The Ph.D. program in Texts, Traditions and Book Cultures. Italian and Romance Studies is an advanced research degree at the end of which students must defend a dissertation based on independent and original academic research.

The course offers a multi-disciplinary training program based on study of the Italian and romance literary tradition as it is organized around the forms of the book, manuscript and print. At the centre of the research is the literary work, which is conceived as the final product of a series of procedures: aesthetic, historical-cultural, material. Starting from the concrete texts, including the ways and formats in which they were conceived and then transmitted over time, the doctoral school is necessarily built on transversal studies, from the history of literature to stylistics, from philology to the history of books and publishing.
The PhD board consists of fourteen members with a wide range of research specialties and can offer training and preparation at the top international level in the following areas: Codicology and Latin palaeography; history of printed books and private and public libraries; Italian and Romance philology; Italian and Romance linguistics and lexicography; Italian and Romance stylistic, metric and rhetoric; Italian literature from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance; history of intellectual groups and the Western imagination from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
Candidates for the Ph.D. are normally expected to hold a master’s degree (or equivalent qualification) in a subject relevant to the program. The Ph.D. program in Texts, traditions and book cultures. Italian and Romance studies is conceived for motivated students who also have different language skills and are willing to study in a multi and interdisciplinary environment.

The program aims to train highly qualified scholars and managers who can work in the fields of linguistic, philological, literary, archival and library research. Thanks to the acquisition of notions, theories and tools, also digital, they will be able to read, reconstruct and to interpret critically the historical, formal dynamics of textual and cultural traditions that contribute to the Italian literary system and the Romance area. They will also be able to give relevant contributions to academic research and education at universities, and to direct both public and private structures (such as libraries, archives, research centres) relying on their analytical skills, general view and comparison of problems, interdisciplinary approach and international experience.
Texts, Traditions and Book Cultures. Italian and Romance Studies is designed to be an innovative and interdisciplinary Program aiming to attract the best students from all over the world. International leading experts in the field are invited as guest lecturers, in addition to scholars working in foreign universities who currently serve as members of the Faculty Board.
Each student will be required to spend at least one year (also broken into several terms) in foreign universities, research institutes, archives and libraries.
The official languages of the Ph.D. program are Italian, French, Spanish and English; courses and seminars may be held in Italian, French, Spanish and English.
The PhD program aims to build a series of international partnerships through which to develop the mobility of students and teachers.

Giancarlo Alfano

Università di Napoli Federico II

Irene Ceccherini

Università di Firenze

Marco Cursi

Università di Napoli Federico II

Nicola De Blasi

Università di Napoli Federico II

Romain Descendre

École normale supérieure de Lyon

Jean-Louis Fournel

Université Paris 8

Gabriele Frasca

Università di Salerno

Claudio Gigante

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Edoardo Massimilla

Università di Napoli Federico II

Andrea Mazzucchi

Università di Napoli Federico II

Laura Minervini

Università di Napoli Federico II

Francesco Montuori

Università di Napoli Federico II

Inés Fernández-Ordóñez

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Giovanni Palumbo

Université de Namur

Giancarlo Petrella

Università di Napoli Federico II

Michele Rinaldi

Università della Campania L. Vanvitelli

Length of the programme: 4 years

Scholarship: each year the SSM advertises six scholarships amounting to € 19.000 gross per year


Admission to the Ph.D. program is competitive. The selection process is based on the evaluation of candidates’ academic record, a research project (max 3.500 words, together with a selected bibliography and an abstract in Italian and English, max 500 words), as well as an interview in Italian. The competent bodies of the SSM will establish each year the number of positions available.

The Ph.D. program develops over 4 years.

The first year of the program is dedicated to coursework. In the following three years, the students will focus on their research and will be required to give periodical accounts of their progress both in individual interviews and in seminar meetings.

The coursework consists of three courses with final verification for each of the two terms plus participation in workshops, seminar activities during which students can discuss specific aspects of their doctoral work; attendance of invited lectures; and activities of linguistic training, computer science, research management and enhancement of its results.
The coursework of the first year takes place in two terms: November-February and March-June and is organized as follows:

1st year:
– 6 courses (approx. 10 two-hour sessions);
– 6 three-day workshops;
– active participation in conferences and seminars organized by the program or by other universities and research institutions;
– preparation of a detailed research project for the passage to the 2nd year of the program.

2nd year:
– active participation in conferences and workshops organized by the program or other universities and research institutions;
– two-days of presentation of the progress of the research in the presence of advisors and the Board;
– research work on the thesis and preparation of a chapter.

3rd year:
– seminars presenting the research in progress in the presence of advisors and the Board and active participation in conferences and workshops;
– research work on the thesis and presentation of a chapter.

4th year:
– completion of the thesis.

Courses’ topics (examples):

  • Editorial archives
  • Codicology
  • Italian philology
  • Romance philology and linguistics
  • Italian and Romance lexicography
  • Italian literature
  • Medieval and Humanistic Latin literature
  • Latin Palaeography
  • Stylistics, metrics and rhetoric
  • History of intellectuals
  • History of the Italian language
  • History of translation in Italy
  • History of private and public libraries
  • Publishing history
  • History of the printed book
  • History of the Western imagination
  • Tradition of Italian classics

Students carry out their research activity under the supervision of a thesis advisor chosen among the members of the Ph.D. Faculty Board. When applicable, the Board can appoint a second advisor, also by activating an external co-tutelle. Admission to the second year is decided on the basis of the presentation of a detailed research project, including a three-year work plan presented to the Board. In addition to the discussion of the project itself and of the papers students prepare for the courses they attend, the Board can also assign them reading lists.
Admission to the third year is decided on the basis of the discussion and approval of a detailed outline of the thesis that the student intends to write and of a chapter thereof. Admission to the fourth year is decided on the basis of the presentation and discussion, and therefore of the approval by the thesis advisor; of a further chapter of the thesis and of a detailed table of content.

The following activities are organized in collaboration with the other SSM PhD Programs.
Language courses: The SSM organizes, through the University of Naples Federico II, Italian language courses for non-native speakers, as well as courses in English, French, German, and Spanish.
Computer skills: Ph.D students will be trained in the critical use of e-resources, paying special but not unique attention to those available at the School. Special seminars will aim at improving the students’ familiarity with tools such as reference managers, spreadsheets, etc.
Research management and funding opportunities: The SSM offers training activities to improve the students’ knowledge of research management methods, also in relation to funding opportunities. ERC and FIRB principal investigators and scholars awarded with fellowships from international research programs will lead specific meetings focusing on how to plan research projects.
Research results and copyright: The SSM will strive to increase the students’ knowledge of the laws concerning the exploitation and copyright of research results as well as their dissemination. Specific training activities will also be devoted to developing an understanding of how to patent ideas and projects both nationally and internationally.