Curricular units

The first year comprises 24 weeks of intensive modules (~ 16 modules, 30 ECTS), providing the scientific/technological background and exposing the students to the most exciting research topics.

The modules are organized into four curricular units (click for a detailed description)

  1. Fundamentals of Plasma Physics, Nuclear Fusion and Lasers (7.5 ECTS)
  2. Diagnostic Methods for Plasmas (7.5 ECTS)
  3. Advanced Topics in Plasma Physics, Nuclear Fusion and Lasers (7.5 ECTS)
  4. Advanced Computation in Physics and Engineering (7.5 ECTS)


Laboratory rotations

Each student undergoes three rotations in three teams (out of about 20 rotations offered at IPFN per year). In each rotation (4 weeks) a small project is developed and presented at the end of the rotation. The goals are to initiate the immersion in the research context and to promote the interactions with possible PhD supervisors.


Transverse skills package

Includes a 1-week intensive training on ethics and communication/presentation skills (1.5 ECTS), complemented by the programs offered to all IST PhD students (IST Bootcamp on Entrepreneurship /Innovation/Communication (1.0 ECTS) and the IST PhD Students Research Day).


3-year research program

In the last trimester of Year 1, in close interaction with the Program’s Governance, each student defines the thesis topic and supervisor, and designs a thesis project (15 ECTS), to start at the beginning of Year 2 and finish by the end of Year 4. The students are encouraged to address problems that can bridge different areas to take advantage of the full scope of research at IPFN. Co-tutored thesis, normally involving the partner laboratory / university where the secondment year will be carried out, are also encouraged.

Students are expected to submit and defend their Thesis by the end of their individual program.


One year on secondment at an international institution

The Thesis Project includes one year on secondment, for example at one of the research institutions / universities that collaborate with IPFN, relevant to the area of the project and to the objectives of the work programme. This includes some world-leading institutions in their areas of expertise in Europe and the USA.


Targeted workshops and activities

Students will be encouraged to become involved in the organization of events such as the IPFN colloquium, the IPFN Research Day and focused workshops. Outreach activities are also encouraged, such as visits to high schools, production of outreach material, and talks for general audiences.

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