European / International Joint Ph.D. in
Social Representation and Communication

European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

Due to the integrated and joint nature of the programme, the adoption of European Credit System has been specifically designed as a system for credit accumulation, rather than a comparison of distributed teaching offers and transfer of learning outcomes. By conceptualizing the academic year not exclusively in terms of time, but in terms of earned credits, the system allows for flexibly meeting the needs of full-time and part-time research trainees.

In line with the policy recommended by EU DG-Education and Culture, the European/International Joint Ph.D. adopted the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) as an instrument for creating transparency and confidence in academic performance.

Research trainees are awarded up to 60 credits per year (20 for courses and didactic activities and 40 for research quality and related bibliographic knowledge).

The didactic structure within this overall strategy is highly innovative. As the system of open distance learning makes clear, European/International Joint Ph.D. research trainees are involved in an interlocking system of virtual and physical mobility which allows for considerable flexibility in catering to research trainees’ needs while at the same time guaranteeing individual tutoring and interactive learning:



20 for courses and didactic activities
10 credits per year international summer schools
5 credits per year seminars and courses
5 credits per year multi-media and distance interactive learning;

transferable skills
40 for research each year 30 credits per year advanced research training
10 credits per year bibliographic knowledge
60 total credits in a year x 3 years = 180 total credits for complete curriculum


1. Intensive preliminary stage of bibliographic training at national universities (10 credits per year)

This is provided by individual tutoring by national and co-tutoring by foreign tutors as well as by a restricted and mediated access to an on-line database found on the European/International Joint PhD web-site:

Research trainees are also trained by the Programme Director in meta-theoretical analysis of the bibliographic material in their own subject area. The contribution of each research trainee will thus enable the mapping out of a complete, fully-researched bibliography for social representations and communication.


2. Intensive high level didactic “stage” (International Summer School) (10 credits per year)

Research trainees are required to attend the annual European/International Joint Ph.D. International Summer School in Social Representations and Communication.

These international summer schools take place yearly and were hosted in one of the countries of the university network on a rotational basis until 1998. Since 1999 they have been held regularly at Sapienza University.

The objective of the European/International Joint PhD in S.R. & C. International Summer School is to offer advanced training to young researchers in key areas of social psychology with wide applications in the public and private sectors on issues including the information society, science popularisation, new socialization and communication strategies, and applied research crucial to health, the environment, political life, social minorities, gender, etc.

It has has helped to reinforce the intellectual leadership of European Social Psychology and is now well established as a permanent European forum for disseminating state of the art research in this area. Systematic co-operation among European researchers remains one of the fundamental prerequisites for meeting the goals of the ERA and EHEA and the European/International Joint PhD's International Summer School has played and will continue to play an active role in promoting "internationalization" of European Higher Education, taking it beyond the walls of academia, and contributing to the diversity of experience for the trainees involved. Target groups include research trainees enrolled in the European/International Joint PhD in S.R. & C., postgraduates and research trainees in other national PhD programmes, as well as special target groups with access difficulties, such as women, the disabled and researchers from less favoured EU regions who can profit from the ODL training system and the network's long-term after-event dissemination of multimedia products. The European/International Joint PhD in S.R. & C. Summer school activities include face-to-face workshops, lectures, and presentations as well as mediated virtual events such as Internet forum discussions, web videoconferencing, and streaming videos. Important themes are discussed at individual, group and plenary levels on the same day, guaranteeing learning of unusual intensity and quality. Young researchers are assisted in making appointments to meet personally and discuss particular issues with guest speakers.

More information regarding the International Summer Schools is available at:


3. Seminars and advanced courses (5 credits per year)

Research trainees must attend seminars and advanced courses held at the Research centre and Multimedia lab of the European/International Joint Ph.D. in S.R. & C. located at the founding university in Rome and at network university sites. These are planned in accordance with a teacher exchange mobility programme and include international guest experts.


4. Multi-media and open distance learning system (5 credits per year)

Research trainees are required to make interactive use of the open distance learning system. This is not only through asynchronous e-mail, but also by actively contributing to the dedicated European/International Joint Ph.D. web auditorium, a multipoint interactive webvideoconferences integrated with forum discussion, and digital video-courses available on the web site of the European/International Joint Ph.D. in Social Representations and Communication, or multimedia tools on DVD support.

To this end, the European/International Joint PhD on Social Representations and Communication International Lab Meetings (, are held yearly. They provide an important opportunity for young researchers to obtain advanced academic and technical skills needed to conduct state-of-the-art research. At last two events are organised each: the first event integrate virtual and face-to-face sessions, aimed at training doctoral students in meta-theoretical analysis of the literature. The second one is face-to-face intensive training courses requiring the physical mobility of participants and open to long-term dissemination via web. These events share common objectives and have a didactic structure with multiple training opportunities for critical analysis of the link between multi-media communication systems and social representations. The methods, techniques, software packages and related method theory guiding applications in research design, will provide the unifying theme for each event of the proposed advanced courses. The topics developed in the participants' research projects presented and discussed during the workshops will provide a variety of societal issues mediated and constructed via traditional and new media.


5. Tutoring and co-tutoring triadic didactic system (30 credits per year assigned to research)

The tutoring and co-tutoring triadic system is aimed at monitoring the development of research programmes at both national and foreign training sites over the entire period up to the final dissertation. Students are assigned their own research “space” on the web-site in order to update their project and to allow supervision by national and foreign tutors and monitoring by the Programme Director. Within this tutoring and co-tutoring triadic didactic system, research trainees are required:

  1. to relocate abroad at host institutions with which their tutors are associated and from whom they receive individual tutoring and co-tutoring for their research work. The international mobility will be planned jointly with the academic and/or non-academic partners depending on the research needs, of the collaborative research activities within the networked program involving the designated tutor and co-tutors. The duration and modalities of the abroad mobility will be defined case by case in agreement with the host institution on the basis of the scientific research training needs and of financial constrains. This unique feature of the European/International Joint Ph.D. programme enables research trainees to work alongside their foreign tutors in a new and stimulating research environment. This training is characterised by a multidisciplinary and multi-method approach. Each network university site has special expertise in a particular methodological approach to research in social representations. The research trainee is thus exposed to a variety of complementary methodological approaches;
  2. to maintain regular communication with their national and foreign tutors. According to the circumstances, this can be in a face-to-face interactive and/or computer mediated communication context through the dedicated European/International Joint Ph.D. web-auditorium, forum discussion and multipoint videoconferences;
  3. to attend courses and complete study and research activities in a timely fashion within the structures designed for that purpose, collaborating on institutional projects designated by the director of that structure and from the coordinating body of the doctoral programme. Doctoral candidates can participate in supplementary activities, such as seminars and tutoring, for a maximum of 40 hours annually. However, they cannot participate in commissions examining undergraduate candidates (laurea);
  4. to submit an extensive yearly report to be presented during a dedicated training session at the International Summer School and a critical review of the bibliography of research conducted;
  5. to write their dissertation in English or in the language of their main tutor (host institution). This must be positively reviewed by the national tutor and the two foreign co-tutors and two highly qualified academic evaluators before being discussed and evaluated by the International Evaluation Board of the Final Jury. In addition they must write a short version in English (or French, upon agreement of the Core Executive Committee) that will be evaluated by the International Evaluation Board of the Final Jury and must be presented in a format ready to be submitted to international journals (
  6. In alternative to the “conventional” Thesis format, Research Trainees can adopt the "three papers" PhD thesis format. A short guide introducing this format is available at: