Purpose of recognition

The procedure to full recognize a PhD degree obtained abroad aims at awarding an Italian degree of the same nature, i.e. having legal value in Italian system (previously, this procedure was identified with the term “equipollenza”).

Before starting any evaluation procedure, it is fundamental to know the purpose of recognition, since it implies different procedures and responsible bodies within the Italian legislation.

The evaluation of a foreign doctoral qualification for academic purposes (in order to obtain the corresponding Italian qualification) is carried out by universities; the recognition of the qualification for non-academic purposes (e.g. for access to public competitions, social security purposes, redemption of the study period, etc.) or for professional purposes is carried out by other State administrations.
More information on the different procedures for recognising qualifications awarded abroad for non-academic purposes is available on the CIMEA web page.

Characteristics of the degree

The PhD degree corresponds to the third cycle according to the Bologna Process qualifications framework (EHEA QF), to level 8 according to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) or to the level of the 2011 ISCED framework or pre-2011 ISCED level 6A.
Recognition will therefore be granted only if the qualification is an official third-cycle doctoral degree issued by an official institution of the foreign system, and only if it has the same nature and disciplinary elements as the corresponding Italian qualification in terms of duration, nature of research and method of obtaining it.

How an application is assessed at the University of Trento

The Doctoral Programme Committee (or the Executive Committee, if any) of the Doctoral Course is the competent body for recognition.

In the absence of bilateral agreements between two countries for the degrees’ equivalence, the request for recognition may be concluded with:

  • the direct award of the corresponding Italian PhD degree;
  • the refusal of recognition if there is a "substantial difference" between the foreign title and the Italian one (in consideration of the elements of the foreign title, the institution that issued it and the regulations in force in Italy in the higher education sector).

How to apply

The application must indicate the Doctoral Course offered by the University of Trento which, due to its nature and content, corresponds to the Doctoral degree for which recognition is sought.
The list of Doctoral courses offered by the University of Trento is available at PhD-schools-and-programmes

The application can only be submitted online filling the application Recognition of PhD degrees awarded abroad, attaching the following documents:

  • Valid identity document;
  • Official foreign doctoral degree awarded by an official foreign higher education institution.
  • Certified translation into Italian of the doctoral qualification awarded abroad.
  • Certificate verifying the authenticity of the foreign qualification issued by the Italian ENIC-NARIC centre (CIMEA) or legalisation (or Hague Apostille for countries that have acceded to the Hague Convention, 5 October 1961) issued by the competent bodies of the country where the university is located.
  • If available, Declaration of Value, issued by the competent diplomatic-consular representation. 
  • Attestation/certificate issued by the competent foreign higher education institution attesting to the elements and activities of the doctorate carried out in order to obtain the final qualification (which expressly states the minimum legal duration of the doctorate course attended as provided for by the foreign university system (for the purposes of recognition, this duration must not be less than the minimum duration of three years provided for by Italian regulations on doctorates) or Diploma Supplement.
    If the language of this certification is other than Italian or English, the documentation must be accompanied by a translation into English or Italian made by the applicant under his/her own responsibility.
  • Copy of the doctoral thesis and/or indication of the web address of the university repository or library where the approved thesis is stored and can be consulted, or indication of the references of the competent office to which access may be requested for verification of the correspondence. 
  • Italian or foreign second-cycle degree that gave access to the foreign doctoral course.
  • Curriculum vitae/studiorum with any additional titles, publications and research and teaching activities carried out.
  • Payment of €300 as a "Contribution for the foreign qualification recognition request” to be made through the PagoPA system.  This contribution is due regardless of the outcome of the procedure and is non-refundable.

At the end of the procedure, if recognition for academic purposes is granted, an additional contribution will be requested ("Contribution for the award of the corresponding Italian degree"), equal to € 200 plus € 16 stamp duty.

It will also be necessary to submit the original documentation to the Division for Doctoral Course Support and Higher Education - relevant Doctorate Office - no later than 30 days after notification of recognition of the degree.