Political Studies


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Mission and Partners


The complexity of contemporary political processes – the discrepancy between institutional and policy designs and their outcomes, the changes in the political behavior deriving from new forms of communication, the always stricter intersection between the domestic and international sphere, the ethical dilemmas involved by all these dynamics – and their interpretation require the mastering of specific knowledge and methods.

In order to address these challenges, the Graduate School in Social and Political Sciences organizes a doctoral programme in Political Studies where the empirical-positive tradition and the theoretical-normative school are integrated coherently.

The aim of the doctoral programme in Political Studies is to train highly-skilled professionals who can undertake research within academic institutions, think tanks and research centers, as well as provide consultancy for political, economic, public or private organizations at the national and international levels.

Thanks to the partnership with other Italian universities and the thick network of connections with experts and foreign institutes, the Ph.D. in Political Studies offers a two-levels training programme. First, the acquisition of a common background on the most up-to-date knowledge and methods in the field of political science and political philosophy. Second, a more personalized training subdivided in four main paths of specialization, and the possibility to experiment cross-curricular paths linking together traditionally unrelated disciplines.

The path on Institutions and Public Policy focuses on the analysis of contemporary political systems and their related issues, such as the functioning of parliaments, governments, and other political institutions at the national, local and European levels, the definitions of welfare programmes, the evaluation of public policies, the processes of democratization.

The path on International Studies aims to provide the tools to interpret the international dimension of politics and the processes of mutual conditioning between the domestic and external spheres by discussing the main themes of the theory of International Relations, and analyzing the most important sub-regional systems and the main international actors' foreign policies.

The path on Public Opinion, Political Communication and Political Behavior delves into the analysis of the electoral processes, the role that the main actors involved – such as political parties and candidates – play, their strategies of communication with the citizens, and how the latter build, express and translate into electoral behaviors their attitudes towards politics.

The path on Political Theory offers an in-depth study of the main paradigms that orient the contemporary debate on political philosophy, normative political theory, and applied ethics, and provides the necessary competences to build political arguments, evaluate their theoretical and practical implications, elaborate conceptual frameworks to treat politically relevant issues. For further information about research activities and initiatives in political theory promoted by the teaching staff of the path, please visit the website of the Political Theory Project.


A more detailed list of research topics and possible supervisors within POLS is available here:

POLS Research topics



Department of Social and Political Sciences - SPS (University of Milano)
Department of Political and Social Sciences (University of Pavia)

POLS cooperates also with
ASERI - Post-graduate School of Economics and International Relations (Catholic University of Milan)

PhD Programmes


Other Training Activities

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