Overview on PhD in Design

Established in 1990, the current PhD programme in Design aims to develop competences and skills to carry out high quality research in design as a specific field of inquiry.

In this respect, candidates will be invited to reflect on:
  • the nature of design, with its aesthetic, performance and meaning values, as well as its capability of being an agent of social change;
  • to strengthen the disciplinary core of design;
  • to develop and share knowledge and tools able to distinguish the designer from other figures involved in design activity.
The PhD programme in Design is structured into various research fields, which correspond to specific research teams within the Design Department.
In order to coordinate research activity over a wide range of topics, teams cluster around three Sections, which are:
  • Design and Cultures
  • Products, Strategies and Services
  • Design for Environments, Landscape and Mobility
(PhD candidates are affiliated to the Section of their Supervisors).


The programme aims at educating researcher who will contribute original knowledge to the field of design by tackling the problems and identifying the potential of contemporary society.

Their contribution may be brought to bear in:
  • creating designs, visions, and proposals (research through design);
  • developing tools and methods for putting these into practice (research for design);
  • developing critical analysis of design and its application domain (research on design).
The Programme proposes different methodologies of research, promotes the attitude to collaborate, and offers opportunities in universities and research centres, design enterprises and public corporate bodies. The disciplinary field is Design. Other fields partially covered are Science and Philosophy, Language Theory, Sociology of Cultural Processes and Communication, History of Art, Science and Technology of Materials, Industrial Engineering, Operations Research, Computer Science.


The programme offers doctoral candidates the following opportunities:
  • to develop an original theme of research, becoming an effective member of a research team;
  • to attend courses and seminars on design, on design research and on research in general, developing skills concerning the discipline of the design, and the profession of the researcher; to attend courses referred to research metodology (both in general and in relation to design), acquiring knowledge and tools for carrying out their research;
  • to attend courses and seminars referred to a specific field of research, developing specialist skills and acquiring specific knowledge for the development of their own research theme;
  • to develop expertise 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.