Admission to the program is granted on a competitive basis and is achieved through the procedures described below.


Right after the deadline a pre-selection will take place. The pre-selection is based on the information included in the application form and in the reference letters submitted. Candidates with excellent academic records, previous research experience related to the main topics of the program and experience abroad are preferred. Candidates with the best scores are shortlisted and invited for the examination.


It will be totally conducted REMOTELY, and consists of:

- a multiple-choice test

It includes 60 questions:

  • 25 questions on general biology: Macromolecules (proteins and nucleic acids, basic structure and function), The prokaryotic cell (general); The eukaryotic cell (biological membranes and organelles, the nucleus, cellular communication); General information on DNA duplication; RNA and transcription; genetic code and protein synthesis; Cell division (mitosis and meiosis), gene definition, allele, character, genotype and phenotype; Mendel's laws; Spontaneous and induced mutations; Gene, chromosomal and genomic mutations.
    Books: any available book that includes these topics will be fine. Some examples of useful books are: Genes (Lewins); Molecular biology of the cell (Alberts); Biology (Campbell).
  • 10 questions on logic: Alphanumeric series; small problems;  logical reasoning.
    Books: any book with logical reasoning examples are fine. Some examples of useful books are: alfa test logics, Critical thinking and problem solving (Butterworth and Thwaites).
  • 25 questions on specific topics reflecting the research areas of the PhD program.
    The candidate will be asked to choose 5 among a list of different sets of 5 questions each, so to compose the final 25 questions that best fit their background and/or interest.

Please note that, on the day of the written test, the different sets of questions can be less, but not more than the ones listed. For some topics, there could be more than one set with different questions.
No specific books are suggested.

- an oral exam

It aims to evaluate the scientific background of the candidates, as well as their motivation to succeed in a demanding program


Personal interviews with the group leaders that offer a position are foreseen after the oral examination.