PhD Programs

Training the next generation of research scientists

Join us at TIGEM

TIGEM offers three distinct PhD programmes to motivated and talented students who wish to pursue a career in scientific research:

  • Genomic and Experimental Medicine with the Scuola Superiore Meridionale
  • Human Genetics with the Open University
  • Systems Medicine with the European School of Molecular Medicine
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Become part of TIGEM’s ground-breaking and collaborative research environment

All three PhD programmes offered at TIGEM are held to internationally accredited standards and are open to both domestic (Italian) and international students.

Successful completion of the Open University programme confers a British PhD degree, while the SSM and SEMM programmes both confer Italian PhD degrees.

The duration of the SSM and SEMM programmes is 4 years, while the Open University Programme is 3 (expandable to 4) years.

We recommend that prospective students consider their career-related goals when deciding which programme is right for them. For example, the Open University programme may suit international students who wish to temporarily locate to Italy for the duration of their graduate studies, or equally may appeal to Italian students who want to continue their research career abroad after conferral of their PhD.

The teaching language of all three programmes is English. All applicants must have proof of proficiency in the English Language, certified to (at least) B2 level.

How are TIGEM PhDs Structured?


Students conduct independent research in one of the TIGEM laboratories, these fall into one of our three main research programmes: Cell Biology and Disease Mechanisms, Genomic Medicine, and Molecular Therapy.

Data Clubs

Data Club is a weekly meeting at which the PhD students and young researchers at TIGEM present their data. Every PhD student at TIGEM must present their research annually at Data Club. This is a great opportunity for students to develop their presentation skills, explain the scientific significance of their work, and describe how their findings fit into the wider field.


Students are not expected to face the challenge of completing a PhD alone. They are supported, monitored and mentored by fellow lab members, supervisors, and the TIGEM Scientific Training Coordinator.


TIGEM regularly invites internationally renowned guests to deliver seminars and present their research. These seminars allow students to expand their research interests, explore other aspects of scientific research, and learn about different techniques. Our guest speakers are always hugely inspiring to our students and provide them with new ideas and a passion for science.

PhD Progress

Students are required to submit an annual report to present their progress and possible issues. They annually meet a Thesis Committee, which is appointed to give constructive criticism and feedback.


Students attend compulsory classes during years 1-3 of their PhD. These classes provide a comprehensive overview of Biology and ensure that all students understand the central aspects of TIGEM’s research, allowing them to effectively collaborate together. In addition to scientific courses, students also receive soft skills courses on career planning and presentations.

How to Apply

Further information on the Genomic and Experimental Medicine (GEM) course, provided by TIGEM in collaboration with the Scuola Superiore Meridionale, can be found at the SSM website. The annual call for PhD applications is typically announced on the SSM website in May, deadline in July-August, program start in October. Applicants are required to complete an online application form in which they must provide a curriculum vitae, copy of scientific publications (if applicable), a motivational letter, a brief scientific report of previous research, and supporting reference letters. Applications must be made via the SSM website.

Further information on the Human Genetics course, provided by TIGEM in collaboration with the Open University, can be found at the Open University website.
Students are required to fill and submit the ‘Application Form’, which is available here. Applications must be accompanied by two reference letters written using the ‘Reference Letter Template’ available here.

Further information on the Systems Medicine course, provided by TIGEM in collaboration with the European School of Molecular Medicine, can be found at the SEMM website. The annual call for PhD applications is typically announced in mid-June, deadline mid-July, program start in October. Applications are required to complete an online form which details the candidates educational record, their previous degree thesis, possible publications and work experiences, and personal motivations for application. It is also necessary to provide two reference letters. Applications must be made via the SEMM website.


The required criteria for all three PhD programmes are identical.

  • Applicants must hold either an Italian Laurea Magistrale/Specialistica or an equivalent Master of Science degree granted by an accredited university or college before matriculation.
  • Applicants currently completing their studies are also eligible to apply, provided that they receive their degree before the official start of the PhD Programme. Applicants must possess a good knowledge of professional English. Knowledge of the English Language should be certified with (at least) a B2 level certificate.
  • Master of Science degrees in any of the following disciplines are suitable for application to our PhD programmes: Biochemistry – Bioinformatics – Biological Sciences – Biomedical Engineering – Biotechnology – Chemistry – Dentistry – Electrical Engineering – Human Nutrition Sciences – Medicine – Natural Sciences – Pharmacy – Physics – Veterinary Medicine

Admission to our PhD programmes is a competitive process. Students must demonstrate the determination and capacity to excel in their PhD studies in the TIGEM research environment.

Selection and Admission

After the application deadlines, applications to all three courses are collated and screened by TIGEM’s Examination Board. Each candidate is scored according to the information provided in the first stage of the application. Those reaching or surpassing the required threshold are then invited to the second stage of the application process.

The next stage of the application process usually comprises a written exam and an interview, both held in English. The examination is designed to assess both the students’ potential and their knowledge of English.

Successful students will be informed of their acceptance via official channels, i.e. TIGEM and/or awarding bodies website.

All three PhD programmes begin in October-November, in line with the academic year.

Research Lines

All the PhD Students will work in a TIGEM laboratory, affiliated to one of the three research strategic programs: Cell Biology, Genomic Medicine, or Molecular Therapy.


General Inquiries
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