I started working in a multidisciplinary research group at Irvapp (a centre of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler) and what I learned during the PhD course helped me a lot in interacting with scholars from different disciplines. I believe that the PhD programme in Trento enriched me in several ways starting with the formation of a work ethic. Indeed, the doctoral school taught me that the first ingredient for future career development is hard working. During my doctoral studies, I had the opportunity to collaborate with experienced researchers in several research projects and to work as teaching assistant in classes at BA and MA level. Thanks to the provided funds, I had the chance to follow external courses (i.e., summer schools) and to present my research work in both national and international conferences. These activities represented extremely valuable opportunities to build networks and to activate collaborations that still last today. Finally, I really enjoyed the atmosphere arisen with mentors and colleagues that helped in overcoming the difficulties and doubts arisen on the way to becoming a researcher, favouring both my personal and professional development.

Simone Virdia

I gained my Ph.D in Sociology and Social Research in December 2018, as a joint PhD program involving both University of Trento and Tilburg University. The program is challenging, stimulating and quite demanding. During the first year, I attended high quality and advanced training most of which turned out to be very useful for my professional development. Starting from the second year the program offered many opportunities for international mobility (visiting periods, conferences, schools, etc.) thanks to the ample network with other European universities, research centers, and scientific networks. Internationalization is one of the strength of the Ph.D program, which allowed me to work with preminent scholars from other EU countries. I have been always encouraged to develop my own research proposals and interests and work autonomously. At the beginning, it was a bit frustrating since I spent quite some time in revising and improving my proposals; however, I always received generous feedback by my supervisors. In more recent years, the Doctoral school is also strengthening the collaboration between Ph.D programs, promoting joint conferences and seminars: this gives students from different social sciences the opportunity to work in a real multidisciplinary environment. Overall, in my experience, the School of Social Sciences has been an enriching opportunity both for my personal and professional development. I gained advanced expertise in designing and conducting research projects autonomously, in presenting research projects in front of an expert and non-expert audience, and I received the skills that are necessary to publish in high-quality journals. The training received during these years has particularly emerged in various collaborations with other research institutes that appreciated the technical, but also transversal, skills that I had the opportunity to put in place. I would recommend the Doctoral program to all students who are wishing learn how to do theory-driven empirical research, whose professional aspirations are research-oriented, and are willing to accumulate the necessary skills to compete with other scholars at an international level. Of course, to get the most from the Ph.D, effort and determination are essential requirements.


“I regard the doctoral program in sociology and social research at Trento University to be of very high quality, any university would be proud of having a school of this character. I particularly want to point at the procedure of admission, the high level of teaching theoretically driven empirical research and the support to students for gaining experience from first rate international scholars and from visiting international research centres. (…) Overall, I would judge the scientific impact of the Committee members to be clearly above what one would find in an average sociology department in Europe or North America and my impression is that the sociology department in Trento must be one of the very best in Italy.”

Robert Erikson, SOFI, Sweden
Extract from a 2011 evaluation of the PhD programme


Doctoral School of Social Sciences

via Verdi 26, 38122 - Trento
ph. +39 0461 283756 - 2290
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