Ph.D. in Linguistics


Main features of the programme

The Ph.D. programme in Linguistics is an international graduate programme jointly run by the Universities of Verona, Bozen/Bolzano and Marburg (Germany). The programme offers training in Linguistics for the highest cycle of the university system. It is the natural continuation of the master's degree courses in Linguistics (University of Verona) and Applied Linguistics (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano). The programme has strong ties with research institutions such as Eurac Research (which funded a grant for cycle 37 in the field of corpus linguistics), and with local administrative bodies such as the Regional School Office for Veneto (in the field of cultural heritage protection and promotion) and the Autonomous Region of Trentino-Südtirol (which funded a grant for cycle 39 in the field of Ladin language). The programme has concrete internationalization strategies for the recruitment and training of doctoral students: starting with cycle 38, an International Doctoral Track with the University of Marburg (Germany) is active, through which a double doctoral degree can be obtained. Teaching is delivered in a concentrated form during annual autumn/winter/summer schools in order to facilitate collaboration between the different universities, allow for the involvement of external partners, and help doctoral students in scheduling stays abroad without overlapping with the teaching. The programme welcomes research projects in all areas of research within the expertise of the faculty members, but it stands out from other doctoral programmes in Linguistics by a clear thematic focus on research topics shared among the three universities (Verona, Bolzano, Marburg). These topics include multilingualism, language contact, and dialectological studies, especially but not exclusively for German and Romance languages.

International students: please note that languages of instruction are English (main language), German and Italian. Hence, besides English as the main programme language basic skills in Italian or German are required for a successful application.

Programme objectives

The programme aims to provide doctoral training in all levels of linguistic analysis (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, lexicon) and the following research areas: sociolinguistics, discourse and conversation analysis, typical and atypical language development, language teaching, Germanic and Romance philology, and language policy. Research interests shared by all three universities include language contact, Germanic and Romance dialects, minority languages, and multilingualism. Ph.D. students can take advantage of the methodologies, tools and databases developed in the main research projects (PRIN, DFG) directed by members of the teaching board and conducted in cooperation with research institutions active in the area. The programme aims to train professionals with a high scientific standard who have a complete mastery of the content and methods related to their research projects, but also the knowledge and skills related to all levels of linguistic analysis necessary to be able to perform basic academic tasks (e.g., teaching in bachelor's degrees) and acquire new skills independently for application in other specialist fields. As such, the Ph.D. in Linguistics is a programme that combines a clear specialized profile with more general transferable skills that after its completion situates students in an excellent position to pursue either an academic career or a career with a linguistic aspect in public administration or the private industry.

Career perspectives

The wide range of research opportunities and methodologies in the field of linguistics offered by the programme promotes the acquisition of skills that can be used in a national and international context at a high scientific level. These skills are not only necessary for the training of future researchers and university professors, but can also be applied professionally, in the field of automatic analysis and language technologies and consulting to language policy bodies for the training of teachers and health professionals (e.g., speech therapy). The employment statuses of graduated students from previous cycles show that the training provided in the Ph.D. in Linguistics guarantees excellent preparation for academic careers.

Alumni quotes

Tekabe Legesse Feleke, XXXII cycle
Currently: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UiT The Arctic University of Norway

"I attended the PhD program in Linguistics at Verona University from 2016 to 2019. It was an honor to be a part of this program. The teaching-learning process was participatory and reasonably diverse. Seminars, conferences, and lectures were the primary platforms through which knowledge and research findings are shared and disseminated. Each platform entertained various domains of linguistics and accommodates diverse thematic areas. The lectures were exciting both in terms of scope and depth, and they were given by the professors at Verona University and by distinguished invited guests. The PhD program also encouraged experience sharing through exchange programs and bilateral collaborations. I benefited from the collaboration effort; I spent some of my PhD time at the University of Groningen (Netherlands) and at the LLACAN Research Center (France). The collaboration effort helped me to secure a postdoctoral position, right after the completion of the PhD program."

Marta Tagliani, XXXIII cycle
Currently: Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the University of Verona

"I completed my Ph.D. in 2021 by conducting eye-tracking research on negation processing in typically developed and dyslexic populations. The doctoral program gave me the opportunity to pursue a double degree Ph.D. in co-tutelle with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany). Throughout my doctoral experience, I strengthened my theoretical knowledge across diverse linguistic domains through annual Winter schools organized by the Ph.D. program, featuring international faculty. The program’s strength lies in offering a wide range of teaching courses, allowing exploration of linguistic research fields beyond one’s project and expanding opportunities for collaboration in future research projects. Currently I'm working mostly on multilingualism’s benefits for language development in typical and dyslexic learners. However, despite my psycholinguistic background, my academic education facilitated the collaboration on projects like AlpiLink, investigating local linguistic varieties in the Alpine region."

Joachim Kokkelmans, XXXIII cycle
Currently: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Germanic Linguistics and Lecturer (Linguistics of German, Ladin Department) at the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen

"Das Doktorat an der Universität Verona (2017-2020) war für mich gleichzeitig ein Sprungbrett in eine akademische Karriere, ein Kreuzpunkt zwischen Kulturen und Forschungswelten sowie das spannendste Abenteuer meines Lebens. In Verona und auf Konferenzreisen trat ich in Kontakt mit anderen jungen ForscherInnen aus der ganzen Welt, woraus sowohl intellektuelle und forschungsbezogene gegenseitige Bereicherung als auch Freundschaften für das Leben entstanden. Dank des vielseitigen Bildungsangebots und Forschungprogramms konnte ich meine Wissenshorizonten erweitern und in die Praxis für meine eigene Dissertation umsetzen. Besonders dieses Gleichgewicht zwischen dem Arbeitsleben und den Doktoratsfreundschaften habe ich wertgeschätzt, welches meine Doktoratsjahre unvergesslich und zur besten Entscheidung meiner Laufbahn gemacht hat."

Anne Kruijt, XXXIV cycle
Currently: Researcher and Temporary Assistant Professor at the University of Verona

"I graduated from the PhD Program in Linguistics in 2022. In my research I focused on case systems of non-standard languages varieties in northern Italy, and during the program I had the opportunity to work and gather my data in a project called VinKo (Varieties in Contact). It helped me gain experience working in a collaborative research project involving colleagues working on a variety of topics from different universities. My research was funded via the Project of Excellency in Digital Humanities, and as such I was encouraged to explore the usages of Digital methodologies and to develop my skills in these areas. The program offers many opportunities for going abroad, and so I chose to spend a period at the University of Cologne (Germany) during which I completed the IT-Certificate for Humanities. The teaching program was designed to cover many different topics, and the invited speakers usually specialized in one of the topics that students in the program are working on. At the moment, I am working as a Postdoc Researcher in the AlpiLinK project at the University of Verona, which is a continuation of the VinKo project I was a part of during the PhD."

Paola Peratello, XXXV cycle
Currently: Researcher and Temporary Assistant Professor at the University of Venice

"A Febbraio 2023 ho ottenuto il titolo di Dottore di Ricerca e Doctor Europaeus con un progetto di ricerca in Filologia Germanica intitolato "An analysis and an edition of Codex Runicus, AM 28 8vo (Den Arnamagnæanske Samling, Copenhagen)" finanziato dal Progetto di Eccellenza sulle Digital Humanities Applicate alle Lingue e Letterature Straniere. Il punto di forza del Dottorato in Linguistics è stato sicuramente il taglio internazionale portando ad un continuo scambio con dottorande/i e docenti internazionali provenienti da vari ambiti di ricerca, sia in contesti formali (Winter School del corso di Dottorato, seminari, workshop, convegni) e che informali (LiVE lunch). La mia formazione è stata rafforzata inoltre da un lato da soggiorni di ricerca all'estero finanziati, e dall’altro dalla partecipazione come collaboratrice a tre progetti di ricerca nell’ambito della Filologia Germanica e delle Digital Humanities."

Course details

Degree type
3 years
Degree class
DOTTORATO - Classe per i Dottorati (ateneo)
Supervisory body
Faculty Board of PhD in Linguistics
Stefan Rabanus
Segreteria Scuola di Dottorato - Area Scienze Umanistiche
Teaching and course administration
Operational unit PhD Unit
Verona e Bolzano
Graduate School
PhD Schools Web Page
Main Department
Foreign Languages and Literatures
Macro area
Subject area
Foreign Languages and Literatures