Thesis Proposal

All PhD students that are going to complete the first year must present the thesis proposal. This is a precondition for the transition to the second year
The thesis proposal is a very important document in order to evaluate the current status of the work and to plan the thesis work. It has not to be written as a conference or journal paper (even if it is possible to attach some more technical related documents). Rather, it must be designed as a research project proposal.
Suggestions on how to structure the proposal and on the evaluation procedures are listed below.

Fulfillments Schedule

Proposal Structure

The thesis proposal should be a 10-20 pages long document (written in English or Italian), including:
  1. A concise description of the thesis goals.
  2. The identification of the PhD thesis reference research area and discussion of the thesis goal relevance.
  3. A review of related work.
  4. A presentation of possible preliminary results.
  5. The description of the results that the student plans to obtain and the strategies to be applied for pursuing such results (justifying in an informal way their feasibility).
  6. Appendices and/or documents that may help the committee in formulating an opinion can be attached to the proposal.
  7. We suggest to attach to the proposal a proposed outline for the thesis and a work plan for the next two years (including a time schedule and a description of the relationships among the proposed activities).

Evaluation Committee

For each PhD student which has presented the thesis proposal, the Coordinator appoints an evaluation committee. Usually, it is composed of three members (two of them must be members of the PhD program committee (Collegio dei Docenti)). The committee must monitor the thesis activity, from the proposal presentation to the thesis discussion, and provides opinions when required by the Coordinator. The committee can be modified by the Coordinator in order to best fit its goals.

Presentation and Discussion

The presentation and the discussion of each thesis proposal are public and are done in presence of the evaluation committee. The first part of the presentation should give an overview of the proposal understandable also to non-expert listeners. The date and the time of the presentation are decided by the evaluation committee (before the PhD program committee deliberates about the admission to the next year) and communicated to the Coordinator.


After the presentation and discussion, the evaluation committee will meet for formulating an assessment of the thesis proposal. The Committee must draw up a written assessment (about half a page, or more if the committee members do not agree on the outcome). Based on such assessment, the PhD program Committee (Collegio dei Docenti) deliberates about the admission of the PhD student to the third year.