About the PhD program in ICT – Frequently Asked Questions


On 23rd April, the IEEE Student Branch Politecnico di Torino, together with the IEEE WIE-AG PoliTO and the IEEE HKN Mu Nu Chapter, and with the help of the coordinators of ICT programs organized the ICT PhD Open Day. In this page, you will find some of the questions asked during and after the live event. The list will be updated every time someone poses a new question. Do not hesitate to contact the coordinators of the PhD programs or the IEEE Student Branch for further information and questions.

About the PhD program in ICT – Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in applying for an ICT PhD program at Politecnico di Torino, but I don’t know any professor from this university, what can I do? 

Contact directly the coordinator of the program you would like to apply for:

The coordinator will be willing to answer, eventually giving you the name of professors who work on a field that is close to your interests. You can also find a list of available topics on the website of the doctoral program:

How important is to know something about the research topic I want to apply for before starting? Do I have to study anything? Is the subject of the PhD research closely related to the Master thesis?

It depends. Usually, students do not have in-depth knowledge (or no knowledge at all) when they start the PhD. In some cases, the PhD program might be started after the thesis period and be focused on the same subject of the MSc thesis. In this case, the PhD student already has some knowledge about the research topic. Surely, even if you did a MSc thesis on the same research topic, your experience is supposed to be completed with self-study (during the PhD) and with other training activities. One of the skills you will improve in your PhD is in fact the ability to study what you need. During the Master’s degree, your professors told you what to study to become what you are (e.g. an engineer). During the PhD, you will be responsible for your knowledge, and you will learn how to learn. Your advisor will help you to organize your learning program. Politecnico di Torino offers several third-level courses for PhD students to deepen or to complete their knowledge. Also, you can attend MSc and BSc classes (if you lack some essential background), courses from other universities, international workshops, and summer/winter schools.

Of course, the background knowledge of the student impacts the career of a PhD, if you choose a project which is far from your background studies, it will be more challenging to align your knowledge with the necessary requirements. Apart from expertise, motivation and commitment are actually the most essential skills you should have. These two abilities are the real requirements to join a PhD, together with good synergy with your advisor. Many students start their PhD in a topic far from their background studies, motivation made them excellent PhD students. Once again, it is crucial that the plan for the PhD is defined with the tutor, who will check whether the existing skills of the student do match with the plan requirements.

How are the publications related to the PhD? Is there any restriction related to the number of publications a PhD student has to carry out?

The number and the quality of publications are the usual metrics used to evaluate research in the world. As a PhD, you will be a researcher, and you will be reviewed according to the papers you will publish in journals and conferences. Publications come in a very natural manner if you are a researcher, publishing is something usual for researchers. Therefore, publishing papers should not be an incredible obstacle to your PhD career. Of course, publishing in some topics is more accessible than others: the number of publications necessary to obtain your PhD is expected to fit well in all the cases. Commitment gives you an excellent chance to easily satisfy the requirements.

Does the PhD give you something you can exploit every day (especially in your future working life, after the university) you would not have otherwise?

PhD is a must if you want to do research and it is an excellent achievement in all the other cases. The PhD is not only a way to acquire profound hard skills, but it also gives you a lot of soft skills which are nowadays a plus for your post-PhD career, either if you want to continue in the academic career or in a private company. 

Politecnico di Torino encourages the acquisition of soft skills through ad-hoc classes and several other opportunities. Some of the soft skills you might improve with a PhD are public speaking, communication, scientific writing, teamwork, teaching. 

PhD will also teach you:

  • How to survive out of your comfort zone. 
  • How to think out of the box.
  • How to read and judge scientific reports. 
  • How to find the value of a scientific study. 

Would you suggest a PhD to a student who did not have yet a practical engineering experience?

Even if you do not have a practical engineering experience, being a PhD student at Politecnico di Torino gives you the chance to improve your knowledge and expertise. It is crucial to have a precise idea of which are the goals of a PhD curriculum and we advise you to contact your possible advisor (or the coordinator) to define a reasonable research plan. This has to be done by taking into account your starting point and the goals you would like to achieve. Remember that there is a training step at the beginning in order to become really familiar with the topics of your research, but also to make you more confident with all the methods and practices of being a researcher.

May I apply to the PhD program even though I have not finished my MSc thesis, and the thesis abstract is not ready yet?

You can apply for a PhD program even if you have not yet earned your Master degree at the application time. In this case, you will be admitted to the selection process under the condition that you will graduate before enrollment (Oct 31). In any case, final graduation marks must be at least 95/110. If you apply without your degree, you must have an average score based on your MSc exams not less than 25/30 (for candidates studying in Italian universities). For foreign candidates, the GRE certificate is required. Please be advised that the ranking for admission is based also on your MSc marks, see next question.

The abstract of the Master’s thesis (In English, max length: 4.000 characters-spaces included) is one of the required documents for the application. Check the list of the documents you have to upload in the Call for application, Art. 6- Application submission. Please note that there are also requirements on English language (certification IELTS 5.0 or equivalent)

I am very interested in the PhD program, but my average score for the Master’s degree is very low. May I join the PhD program?

We suggest to pay attention to all the information in the Call for application. To be admitted to a PhD program you have to pass a selection procedure. This takes into account your academic and scientific resume. Some of the requirements are:

  • Master of Science degree
  • Internationally recognised certificate of English language 
  • Minimum graduation mark or GPA (grade point average) if you are graduated in Italy; GRE score report if you are graduated abroad.

After your application, your curriculum will be evaluated and a ranking will be established (different points are assigned on the basis of your titles, your motivational and interest statement and the recommendation letters). If your score satisfies the requirements, you will be admitted to the interview. In the end, a final ranking list will be defined. According to the Call for Application, the minimum final Master Degree grade for being considered for the PhD is 95/110.

Is it difficult to do a PhD at Politecnico di Torino if you come from another university?

If you come from other universities, you may find detailed information on the procedure to join the PhD on the doctoral school website. Many of the PhD students enrolled at Politecnico are coming also from other universities, both in Italy and abroad.

Of course, you will enter an environment that is different from the one you are used to. But if you work in synergy with your advisor and your research group, all the problems (if any) can be easily managed. The new environment should be seen as an opportunity, not an obstacle. Again, what really matters is your motivation and commitment.


This page is written and maintained by the IEEE Student Branch of Politecnico di Torino. The information is related to the questions posed on 23rd April 2020, in the context of the ICT Open Day. This page is NOT checked NOR updated by the doctoral school of the university. For these reasons, the information on this page can be not up-to-date, especially for what it concerns the application procedure. Be sure to check the official website: