Executive PhD & Industrial PhD

Brochure on executive PhD and industrial PhDs:

Industrial PhD

To fund a three-year Industrial Ph.D. scholarship, the company must sign an agreement with the Politecnico di Milano and the Department where the Ph.D. Programme is hosted.
To allow the scholarship to be managed within the Ph.D. public selection calls, the agreement must be signed by 31 January for Ph.D. candidates starting in May, by 31 March for Ph.D. candidates starting in November and by 31 October for Ph.D. students starting in February.
The secretariat of the PhD Programme will provide the instructions on the scholarship types and costs. Scholarship costs vary from € 72,000 to € 80,000 depending on the monthly grant.
There is a tax credit for funded scholarships in Italy, according to the current law.

University-Company joint PhD – Executive PhD

The PhD School of Politecnico di Milano promotes the opportunity to activate paths of joint PhD with companies and external entities (Executive PhD).

  • Employees of companies or external entities who can train, develop and complete a research, holding their job and salary. They can obtain the PhD title at the end of their research path.
  • Newly-graduated candidates recruited by companies or external entities with a contract of apprenticeship in high-training, who have been got in the company gradually while they will carry on their PhD paths. In this case, the duration of the contract of high-training agrees with that one of the cycle of study. The new employees do not have to be beyond 30 years old.

4 years. The actual duration can be arranged between the company and the PhD board of Professors involved. It will depend on the kind of commitment established by the convention.


The PhD path foresees from one side a part of training through courses offered by the PhD programme and the PhD School and from the other side a part of research that can be carried out in the company, in the PhD department or in either organisations. The training path is arranged by both the company and the board of Professors of the involved PhD programme. A part of the training (in particular that one mentioned “core training”) requires the compulsory attendance of the lessons (minimum 20 credits corresponding to about 100 hours of traditional lecture [taught class; the exact number of credits is determined yearly for all PhD candidates and it is reported in the Study Plan for their cycle, see link] and 500 hours of total study to prepare the final exam.


The research issue and the related path for carrying out it are arranged by both the company and by the board of Professors of the PhD programme involved. The path is followed by two supervisors, one belonging to the university , the other one belonging to the company. If the joint PhD path requires the commitment of Department”s resources and/or investments for the development of the research, that will be regulated through a normal research contract between the company and the group responsible for the PhD candidate’s activity.


The PhD executive candidate has to set the PhD path taking into account the company’s vision and the related trends. That seems to give guarantees related to the research-oriented training product linked to the growth of the executive PhD, as well as, according to the conditions of collaboration, to interaction and integration between the university research of the group in which the PhD candidate is involved, and the development and innovation of the company or external entities for which the PhD candidate works. From the employee’s point of view, the above-mentioned employee has the opportunity to exploit a training and growth opportunity, preserving his/her job and salary, with the relating loyalty by the company. From the company”s point of view, the company, through the high-training contract, has the opportunity to recruit, train to research, and loyalize high-quality company’s staff.

  • The company interested in promoting the enrolment of its employees has to contact the Coordinator of the PhD Programme, with the aim of checking whether the training and research offer of the PhD Programme can represent a training opportunity, fitting the objectives of the potential PhD candidates, of the company or external entity and of the PhD programme. A possible supervisor has to be identified in the Department, within the identified research area.
  • The candidates must satisfy the prerequisites for PhD admission listed in http://www.dottorato.polimi.it/en/looking-for-a-phd/call-for-positions-and-scholarships/admission-requirements/
  • The candidates have to be evaluated by the Board of Professors for admission. The Board of Professors may contact applicants for an interview to further discuss the material submitted. The evaluation is made on the basis of the following documents to be sent to the PhD Secretariat ():
    • a curriculum vitæ
    • a PDF report illustrating the development of the PhD research project (minimum 4,000, maximum 8,000 characters).  Templates here.
    • a certificate proving knowledge of English, as specified in the prerequisites
    • motivation letter for the admission to the PhD programme (max 2000 characters)
    • PDF documents relating to all their University certifications 
  • Before the beginning of the PhD course, the PhD Programme/Department and the companies involved agree on the details of the project in co-supervision and arrange the schedule of the joint project, which specifies the research areas, the modalities and the schedule of the training and research path. For the PhD Programme in Information Technology, a contribution to PhD costs of the Department is foreseen. A formal agreement will be signed between the Politecnico di Milano and the company. The template for the documents can be retrieved at Executive PhD agreement template
  • The admitted Executive-PhD candidate has to enroll “without scholarship” and can start on one of the following dates: November 1st, February 1st, or May 1st.
  • The PhD candidate, to obtain the PhD title at the end of the PhD path, will have to keep to the training obligations foreseen by the above mentioned path.


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