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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

PhD in

Computer Science

The main goal of this programme is to train future scientists with a strong professional background who are capable of working in an international and highly competitive environment, such as the Information Technology (IT) sector.

course description

What makes our PhD graduates ideal candidates to work as researchers both in academia and in the IT sector is their ability to research and understand theoretical and applied research topics, the collaborative approach to work, and their dissemination and writing skills. Moreover, problem solving skills and the ability to work autonomously enable them to become key players in every field of IT, as independent consultants or in management roles.

At the end of our programme, graduates are equipped with a vast knowledge of IT, from the formal and theoretical aspects to the latest developments in methodology and technology.

PhD students can choose any of the three research themes offered by the faculty. They are different not only in the main topics explored, but also in the research methodology applied. In the Knowledge and Data area, students investigate the topics of Intelligent Integration and Access to Data, Conceptual and Cognitive Modelling, and Process-aware Information Systems Management. In the Software and Systems Engineering area, work follows an empirical approach based on the implementation of prototypes and techniques and the carrying out and analysis of experiments. Finally, the Information and Database Systems Engineering area adopts a hybrid approach, with a focus on efficient implementation and user interaction. This large spectrum of topics offers PhD candidates a wide range of options to develop their own research and great flexibility to match their interests.

At a glance

Duration of the programme: 4 years
Courses will be taught in English
Places available: 12 with scholarship + 1 Industrial PhD position + 2 without scholarship
Campus: Bozen-Bolzano
Tuition fees: € 164.50 per year

Programme Structure

The aim of the PhD programme is to allow students to acquire the abilities and skills to carry out independent research in the area of computer science. This also involves the ability to communicate ideas clearly and efficiently orally and in writing and the ability to work in groups.

In order to conclude the programme successfully, the PhD student has to elaborate a research topic independently and this research must contribute significantly to current knowledge in the area of computer science. Due to the time limits of the programme, PhD students will focus on their research work. To achieve this, they are supported by a structured PhD programme.

The Stages of the PhD

The programme is divided into five stages, respectively ending at months 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 of the programme.

  • Phase 1 comprises the first six months. During this period, the student identifies with the support of his or her supervisor the area of research, a specific topic within the area, and one or more possible approaches to the topic. The student acquires the necessary foundations for carrying out the research, for instance, by way of attendance of courses or supervised study of literature. The supervisor will introduce the student into relevant research activities at the faculty.
  • Phase 2 comprises the second half of the first year. The student spends time both on the acquisition of skills and on first research steps.
  • Phase 3 comprises the second year, and is to be spent on an in-depth exploration of the research topic.
  • Phase 4 comprises the third year, and is to be spent continuing the exploration of the research topic.
  • Phase 5 comprises the fourth year. The aim is to complete the research and to document it in a thesis.

Course Offering

Fieldwork abroad

During the four years of the PhD programme, candidates are required to commit full-time to the PhD, and the programme will include both working on the research project and learning activities. Students are also strongly encouraged to carry out part of their research in another university or research center, for a longer period, ranging from 1 month and up to 18 months. This is an extremely valuable opportunity for a PhD candidate to study specific aspects of their research in depth under direct supervision of world experts in their chosen research topic. It is also an opportunity to carry out research in highly stimulating and competitive contexts, while exchanging ideas with other scholars and establishing an early network of colleagues in the world of research.

Partner Universities and Research Centres

We have established partnerships with many universities and research institutions in Italy and abroad, such as the Technical University of Dresden, the Universidade Nova of Lisbon and the Technical University of Vienna. In addition, members of our Faculty cooperate on a regular basis with other universities and research institutes, such as Oxford University, Rice University Houston, Zürich University, Sapienza University of Rome, University of Trento, and FBK Trento.

Some of the PhD positions are collaborations supported by external research and industry partners (Fondazione Bruno Kessler FBK, Südtiroler Informatik SIAG, NOI Techpark, Barbieri Electronic snc, University of Umea).


PhD Programme Coordinator: Prof. Antonella De Angeli
Student representative in the Lecturer's Committee: Paolo Sylos Labini


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Application and Admission

You can find key information to apply and gain admission to this PhD Programme. For detailed information browse the general and specific calls below.

In order to gain admission to the PhD programme, you will need to have obtained 300 ECTS credit points (Master degree) and have some relevant academic experience in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Electronics or in a related discipline.

Application: 05/05 - 30/06/2021 (by noon local time)
Admission interviews (online): 19/07/2021 (if needed also on 20/07/2021, based on the number of candidates)
Communication if interview details (per e-mail): by July 16/07/2021.
Publication of ranking lists: by 06/08/2021


Contact us by phone at +39 0471 012800 or send us an e-mail:

Admission interview

Admission interviews are public events scheduled online on Teams:

Tuesday, 20 July 2021
from 10:00 a.m. until 18:15 (GTM +2.00) – (Join on your computer or mobile app)

Wednesday, 21 July 2021
from 09:00 a.m. until 16:00 (GTM +2.00) –  (Join on your computer or mobile app)

Publication of ranking lists: by 06/08/2021

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