PhD Program in Astronomy: Introduction

Director: Prof. G. Piotto

When the program for Doctoral Research (PhD) started in Italy in 1982, the University of Padova organized a Doctoral School in Astronomy, which immediately obtained a national-wide attendance. The PhD Program in Astronomy contributed to the formation of a whole new generation of astronomers thanks also to the collaboration with the nearby Astronomical Observatory of Padova (OAPD) of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). The high level of the Program is testified by the fact that more than 90% of the graduate students who obtained a Doctoral (PhD) degree in Astronomy at the University of Padova are doing research in astronomy and astrophysics in Italy or abroad. More than 70% of them hold a permanent position.
In Italy only the University of Padova and the University of Bologna offer all the levels of academic education in Astronomy: the First-Level Degree (Laurea, equivalent to a Bachelor Degree), the Second-Level Degree (Laurea Magistrale, equivalent to a Master Degree), and the Doctoral Degree (Dottorato di Ricerca, equivalent to a PhD). Only  the University of Padova has an independent Doctoral School in Astronomy.

Every year, about 10 to 12 students are enrolled in the PhD Program after a selective competition. They come from all over Italy and abroad. Other foreign students attend the PhD Program within specific international agreements for exchange of PhD students. The PhD Program has a three-year duration with a final exam for the defense of the PhD thesis. Because of the presence of foreign students, all the courses and the other activities are in English (including the mid-term evaluations and the final exam). The PhD thesis is written in English.

Aim of the PhD Program in Astronomy is the formation of young researchers of excellence at international level in their specific field of research in astronomy and astrophysics. The agreements with many foreign universities and dedicated funding from the Ministry of Education, University, and Research (MIUR), the University of Padova and the INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova allow the students to complete their formation with stages in top-level research institutes and universities in Europe, US and South America.