Sociology and Social Research


CALL for 2017/18 (33 cycle)

fully funded PhD grants are of 4 years!  

The doctoral programme in Sociology and Social Research (SRS) was  established in 1981 with the aim of providing state-of-art research training  and advanced professional skills in sociology and social research. It joined  the Doctoral School of Social Sciences in 2011.

The PhD programme provides a solid basis in the discipline, including a  broad range of quantitative and qualitative methods, in an interdisciplinary  research environment. Since its foundation the programme has placed  special emphasis on theoretically driven empirical sociology. In particular  the PhD programme educates professionals that are able to apply their  knowledge in an interdisciplinary fashion.

The programme is open to all topics of interest for Sociological research,  but particular attention is paid to proposals fitting in the following research  areas: the study of social and demographic change; comparative sociology;  welfare and social policies; social inequality studies and stratification  research (class, cohort, gender, sociology of education); economic  sociology, labour market and organizational studies; migration studies;  political sociology (social movement, public opinion); communication and  culture.

The goal of the doctoral programme is to qualify its alumni for high level  positions in academia, as well as in the public and private sector.

The PhD programme offers students a stimulation international research  environment and important opportunities, not least through an international  network of high quality.

Beyond a wider range of teaching and research opportunities, PhD-SRS  offers and intensive calendar of seminars and conferences including distinguished scholars from an international context.

The official languages of the doctoral programme are English and Italian. The language of instruction is English.

Programme Director: Prof. Stefani Scherer 

Programme Committee: see Governing Bodies 

See our  Leaflet 2017/2018 for a quick overview of the programme 

Click HERE to see some of the recent pubblications by our PhD students 



Milena Belloni


Milena Belloni

Post-doctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp



The PhD in Sociology and Social Research offers the possibility to connect with a wide range of institutions and scholars all over the world. For those interested in migration studies and urban sociology, international conferences, research seminars and interdisciplinary workshops allow to discover different methodological approaches, theoretical perspectives and ongoing research on these subjects. By being a doctoral student there, I have learned how to prepare a research project which appeals to quantitative and qualitative researchers and have enhanced the theoretical foundations which shaped my ethnography on refugee flows from the Horn of Africa towards Europe.

Giulia Maria Dotti Sani


Giulia Maria Dotti Sani

Post-doctoral researcher Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turnin. Max Weber Fellow EUI,
Fiesole from september 2017 onwards.


I earned my PhD in sociology and social research at the University of Trento in April 2013. Looking back to it today I can say that it was no walk in the park, but these years were essential to my growth as a social scientist. During the first year we took a set of mandatory classes covering a broad range of topics, from epistemology of the social science to quantitative and qualitative methods, from sociological theory to comparative welfare systems and family demography. Classes were taught by Trento faculty but also by professors from other Italian universities and even by leading international scholars. Thanks to this, students got the opportunity to breach out and make contacts with prominent experts in their field. After discussing my research proposal after the first year, I was off towards my fully funded six weeks of summer school where I refined my skills that proved essential for my dissertation first and for my published work afterwards. I spent my second year working on literature reviews, drawing hypothesis from the literature and sorting out data. At the end of this year I published my first article on an Italian peer reviewed journal. During my third year I was off for my fully funded six months abroad to continue my dissertation at the university of California Irvine. My stay in Irvine was a great opportunity and resulted in a co-authored paper with my American tutor. As common practice in most doctoral programs in Europe, but not Italy, dissertations go through a review process with an individual and external committee before they are defended. I defended the thesis in April 2013. Ever since I have been working as a post-doc and I am having a fair degree of success in disseminating my research. I have by now published most of the dissertation in international peer-reviewed journal articles. Many other articles that saw their incipit during those years are now either published or in an R&R process. Looking back today to my PhD experience I can confidently say that my years in Trento were tough but essential to my growth as a social scientist. Indeed, this extremely enriching experience gave me the tools to become a recognized member of the national and international community of social scientists. In particular, the international and interdisciplinary environment of the doctoral school and the many opportunities it offers to go abroad to present research and refine ones skills are the greatest strength of this PhD program in sociology and social research which is unique in the Italian panorama.

Raffaele Grotti


Raffaele Grotti

Post doctoral research fellow ESRI, Dublin, IE


I received my PhD in Sociology and Social Research in April 2016 from the Doctoral School of Social Sciences at the University of Trento. Since October 2016 I am working as post-doctoral research fellow in quantitative sociology at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. The invaluable experience and knowledge I gained during my PhD was the key factor in obtaining my current position and in preparing me for my career development.
Those years enriched me in many ways. Firstly, I gained experience through my research, the courses I took, and the collaboration with experienced researchers within an ERC project I worked for. Secondly, I had opportunities to experiencing international and stimulating environments within the school, participating at international schools and conferences, and spending a visiting period abroad at the UPF in Barcelona.
Thirdly, during the PhD period I benefitted from the opportunities to teach and to co-supervise master students, as well as from the interactions with colleagues with whom I intensively collaborated in teaching and preparing papers. Last but not least, my development strongly benefitted from the interactions with my supervisor who has been an invaluable mentor and provided me with both professional and personal support. Hence, in my experience, the SSS has been a very supportive and enriching learning and working environment.

Nadya Bobova

Nadya Bobova

Director, Start Up “kissmybike”


Three years spent at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences taught me critical thinking, discipline and determination. 
Not the easiest, but definitely unforgettable experience!

Marco Tosi


Marco Tosi

Research Officer on FAMHEALTH project
Alpha Research Unit, Department of Social Policy
London School of Economics and Political Science


I undertook both a Masters degree and a PhD in Sociology and Social Research at the University of Trento. I was initially attracted by the faculty’s reputation. I then liked the programme so much that I decided to get a Ph.D. I enjoyed many stimulating lectures and seminars on statistics, research methodology and advanced quantitative modeling. Professors who were experts in their fields aided reflection to my research and encouraged me to present my work at international conferences. I also had the opportunity to spend a visiting period abroad (i.e. SOFI, Stockholm University), working with experienced researchers. I think the PhD gave me an in-depth knowledge in sociological theory and empirical research, and the skills that are necessary to publish in high-impact international journals. The programme offered the unique opportunity to become a successful researcher. To get the most from this experience, full dedication and determination were required. This process of personal growth and professional development was not obvious for me. I spent many moments plagued with stress and self-doubt over my ability. I was fortunate to receive excellent support and encouragement from my supervisors and colleagues with whom still today I collaborate and maintain friendly relationships. The environment was extremely helpful for my growth, but it also led me to be confronted conflicting views of academic work. Armed with determination and hope, I dedicated all my efforts in my work and now I look back on the doctoral period with some gratefulness. My experience of studying at the Department of Sociology and Social Research was positive, transformative and challenging in many ways. I would recommend the PhD programme to everybody who truly loves this work and is firmly committed to follow a research path.


“I regard the doctoral program in sociology and social research at Trento University to be of very high quality, any university would be proud of having a school of this character. I particularly want to point at the procedure of admission, the high level of teaching theoretically driven empirical research and the support to students for gaining experience from first rate international scholars and from visiting international research centres. (…) Overall, I would judge the scientific impact of the Committee members to be clearly above what one would find in an average sociology department in Europe or North America and my impression is that the sociology department in Trento must be one of the very best in Italy.”

Robert Erikson, SOFI, Sweden
Extract from a 2011 evaluation of the PhD programme