Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Life Sciences "Camillo Golgi"
Course Coordinator & Office of Graduate Studies
Students' Office
Thematic Areas
The PhD program in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology is part of the Doctorate School in Life Sciences “Camillo Golgi” of the University of Pavia. The objective of the PhD program is the formation of the next generation of leading scientists, able to undertake basic and applied research projects in Biological, Biotechnological and Medical Sciences. The PhD program benefits from the different expertise available from the Faculty members in different areas of research, covering the fields of human, medical and animal genetics, molecular and cellular biology, human pathology, microbiology, virology and plant physiology. The multi-disciplinary nature of the program strengthens a modern approach to the study of biological problems. This integrated approach will promote the formation of young researchers able to tackle challenges that arise from the “new biology”, a modern discipline aimed at a deeper understanding of complex biological phenomena.
Selection & Admission
Selection and admission involve a written and an oral examination (either in Italian or English); only candidates who pass the written examination are admitted to the oral evaluation. At the end of the selection procedure, a ranking order is defined by merit. According to their position in the ranking order, candidates can freely choose the laboratory and the supervisor (among those contributing to the PhD program), with whom to undertake their experimental research activities.
There are also additional positions for non-Italian candidates who are not residents of Italy. These positions are not covered by institutional fellowships (see “Fellowships”). Candidates applying for these positions are not required to participate in the written exam; a Committee evaluates the documentation provided by the candidates, and admits a portion of them to an oral examination. Based on the documentation and the oral exam, the committee defines a separate merit ranking order.
Students' Monitoring
During the three-year program, PhD students carry out a research project under the supervision of a Faculty advisor. Continuous interaction is maintained between students and the Director of the PhD program, in order to solve possible problems arising during the various activities. At the end of each year, students present their experimental work in seminars addressing their fellow students and the Faculty of the Program. Moreover, students must take exams for the courses (see “Training & Education”). Core course exams might be oral or written with questions prepared by the professor(s); for the advanced course exams, students must make public presentations on selected topics covered during the course.
Training & Education
The PhD student training follows a path specific for each student, based on research activities under the direction of a Faculty advisor, and a path common to all students that includes courses and seminars. Two types of courses are organized: core courses for students of year I, II or III (Biostatistics; Bioinformatics; Immunocytochemistry, Optical and Electronic Microscopy Techniques; Scientific English writing) and advanced courses for students of all years, covering the main topics of the PhD program (Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Pathology, Microbiology and Virology). Each course encompasses about 20 hours of lectures. Every year, all core courses are organized together with three advanced courses; students must follow the year-specific core courses and two advanced courses. The CNR Institute of Molecular Genetics organizes the annual "Arturo Falaschi Lecture" on emerging topics in Genetics and Molecular Biology. By October 31st of each year, students must pass exams.
Doctoral Thesis
Upon completion of the three-year program and after having passed all the exams, students are required to present a PhD thesis. The thesis must be written in English and is evaluated by a specific commission composed of four internal and external examiners. If positively evaluated, the thesis is publicly discussed and defended by each candidate.
Institutional three-year fellowships (the number varies each year) are generally offered by the University of Pavia and the Italian “Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca”. Since the institutional fellowships do not cover all the positions available in the program, they are assigned to the top candidates. The other students admitted to the program must be paid through laboratory grants. Foreign candidates applying as non-residents in Italy may be assigned ad-hoc scholarships, or are required to find an institutional sponsor willing to support their stipend for three years, in case they are deemed eligible.
PhD students can spend a period abroad with the approval of the Faculty Committee. A supplement to the fellowship provided by the University or the Ministry will be provided during the period spent abroad.
The duration of the PhD program is three years. A one-year extension may be obtained with the approval of the Faculty Committee.
PhD students, as well as Bachelor and Master level students, can take advantage of the services supplied by the “Ente per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario” of the University of Pavia. Students interested in theses services (e.g. accommodations in University Colleges, canteen facilities, etc.) can visit the website: