The objective of the PhD program, organized by the Istituto di studi italiani, at the Università della Svizzera italiana, is to promote research in the areas that make up Italian studies (language, literature, history and arts), and to develop research skills in new generations of scholars. Whithin a three year period, the PhD candidate will write a doctoral thesis under the supervision of a Faculty member of the Istituto di Studi italiani, and will attend a program of courses offered both by USI Faculty members and invited scholars. Together with ISA, ISI coordinates the "Scuola dottorale confederale in Civiltà italiana". This joint graduate school has been founded in 2013 and integrates the courses for PhD students proposed by the Institute.
The PhD program in Italian Language, Literature and Civilization is open to candidates holding a Master's degree in Italian studies, or an equivalent academic degree.