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The procedure for graduation is made up of two steps:
  1. Thesis evaluation and defense: in order to be admitted to the final exam for the award of the title, the thesis must be evaluated by two external evaluators and the students are requested to defend their thesis in front of an examination panel (internal and external examiners, see below);
  2. University final exam: if the thesis is positively evaluated, the student is then admitted to the final exam, during which a University appointed panel will official award the title.
The defenses are scheduled during in the period 15 October – 15 November.
This timeline is required in order to respect the University deadlines scheduled for the graduation procedure (which will allow the award of the title during the Graduation Day).

Evaluators and Examiners

Each student will be assigned 2 external evaluators:

  • One will also act as external examiner and come to Milan/Naples to attend the defense along with the internal examiner;
  • The second one will be the external advisor, who will be formally required to provide a short report on the thesis, without attending the defense.
The external examiner should:
  • Belong to a foreign scientific institution (preferentially in Europe and which hosts a PhD program). The choice of overseas or Italian examiners is discouraged.  Exceptional and motivated cases can be submitted for further consideration.
  • Be an expert in the field
  • Not have any publication in common with the student and/or his/her group in the last 5 years

The internal examiner should:

  • Be a faculty member different from the internal advisor
  • Not be necessarily an expert in the field
  • Not have any direct collaboration with the student
  • Not be a previous member of the student’s group

The examiners must be chosen based on the rules given above, and be first contacted by the supervisor to verify his/her availability to act as an examiner.
Names and contact details of the examiners must be provided to the SEMM Graduate Office, who will then write to the nominated examiners formally confirming the appointment and scheduling the date of the thesis defense.

Delivery of the thesis to the SEMM Graduate Office

The thesis must be delivered to the SEMM Graduate Office as a .pdf file. Any non-print items (e.g. video) must be provided, along with the thesis, on a suitable support.
The deadline to deliver the thesis is strictly one month prior the defense.
Any postponement must be properly motivated and authorized by the Educational Committee members. If granted, the postponement will be anyway noted on a proper section of the examination and evaluator report.
The SEMM Graduate Office will then deliver the theses to the examiners and to the external advisor.

Thesis defense

Public seminar
The students will present their data in a public seminar with a 30-40 minutes’ talk plus a 10-20 minutes’ discussion.
Oral examination
The oral examination usually lasts between two to three hours depending on the nature of the thesis. The examiners must be satisfied that the thesis is original work and that meets the criteria for the award of the degree.
The students will be given the opportunity to comment on any adverse points and on any revisions that the examiners intend to recommend.

Thesis evaluation

The external examiner and the external advisor will write a report on the thesis asking for one of the following:
  • No amendments / Corrections of typographical errors
  • Minor amendments (ex. Minor review of paragraphs, Bibliography and abbreviations).
  • Substantial amendment (ex. More details in a paragraph, Add tables, figures, references).
  • Major revision of the thesis (i.e., the thesis should be re-written, including additional research work, if needed).
    In case of major revisions, the student cannot be admitted to the University final exam (Graduation Day) and will be asked to resubmit a new thesis within a deadline recommended by the examiners (2-6 months). Accordingly, a new date for the University final exam will be scheduled for the student.

Delivery of the final version of the thesis

Made exception for the major revision case, all the other students are requested to submit the final thesis as a pdf file (including all requested amendments, if any) by the second week of January.
The thesis must be both submitted to the SEMM Graduate Office and uploaded on the UNIMI Online Archive (AIR).

The Graduation Day

An Assessment Board appointed by the University of Milan will evaluate the thesis taking into account the recommendations given by the evaluators, and finally award the title during the Graduation Day.
During the Graduation Day the students will be asked to give a 10 minutes’ talk .
The Graduation Day is the same for all the students of that year and is usually scheduled in the last week of January. Participation is mandatory in order to be awarded with the title.

Award of the PhD title

The title is awarded by the Vice-Chancellors of the University of Milan and Naples upon the recommendation of the Assessment Board. In the title and the certificate the corporate/scientific role of the European School of Molecular Medicine is formally mentioned.