PhD Application FAQ

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This is a brief list of questions we received about the online procedure to access our PhD courses. It will be regularly updated. If you cannot find the answer to your question(s) here, feel free to write to .

Before starting your application please consult the full text of our Ph.D. announcements here


This year the entrance exams "structure" has been slighlty modified. The selecting committees of all PhD courses will evaluate the academic and scientific qualificaations of all candidates and will invite to the exams only those scoring a mark of at least 7/10 (seven out of ten). Since the time between the deadline of every single announcement and the relevant exams is very tight and does not allow the issue of a visa in time, International candidates are STRONGLY encouraged to apply in the "Preselection for International (non-EU) candidates". Exceptions are the PhD courses in Statistical Physics and Theory and Numerical Simulation of the Condensed Matter that will base the admission (besides the evaluation of academic titles) on an interview that could be taken also by videoconference (i.e. Skype) so both European and International candidates can participate.

  • I’m a non-European Union citizen. How can I access your Ph.D. courses?

You can apply to the “Preselection for non-EU candidates” based on academic qualifications only. You can also participate in the “entrance exams” but you will have to get a visa to come to Trieste and sit the exams (different deadlines and exams dates for each PhD course). Please be aware that SISSA can reimburse your trip to Trieste up to € 150,00. First of all you should register in the online process You will be sent an email with some information and a password to access.

Fill all the “Candidate Profile” fields and the choose one or more Ph.D. courses. Be aware that you will find, for the same Ph.D. course, different possibilities (preselection for non EU candidates; single - first - second session if you want to come and sit the entrance exams). Be sure to choose the right one.

You will be now asked to give the names and email addresses of two professors that will have to send a recommendation letter through the same online process. When you have completed your application, click on the “PDF” icon and print the application form (one for each Ph.D. to which you applied). Sign it and send it together with a copy of your passport or other identity document by



fax: +390403787249


post: To the Director of SISSA - Via Bonomea 265 - 34136 Trieste - Italy

  • What’s the deadline for the submission of my preselection application?

It’s 31 March for the online procedure. The “paper application” (see above) must reach SISSA by April 8.

  • What’s the deadline for the submission of my entrance exams application?

There are several depending on the course; have a look at the announcements

  • I do not have a Master degree. Can I participate?

Yes you can, but you will have to obtain the Master degree (or equivalent) by the beginning of the courses.

  • I have a Bachelor degree. Am I eligible?

It depends. The academic title necessary to be considered eligible should allow you to enroll in a Ph.D course in your country. Usually a B.Sc. Hons. or a 4-year (or more) B.Sc. are sufficient. In any case only the Senate of the School, will be entitled to decide about this matter.

  • Do I need to present a TOEFL, GRE, IELTS or other English proficiency certificates?

It is not mandatory but it will be very welcome. This will help the selecting committee evaluate your knowledge of the English language.

  • My documents are not in Italian. Can you accept them?

We can accept certificates from your University written in English, Spanish, French or German.

  • I have problems uploading my documents.

You can upload files up to 8 MB each (one at a time to avoid system overload) and up to 20 MB in total. Besides the required documents, you can upload your thesis, posters, and any other document you think to be relevant in the “other documents” section.

  • Will I be interviewed?

The preselection selecting committee might ask for an interview (usually through skype) to candidates shortlisted for admission.
If you have applied to the entrance exams you will have to sit for the exams (written and oral) in Trieste.
If you have applied to the entrance exams in the Astrophysics Ph.D., since there is a fixed number of candidates that can be interviewed, you will have to wait for an email invitation to the oral exam.

  • When and how will I know the results?

Results of the non-EU preselection are known usually by the end of May and will be communicated by email to each candidate.
Results of the entrance exams are known on the same day of the exams and are publicly available in SISSA, or can be asked by mail to the Students' Secretariat.

  • Is there any Scholarship available?

All admitted candidates will receive a fellowship of the amount of € 1.120,00 net per month. Students with scholarships from other sources (i.e. China Scholarship Council, Vietnam International Education Development, etc.) even of a lower amount are welcome. SISSA will cover the remaining part up to € 1.120,00.

The School may offer, to a small number of candidates not directly admitted to the PhD courses through the preselection for non-EU candidates, a post-graduate fellowship of € 500,00 net plus a contribution towards living expenses of € 150,00 gross and travel allowance of € 1.000,00 maximum in order to participate in the Ph.D. entrance exams that will take place in Summer/Autumn.

  • Are there other allowances?


  • A contribution towards living expenses of the amount of €100,00 gross per month will be awarded to those who will provide a copy of their rental contract
  • A contribution towards the expenses associated with enrollment in the health insurance system of up to € 198,77 per year (non EU students)
  • A contribution up to € 400,00 for the purchase of a laptop
  • A contribution up to € 500,00 for one trip home during the entire course (non-EU students only)
  • A contribution (70% of the amount of the fellowship for up to 5 months) may be awarded to students who are forced to suspend their activity due to illness, maternity or other serious reasons.

  • Are courses held in English? Do I need to know the Italian language?

Teaching and scientific activities are held in English. Both academic and administrative staff can speak English. Knowledge of the Italian language is not necessary.