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Design, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #149 (QS) Milano, Italy
The Design programme from the Politecnico Di Milano aims at educating researcher-designers who will contribute original knowledge to the field of design by tackling the problems and identifying the potential of contemporary society.
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The Phd in Design at Politecnico Di Milano is proposed and coordinated by the Department of Design (with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering. The courses offered aim at training the candidates for the skills needed to carry out high quality research for companies, universities, research centers and other institutions.

The scientific field is Industrial Design. Other fields partially covered are Science and Philosophy, Language Theory, Sociology of Cultural Processes and Communication, History of Art, Design, Science and Technology of Materials, Industrial Engineering, Operations Research, Computer Science.

The Programme from the Politecnico Di Milano offers the doctoral candidates the following opportunities:

  • To develop an original theme of research, becoming an effective member of a research team.
  • To participate in courses (Tools for Research in Design, Research in Design: Academic Case Histories, Design Lessons...) and seminars on design, on design research and on research in general, developing competences concerning the discipline of the design, and the profession of the researcher.
  • To participate in courses and seminars reported to a specific field of research, developing high-level specialist competences and acquiring knowledge and tools for the development of their own theme of research.
  • To be an active part in a didactic programme and, in this way, to understand the relationship between research and didactics, and to develop the ability to clearly and effectively present the contents of their own work.
  • To have an experience in an international research centre to verify the hypotheses, the methodologies and the results of their own work and to consolidate the network of international relationships within which it is situated.
Career Opportunities

The designer-researcher that the Doctoral Programme in Design intends to form is a flexible professional figure. On the one hand he/she is in fact a designer who knows how to make research and a researcher who uses design tools; on the other he/she is also an expert in knowledge management, in constructive interaction among different actors and in communication of ideas and proposals. The whole of these abilities is useful in different working circles. Notably: in the institutions expressly charged with the development of the design research, as universities and research centres; in the design agencies and in the most innovative and design-oriented enterprises; as well as in public corporate bodies, in enterprises of services and in the organizations for the urban and regional development.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses included:
  • Design Research Context and Resources 
  • Design Research Critique 
  • Design Research Methodologies 
  • Design Research Prototypes
  • Scientific Production  

For more information please visit the programme website.


The PhD programme in Design admits candidates with a Master degree or equivalent academic qualification. They must have attended a five-year curriculum at both undergraduate (bachelor) and graduate (master) level. Candidates with academic curriculum in design disciplines are preferred ones.

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

Academic Requirements

  • This programme does not recognise GRE® scores.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General Requirements

Applications may be submitted by Italian and foreign students holding: 

  • a university degree obtained under the educational system in force prior to M.D. n. 509 
  • a Laurea Specialistica (equivalent to a Master of Science) obtained in accordance with M.D.   n. 509 
  • a Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to a Master of Science) obtained in accordance with M.D. n. 270 
  • or similar academic qualifications obtained abroad that are equivalent in terms of duration and contents to the Italian qualifications and previously recognised by the Judging Panels.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Tuition fees on the PhD programmes are abolished.

Living costs for Milano

  • 850 - 1450 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Usually the PhD programme in Design does not accept candidates proposing a topic of their own. A list of preferred topics is decided each year by the Faculty and announced when the call for admission starts. A complete list of the topics is available on the website is available on the website in the section Linee di Ricerca/Research Avenues.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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