After successfully completing the coursework phase, students are formally admitted into the dissertation phase of the program under the supervision of one or two thesis advisors. A dissertation is expected to contain original and significant contributions to the chosen field of specialization, and typically consists of a collection of three essays potentially publishable in serious peer reviewed scholarly journals.
Students usually start the dissertation phase in the Summer of their first year and are expected to submit a dissertation project before the beginning of their second year.
As part of their research activity, students are strongly encouraged to spend a period of research abroad, taking advantage of the relationships that the program maintains with leading research universities worldwide.
The third year is entirely devoted to drafting the final dissertation. Students are expected to complete their thesis by the end of the third year. Motivated extensions may be granted upon careful evaluation by the Scientific Board.