The Department of History and Civilization (HEC) offers a distinctive programme of transnational and comparative European history supported by a uniquely international and multicultural faculty.
We provide a structured four-year doctoral programme. In the first year doctoral researchers study historiographical and methodological issues and focus on the in-depth exploration of selected central themes of European history.
In the second, third and fourth years, researchers pursue their individual research, and are invited to present the results of their work in seminars and workshops. Professors direct more specialized research seminars, tailored to the needs of researchers.
The Department provides training in research skills, IC&T and multimedia skills and encourages researchers and fellows to make use of the Language Centre.
Funding is provided for doctoral researchers to go on a mission twice a year to work in archives and libraries. Researchers may also receive financial support to present their work-in-progress at international conferences.
Supervision and Representation
The Supervisor is the most important link with the Department and it is important that researchers establish a sound working relationship from the beginning. Research on the performance of Ph.D. researchers shows that they perform well if the Supervisors expects a lot from them (and we suspect also that Supervisors perform well if their researchers set high standards for them). The Supervisor is the person responsible for advising on academic research, career development and other matters researchers may wish to raise.
If a researcher is unable to resolve any matter satisfactorily with the Supervisor, s/he can discuss it with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies, the Head of Department or the Dean of Studies.
In October, researchers in the Department are asked to elect four students to represent them. The Researchers’ Representatives, or ‘Reps’ for short, see to the rights and interests of researchers. They can be contacted for any issue, either academic or personal. Reps take part in various committees (at the Department as well as at the Institute level) where different aspects of the life in the Institute are discussed and where decisions are made. Among their major responsibilities, they represent researchers at the monthly Departmental Meeting and in the process of selecting new professors.
Research at the Institute is supported by a first class Library and a team of experienced librarians and information specialists. It is a young library (1976), but has nevertheless a better stock of documents in many different formats in all European languages than most national university libraries.
The EUI Library is a ‘hybrid’ library, comprising both traditional resources – books, documents and journals on paper or in microform – and digital resources. The collections include about 2.500 current printed journals of which an excellent collection of history journals in all languages and approximately 1.000.000 volumes available in print, in microforms and online within the Social Sciences and the Humanities.
Most of the Library’s holdings are on open access. Via the library catalogue, the Library provides access to more than 12,000 electronic journals, reference materials, bibliographic and statistical databases as well as many free web-based resources of particular interest for research at the EUI.
The Department of History and Civilization and the Library created the European History Primary Sources (EHPS) portal, an index of scholarly websites that offer online open access to digitized primary sources on the history of Europe.
Researchers have a range of services at their disposal, all of which aim to put information within easy reach: on-demand acquisition of books, generous lending policies, fast document delivery services, interlibrary loan facilities, reference and training courses, a very important yearly quota of free photocopies and prints that could be used inside the library with dedicated multi-tasks printers. Using their own laptops users can access the campus network from many fixed access points throughout the Library and also through the wireless LAN. Accessing the library resource network is also possible from anywhere in the world after being identified as a regular EUI member.
Researchers must have a knowledge of two official languages of the European Union (these include the candidate’s mother tongue, if this is an official language of the European Union). The majority of seminars at the Institute are given in English. Knowledge of Italian is very important for practical and social life in Florence and therefore researchers are recommended to attend the Italian language courses right from the beginning of their stay at the EUI.
The History Department attaches particular importance to the maintenance and promotion of linguistic diversity in all of its activities. The Department encourages both professors and researchers who wish to do so to express themselves not only in English but in French during seminars and other Departmental activities. The use of Italian or of any other language wherever these are comprehensible to most seminar participants is also welcomed. It is not unusual for students in history to have to read literature and archival sources in several languages.
The Language Centre offers intensive courses in September and other less intensive courses throughout the academic year. It organizes public-speaking courses for those who need to improve their conference skills. Researchers who have successfully completed and fulfilled the obligations for language classes are entitled to use language correction services.
Since 1976, more than 500 PhDs have been awarded by the Department of History and Civilization. Our graduates are internationally competitive and win postdoctoral fellowships and appointments in both universities and other sectors. The Academic Service organizes a variety of courses and seminars to help doctoral researchers and postdoctoral fellows in their transition to the labour market. The programme is designed for researchers pursuing an academic career (target of more than two thirds of EUI graduates) but it also offers activities for researchers who wish to be successful in a non-academic profession.
According to the Academic Rules all researchers must reside in Florence throughout the whole period of their scholarship, including the fourth year, if applicable. There are three exceptions to this rule: research missions, exchange programs and leaves of absence.
Apart from the minimum periods (i.e. no longer than one week per term), researchers must obtain the written permission of the supervisor to be absent from the Institute during term-time. Requests should provide appropriate information about the purpose and length of the period of absence.
The Department supports the needs of its researchers in terms of field work and consultation of archives and materials strictly related to their research topic. It cannot however cover all the expenses related to the mission period: the department subsidy is intended to be a substantial material help for the part of the research which is to be developed outside of the Institute.
Researchers in the first three years are allowed up to two research missions per academic year, each lasting up to two months. Missions longer than two months must be authorized by the Entrance Board, upon suggestion of the Department.
First and second-year researchers are expected to concentrate their missions during the mission period: from March 16th until the first week of May and during the summer break. They may be allowed to combine two mission periods into one, if they need to spend an extended period of time in an archive. Third and fourth year researchers can schedule their research missions in a more flexible way, according to their mission plan.
Second, third and fourth-year researchers are entitled to ask for funding for participation in conferences where they will present a paper. They may ask for one conference funding per year.
From the first year of study, researchers can make a request for an exchange programme but they can go on an exchange only after they have successfully passed in June to the second year. The Department of History and Civilization participates in a number of exchange programmes with European and American universities. These programmes are part of a more extensive set of exchange and trainee possibilities. For comprehensive information on the programme and deadlines, consult the webpage of the Academic Service.