Doctoral Student Handbook
Art. 1 Structure of the doctoral program
The duration of the doctoral program in Computer Science is three years.
During the first year the following activities will take place, in the following order:
- The doctoral student starts his/her program by satisfying the pre-doctoral coursework requirements, if any, (see art. 2) and by taking some of the courses for the doctoral coursework requirements (art. 3);
- The student selects the dissertation advisor (art. 4);
- The faculty of the doctoral program assigns a review committee to each student, called review committee (art. 5);
- The student presents his/her dissertation proposal to the review committee (art 6. sub. 1).
During the second year the student will:
- complete any remaining pre-doctoral coursework requirements and complete the basic part of the doctoral coursework requirements (art 3 sub. 1);
- present an overview of his/her current research work (art. 6, sub 2).
During the third year,
- the student will complete the advanced part of the doctoral coursework requirements (art. 3, sub 2);
- the student will complete the dissertation (art. 6)
- the review committee will evaluate her/his dissertation (art 6 sub 3).
Art. 2: Pre-Doctoral Coursework Requirements
At the beginning of the first year, the doctoral program faculty examines the academic curricula of those students who do not have a Master of Science (MS) or equivalent, in Computer Science, received from a School of Sciences or Engineering, to determine whether their background is lacking in one or more of the following core areas:
For each area identified as lacking, the faculty assigns to the student a course from one of the undergraduate programs (Laurea in "Informatica" or "Informatica Multimediale") offered by the School of Sciences of the Università degli Studi di Verona. The student will satisfy the requirement by receiving at least a passing grade in the assigned course(s). He/she can take the assigned course(s) at most twice. If a student does not complete the assigned courses before the end of the second year, he/she will not be admitted to the third year.
- Algorithms and Foundations
- Architectures and Systems
Art. 3: Doctoral Coursework Requirements
Students are required to obtain a passing grade in at least six courses, each with a minimum of twenty hours of lectures. Each course gives the student one academic credit. Courses must include two "basic" or lower-level graduate courses and four research seminars or upper-level graduate courses:
- Basic Courses or lower-level graduate courses
these courses are divided into two areas:
- "Theory", including languages, algorithms, and foundations
- "System", including multimedia, human computer interaction, artificial intelligence, robotics, computer systems and architectures.
A doctoral student can take any lower-level graduate course (Laurea Magistralis) as basic course. A member of the doctoral faculty can offer a course addressing the basic credits, but the doctoral faculty shall not develop courses each year and shall not indicate the courses admissible as basic courses.
A student shall not take, as a basic course, a class having a content to a large degree equivalent to a course taken during his/her previous academic career. This assessment is carried out by the Doctoral Faculty Coordinator, together with the student, when the student declares the courses selected. The satisfactory completion of the course can be verified either by following the standard evaluation procedure for that course, or by agreeing with the course instructor on a specific exam form. Each doctoral student shall achieve one credit for each of the two areas, by receiving a passing grade in the selected courses. If this requirement is not fulfilled by the end of the second year, the student will not be admitted to the third year of the doctoral program. The student can obtain the required academic credits also by attending equivalent courses offered by other universities, in Italy or elsewhere, provided that he/she obtains the approval in advance by the doctoral faculty.
- Research Seminars or upper-level graduate courses
The doctoral student with his/her research advisor shall identify four such courses relevant to his/her research. Research seminars for the doctoral program are given by faculty members, possibly upon invitation by the doctoral faculty or the doctoral students. When proposing a research seminar or upper-level graduate course, the faculty member should indicate the course organization, the duration in terms of number of hours (at least 20h), and the course syllabus. The research course can also follow, and be in sequence with, a lower-level graduate course. To achieve a passing grade, students may present a report, give a seminar, or adhere to the specific requirements suggested by the course instructor. A research course can be:
- offered locally,
- offered by another doctoral program (in Italy or abroad),
- offered during a doctoral school (in Italy or abroad).
When the course is taken during a doctoral school that does not require a final examination, the passing grade will be given after an examination by one of the doctoral program faculty. The attendance of research seminars offered outside the School of Science of the Università degli Studi di Verona must be approved in advance by the doctoral faculty (or by the doctoral program coordinator, if so appointed by the faculty). All credits for research seminars shall be acquired before the end of the third year, otherwise the student may be expelled from the doctoral program.
Art. 4: Dissertation Advisor
Within the month of June of the first year of the program, each doctoral student shall select his/her dissertation advisor. The advisor must be a member of the doctoral faculty. The advisor shall guide the student's research. The doctoral faculty will ensure that each student will have a faculty member as advisor.
Art. 5 Review Committee
At the end of the first year of the program, the doctoral faculty assigns a review committee to each student (whose members can change over time), consisting of the dissertation advisor and two other faculty members. The goal of the review committee is to evaluate the student research and summarize the results of the evaluation to the doctoral faculty. In particular, the review committee will:
- review and evaluate the presentation of the dissertation proposal,
- review and evaluate the second year dissertation report.
Art. 6 Doctoral Dissertation
The doctoral dissertation is a written document that the student must prepare during his/her second and third year in the program. The dissertation must be written in English, and must be an original scientific contribution. The scientific findings presented in the dissertation can be the result of collaborative work.
- Dissertation proposal
During the period 15 September - 15 November of the first year, the student must present his/her dissertation proposal. The proposal shall be written in English, and shall consist of a paper, written using the IEEE conference format, of at most 12 pages of length. The proposal must include:
- state of the art of the research area,
- formulation of the original research work proposed,
- satisfactory bibliographical references.
The student shall present the proposal in a 45-minute talk. If the proposal does not receive a positive evaluation by the review committee, the student shall revise the proposal and present it again within two months after the original presentation. If the new proposal is still considered insufficient, the student will be expelled from the program.
- Second year dissertation report
During the period 15 September - 15 November of the second year, each student shall present the current status of his/her research during a 45-minute talk.
- Dissertation discussion and evaluation
During the period 15 September - 15 November of the third (or fourth, in case a fourth year has been requested) year the student shall give a 45-minute talk to present the results of his/her research to the review committee. In case of negative evaluation, the review committee asks the student to request an additional year to complete her/his work. In case of positive evaluation:
- the dissertation will be reviewed by two external referees, one of whom based at an institution outside of Italy, and appointed by the doctoral faculty.
- the referees shall not have written papers with the student and at least one must not have written papers with the dissertation advisor.
- the referees shall have two months time to review the dissertation and to send in their review, which can include revision requests.
- after receiving the referees reviews, the doctoral faculty decides whether the student can proceed to the formal defense, according to the regulations of the Università degli Studi di Verona, or shall be given an additional year to do more work.