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Doctoral Programme

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Applications for the 2018-19 academic year (starting 1 September 2018) will open on 2 November 2017. The annual application deadline is 31 January.

#MyEUIExperience - EUI Ph.D. Researchers' Testimonials


I feel that I am a completely different person to the one that joined the EUI several years ago. For the purposes of my Ph.D., I’ve found that the EUI’s interdisciplinary nature has truly enhanced and enriched my research. In particular, it has enabled me to build a strong network with people within the academic world. This has had benefits for my thesis and for my future career. Alongside this academic training, I’ve found that the people I have met, worked and talked with at the EUI have further developed me. I now think about and discuss topics that I hadn’t really concerned myself with before. My time at the EUI has given me a different view on the world and an amazing experience. It is almost too good to be true. I’m not studying Florence or Italian art and yet, here I am, living in this beautiful city and completing my EUI Ph.D. I still wake up each morning and think, this is wonderful!

   Cloe Cavero, final-year researcher in the Department of History and Civilization (Spain)


In my experience, one of the biggest challenges during your first year is to find the right balance between working on your own project, engaging in other academic activities, and investing in your personal life. There is so much on offer at the EUI - seminars, working group meetings, small jobs, and conferences, to name just a few - that you can easily spend all your time doing things that are very interesting, but that may not necessarily advance your own research. Learning to assess what is relevant, and saying no to the rest, is a very important skill. 
This will also leave you more time to invest in building your new life here, which is equally important. Take an active role in organising and attending events with fellow researchers, and especially with your own cohort. These are the people you will spend the next four years with, so make sure you get to know them - and their work! After all, they will not also become your friends, but also your academic peers.

  Feike Fliervoet, second-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Sciences (The Netherlands)

In terms of their Ph.D., I would tell a new researcher to have the courage to talk to the professors and their peers about their ideas. Such exchanges are crucial in order to develop your project. Moreover, the EUI constantly organises interesting lectures and workshops in a broad variety of fields to boost your academic literacy. This allows you to focus on your own research, while at the same time learning a lot about other fields of interest, like internet governance, the banking union, TTIP, or Brexit.
I would remind a new researcher that they are about to live in Tuscany, so they should make the most of their beautiful surroundings. Try to take the occasional break from your studies to explore the nearby countryside, seaside, towns and cities!
Finally, I would encourage a new researcher to get involved in life at the EUI. For example, I organised a Dutch King’s Day party on campus, which was great fun and raised money for the EUI’s Welfare and Social Fund, a researcher–managed initiative to subsidise cultural activities and support those in need. Fiasco, the campus bar, often holds national or theme events and they are a great way to meet new people and relax. So I would tell a new researcher to come to one of these parties, even if you can’t dance!.

 Kinanya Pijl, second-year researcher in the Department of Law (The Netherlands)



Socially, my best moment, so far, relates to football. I currently play for the EUI team, which is great fun and we take part in a local league. Last year, I was involved in organising the EUI’s annual football tournament, Coppa Pavone. Of course there were lots of details to arrange but the eventual outcome – with the EUI community involved in either playing or watching for two weeks, while enjoying a barbeque each night – was simply fantastic. There has also been an ongoing legacy several of my female friends now meet and play weekly, with the aim that next year’s Coppa Pavone Femminile will have twice as many teams taking part as last year.
On an academic level, my best moment must be when I was initially accepted onto the Ph.D. programme after first joining the EUI, straight from my undergraduate studies, to undertake my Masters in Law. As well as being an exciting new chapter in my career, being accepted onto the Ph.D. programme confirmed my own feeling of how far I had progressed in such a short time at the EUI. Being in this environment where I could talk to other researchers about my ideas and have regular contact with my supervisor, as well as other professors, meant that I really grew academically. I am now excited for the challenging, yet rewarding, process of developing my research over the next three years.

 Oliver Garner, second-year researcher in the Department of Law (UK)



To produce your thesis, you need to read, gather materials and write. And it is easy to get bogged down in your own research. However, at the EUI, there are also many seminars that you can attend that allow you to engage with fields outside of your own interest. This is something I would encourage new EUI researchers to invest in. It allows you to see your work with new eyes and can give you different tools to better understand problems within your own research.
I would also recommend making the most of the considerable research grants and additional support available in the Department. I did so during the first three years of my Ph.D., and it made a real difference to the scope of my project. As well as several research missions, I was able to spend significant periods away from the EUI, working with scholars at Columbia University and the EHESS in Paris. In addition, when I needed to learn Persian in order to access certain materials for my thesis, the EUI made it possible for me to study the language in Iran. With these resources, the hills of Fiesole felt very much connected to wherever my research was taking me.

 Uroš Zver, final-year researcher in the Department of History and Civilization (Slovenia/Netherlands)



Undertaking your Ph.D. is going to be a challenge at any institution. You will be developing an independent research project, that you complete through your own initiative and hard work. And you know that no one is going to write your paper for you or read a particularly boring article on your behalf! 
However, at the EUI, the process of producing your Ph.D. is made easier and much more bearable by the fantastic environment around you. Being part of a small community of research scholars allows you to discuss ideas, thoughts and concerns with your fellow researchers and professors. Such a support network is invaluable! Just popping to the bar, for example, means you can bump into a friend who is dealing with similar issues or going through the same difficulties. Plus the beautiful Tuscan countryside, all around you, certainly helps when you finally finish reading that particularly boring article…

 Farida Belkacem, second-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Sciences (France)



I’m now in my fourth year at the EUI and have found my time here to be very rewarding. It has really broadened my horizons to study in such an international environment and to live in another country. I’ve also been given lots of opportunities, through the EUI, to attend conferences around the world. All of this experience can only benefit my future career.
However, I always find the start of the new term in September to be one of my favourite moments within the academic year. It is great to finally meet all the new researchers who are just arriving. Everyone is always so excited to be at the EUI and eager to talk about their future research projects. There is a lot of new energy and enthusiasm around, and it gives my own work a boost to be surrounded by this.

 Anders Aagaard, fourth-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Sciences (Denmark)



My EUI experience has made me much more confident about my research and my ideas. When I first started here, like many other new researchers, I came from my Masters where much of my work had been heavily guided by my supervisor. However, doing a Ph.D. is a step further, where you are given more time to undertake independent research and thinking.
At the EUI, I have my thesis supervisor and other professors that I can talk to but I also value this opportunity to become more autonomous, to closely research my ideas and to try to find solutions. This means that, when I meet with professors, I find that I am more sure of myself, more able to defend my arguments, and more confident about the work that I am undertaking as a researcher at the EUI.

 Chiara Santantonio, second-year researcher in the Department of Economics (Italy)



Before joining the EUI, aside from an Erasmus exchange, I had not lived outside Germany. In fact, I never imagined going abroad for my Ph.D. until a professor at my previous university recommended the EUI. Moving to Florence was already a big change for me.  However my EUI experience, so far, has changed me in that I now think about issues from a more international perspective. Here I mix with people from different backgrounds and different experiences, which has really broadened my mind. Everyone at the EUI is very passionate about their research and we have high quality discussions about our work, not just in our seminars where we are actively encouraged to question topics. I find it really inspiring to be undertaking my Ph.D. in such an environment.

Simon Skipka, second-year researcher in the Department of Economics (Germany)



I knew someone who had studied at the EUI and then, at my old university, my advisor recommended the institution too. So I checked the EUI website, and saw that the faculty and research topics covered suited my interests. I had never visited Florence before but I had heard good things about it. Of course, when I finally arrived in Florence, I understood why I had heard good things about it!
As I was then in Argentina, I was given my Ph.D. application interview over the telephone. This isn’t usual but it was a good experience, allowing me to ask questions and giving the EUI faculty the opportunity to introduce the institution to me. When I was offered a place and I told my family and friends, they were all very excited that I would get this wonderful chance to study in a top European university. During my time at the EUI, I’ve also been able to undertake an exchange in Wisconsin and work at the Bank of England, which were both great opportunities but living in Florence is simply amazing. It is the best place that I have ever lived (well, apart from my home town, of course!).

 Alejandro Vicondoa, final-year researcher in the Department of Economics(Spain)



I joined the EUI after my undergraduate studies in Turkey and an LL.M. in London. I had then been working at my old university in Istanbul on intellectual property law, when a previous professor suggested I think about doing a Ph.D. and recommended the EUI. If I was describing my EUI experience to a new researcher with just one word, then that one word would probably be busy! For example, in my first year, as well as settling into a new life here in Florence with my wife, I took part in a lot of extra-curricular activities that helped me meet people and really feel a part of the EUI. All of this was, of course, alongside my own research. However, whenever I have felt overwhelmed by the work that I have in front of me, I have always spoken to my supervisor. He has been a real support, providing a listening board for my ideas, as well as answering any concerns that I have. I really appreciate the calming guidance provided by him and by other professors at the EUI. Overall, I would tell a new researcher that I was really pleased to be offered a place at the EUI and that I’m really happy with my decision to study here. The EUI, and Italy, has really become my second home.

 Kayahan Cantekin, third-year researcher in the Department of Law (Turkey)



I would tell a new researcher to take time to discover the many opportunities, offered by the EUI, that they can benefit from. As a research-strong community, you will find that meeting with other researchers and with your professors results in a fruitful exchange of ideas. Joining working groups within your own department allows you to further discuss and share your work.
I have also found other events and activities, available through the EUI, to be helpful in developing my project and raising my profile. I’ve attended a number of conferences, for example, which allowed me to gain experience in talking about my work, as well as meet new people in my field. Such experiences, during my time at the EUI, have helped to greatly increase my confidence about my own research and my future career direction..

 Florian Idelberger, third-year researcher in the Department of Law (Germany)



When you say that you want to do a Ph.D., most people tell you that it will be a lonely experience. However, that simply isn’t the case at the EUI!  Despite being a relatively small community, there are lots of events to attend – public lectures, conferences and social activities – which are great opportunities to get to know everyone. You can get interdisciplinary feedback on your work from fellow researchers, professors, post-docs and visitors to the EUI. Such exchanges further the development of your own research, as well as your general knowledge. And being funded for four years gives you the time to work on your contribution to your field. You don’t have to just jump straight into your thesis, you can further explore and even change your original ideas. I believe this allows you to produce a more thoughtful and higher quality piece of research. I still find it amazing that I can just go for lunch at the EUI bar and interact with people studying in different fields and coming from very different backgrounds to me. I studied away from my home country for both my undergraduate degree and my Masters. However, the EUI remains one of the most international and social places that I have ever experienced.


  Diana Roxana Galos, second-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Sciences (Romania)


A Ph.D. in history is often considered to be a solitary activity, where you may spend quite a bit of time alone in the archives and become buried in your research. However, that is not the case at the EUI, and this has really changed the way that I work and how my project has developed. Here at the EUI, I have been given an opportunity to enjoy intense, intellectual exchange with my professors and my peers. Seminars and workshops have further allowed me to discuss and exchange ideas, as have social events or simply going for coffee with a fellow researcher. This continuous feedback and exchange has helped me to widen my scope and enrich my view on many aspects, both academic and personal. I feel very privileged to be studying in such a dynamic environment.


  Heloisa Rojas Gomez, second-year researcher in the Department of History and Civilization (Poland)




If I were to go back in time to before I joined the EUI, then I would tell myself to look forward to a good work-life balance in Florence! I did not expect this when I was thinking of doing my Ph.D., as I assumed my days would simply be taken up with independent research and attendance at seminars or workshops. In reality, at the EUI, I find I have been given the quality time to engage intellectually with my thesis but still take part in activities outside of academia. I believe this balance supports and enforces my research work. 

I find that my interests outside of my studies, such as hiking or running, give me the energy to return to my project. Plus, when I spend my free time undertaking such outdoor sports, I can still be thinking about ideas and development for my research. Of course, it is down to each individual to work out how to balance their studies and their social life but I have found a good equilibrium here at the EUI. This has enriched my EUI experience immensely.

 Shpend Kursani, second-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Sciences (Kosovo)


The EUI have given me a new direction in both my academic and my personal life. Academically, I’ve found it useful to change my environment and study at a new institution. The EUI’s Department of Political and Social Sciences has introduced me to new approaches and strands within the discipline, and thus broadened my intellectual outlook. In addition, being able to work with both political scientists and sociologists, in the same department, has made me a more interdisciplinary researcher within the social sciences. I’ve been given a great luxury - the freedom to choose, develop and even change my own research topic, with guidance from the supportive professors here.  

On a personal note, joining the EUI means I’ve also become part of a new community and this change has introduced me to new colleagues and friends. Together we were all starting at a new institution that, for most of us, was also in a new country. So we were all discovering this different place, academically and socially, together

Mathilde Maria van Ditmars, fourth-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Sciences (The Netherlands)


You will find studying at the EUI to be a truly special experience. Firstly, I really enjoy the opportunity to constantly interact with people from all four departments. I find the EUI to be extraordinary in this respect. We are all postgraduates, whose research is related to the social sciences and often with a focus on European issues. For this reason, we find ourselves examining similar problems, from different angles. For example, through my involvement with ADEMU (A Dynamic Economic and Monetary Union, an interdisciplinary research project where the EUI has a leading role), I had the chance to discuss work done by EUI law researchers, thus gaining a deeper understanding of the legal challenges that the recent proposals on European integration may bring about. Indeed, as an economist, I approach research topics from an economic perspective, but being part of the EUI has enabled me to explore alternative viewpoints. 

I would also tell a new researcher that your EUI experience is not just about your studies. There is a vibrant community here and a lot to get involved with. Joining the EUI rowing club gave me the chance not only to train under Ponte Vecchio in Florence, but also to participate in the Venetian Vogalonga with the Badia Fiesolana, our EUI boat. Vogalonga is a long rowing race starting from the centre of Venice, and going through the lagoon and back up the Grand Canal. I would never have rowed a boat in Venice had I not been part of the EUI!

Last but not least, there is the location. In my opinion, the best view of Florence is from our EUI villas. Very few universities have such an amazing home and I believe that good ideas can be helped to fruition in a stunning environment, which the EUI definitely has!

 Anna Rogantini Picco, third-year researcher in the Department of Economics (Italy)



There have been many good moments, so far, during my EUI experience. Academically, I really enjoyed running pilot experiments in the workshops during my first year. I got such great feedback on my work, learned a lot and had fun. 

Socially, the final week of Coppa Pavone, the EUI’s annual football tournament which coincides with the June Ball, was fantastic. There was a great atmosphere on campus and when one of my friends described it as similar to the Quidditch World Cup Final, I knew exactly what she meant! I had great fun playing football and I would suggest new researchers, about to join the EUI, get involved too. It’s a brilliant way to be part of the EUI community and we’re always on the look out for new players, especially female ones!

 Essi Kujansu, second-year researcher in the Department of Economics (Finland)



I did my undergraduate degree in the UK and then studied in East Asia. So I joined the EUI having spent several years outside of Europe and yet my advice to myself now, when I first started at the EUI, would be to show greater sensitivity to the different academic and cultural backgrounds of those around me. My British training, for example, was to raise questions and be direct in seminars but I’ve found that other European academic cultures operate in a different way. Sharing both aspects of this academic style has been a significant and enriching way to develop my work. I would also tell myself to be more confident speaking a language other than English. English is obviously my mother tongue but others at the EUI are working in this as a second language and it can seem daunting, at first, to meet people here who speak two, three or more languages. I’ve pushed myself to develop my linguistic abilities, so I can have real discussions and debate in a second and third language. It has taken time but now I would say to myself, when starting my EUI experience, not to worry. Language ability seems like a big deal but with practice and the confidence to have a go, you’ll get there in the end!

  Nick Mithen, third-year researcher in the Department of History and Civilization (United Kingdom)


I would tell a new researcher, when first applying to the EUI, to prepare carefully and to be really passionate about his or her research theme. I had initial ideas for my research proposal and talked these over with some of my former professors. Such discussions further shaped the proposal that I eventually submitted with my Ph.D. application form. Then, before my EUI interview, I also took a lot of time to shape and put together my presentation, and I was obviously pleased with the successful outcome! Undertaking my Ph.D. at the EUI has allowed me to grow academically and professionally, to learn about different viewpoints and perspectives, and to undertake independent research. Personally, I think the EUI provides wonderful conditions for study and I can’t think of a better location to be inspired than the beautiful hills of Tuscany. I had been doing a job that I enjoyed, that offered me fantastic experiences and chances to travel, but I always had thoughts about doing a Ph.D. in the back of my mind. Then along came this wonderful opportunity to study at the EUI!

   Aderito Vicente, second-year researcher in the Department of Political and Social Science (Portugal)


The EUI provides this environment where your opinion is valued, where you are free to argue and discuss your work with your peers, on an equal footing. Such discussion is supported by the many interesting events here, such as seminars, conferences and working groups, that enable further conversations between researchers, professors and visiting fellows. In my first year, I probably attended too many of these events actually! However it all ensured that my EUI experience, so far, has made me much more confident about my work and how I approach my research topic, in a much broader overview. Of course, not all exchanges take place in such a formal setting. I’ve discovered a good work-life balance here, especially since I joined the EUI rowing club. There is a real sense of community at the EUI and these social activities enable further exchanges amongst researchers from all departments. Plus, when I went rowing for the first time in this new academic year, I felt very happy to be back on the water in fantastic Florence, with good friends all around me. I remembered how lucky I am to be in this stimulating environment. 

  Christy Ann Petit, second-year researcher in the Department of Law (France)

Why Choose the EUI Doctoral Programme?

  • Join our culturally diverse academic community – study alongside more than 900 scholars from over 60 countries
  • Develop your intellectual curiosity – well-structured Ph.D. programmes that enable original research in four disciplines 
  • A dynamic multi-lingual environment – work predominantly in English, while enjoying our view on the beautiful city of Florence
  • Fully-funded four-year Ph.D. programmes – approximately 150 scholarships offered annually
  • Be part of an international professional network – our alumni hold positions in academia (69%), international organisations (12%), national institutions (6%) and the private sector (4%)*

 *Alumni Destination Survey (2014).

EUI Ph.D. Brochure

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Page last updated on 29 May 2017