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Join us !

Call for admission to a one-year
Ph.D. Preparatory Program

with the award of a Master of Science (M.Sc.) research degree in Comparative Law, Economics, and Finance


The deadline for this call is at 24:00 (CEST), July 15, 2024

Application materials should be sent to

Only successful candidates will be notified.

We are seeking applicants for a pathbreaking PhD Preparatory Program (PPP), which brings together a small number of selected socially motivated students (the final number of successful candidates, 8 to 12, will depend on the quality of applicants) for a year of academic exchange in order to prepare the most successful research proposals for applications to international PhD programs worldwide.

This joint program, offered with the University of Turin, which covers through a Rector’s grant part of the program’s costs, builds on 15 years of experience as a master degree in comparative law, economics, and finance at the International University College of Turin (IUC, with some eighty students admitted with a full grant to international PhDs). It provides a unique opportunity to benefit from the mentorship of high-profile academics and leading social theories from the perspective of law, economics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and finance.

The program is organized according to a yearly theme of timely political relevance which aims at shedding light upon the predicaments of present-day capitalism. Not only critique but also experimentation of alternatives will allow students to experience the full meaning of engaged academic vocation. Accordingly, students will be involved at once in theoretical exploration and activities of civic engagement in one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Turin. This program seeks to revive the philosophy of knowledge pioneered by Antonio Gramsci in this city a century ago: the concept of praxis whereby there can be no theoretical thought without action or game-changing action without novel thought.

The structure of the program revolves around weekly seminars where students and faculty participate in horizontal discussion and critique of foundational scholarly works. Meanwhile, students are expected to share their knowledge and experience with the local community through public lectures or other forms of cultural exchange. Can constitutional liberalism survive the global corporate takeover? Is it possible to imagine a long-term future for mankind outside of capitalism as the pervasive form of single thought? Can legal and political imperialism be resisted and how? What can the commons offer as alternative forms of production and distribution? With full awareness of how reality is shaped by technology, students are offered an exciting journey at the frontiers of social transformation. Thinking outside the western box, they will be empowered to deal with present social and institutional challenges in historically and comparatively informed ways.

Applicants should hold degrees allowing participation in a Ph.D. (MA, MS, LLM, JD) and should have command of English and of a second language. Anyone yet to be awarded the required academic qualification, but who will have received it by and no later than November 30, 2023, may also apply to participate in the selection process. Successful applications must include a motivational essay and a CV, and provide relevant academic transcripts and two recommendation letters. Title of preference is previous action as an activist or social organizer. The program is offered on a solidarity basis. There are no fees and there is limited financial aid for those deserving it. Students are expected to reciprocate in the future through gifts to the college if and when they are in the condition to do so.

At the end of the program, students will be awarded a Master of Science (M.Sc.) research degree in Comparative Law, Economics, and Finance.

Application Process

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In order to apply for the program, please make sure you comply with the following instructions and steps:

  •  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and early applications are encouraged.

  •  Check that you meet the Academic Requirements, and take note of how your English language proficiency will be assessed.

  •  Gather all the relevant application materials, as outlined below.

  •  Submit your application directly to the IUC by e-mail.

  • Only successful candidates will be notified when the admission panel has evaluated all materials after the deadline for applications has passed.

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The program is open to applicants from diverse backgrounds in the social sciences, including – but not limited to – law, economics, finance (business or accounting), political science, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies.​ Applicants must hold a degree valid to enter a Ph.D. program.

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A high level of English language ability is required, for you to be able to make the most of – and contribute effectively to – the program.

  •  Submission of a standardized test score, such as IELTS or TOEFL, is not mandatory and can be replaced by a short academic writing sample that illustrates your degree of ability in producing a written text in English.

  •  As guidance, a suitable standard of English language proficiency ought to be equivalent to – at least – an overall level of 6.5 on the IELTS (Academic), 100 on the TOEFL iBT, or C on the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

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The following supporting materials are required, for your application to be correctly processed:

  •  Official transcripts from all degree-granting academic institutions that you have attended. All transcripts must include an English translation and an explanation of the grading system used.

  •  Two letters of reference from faculty members or others who can assess your skills and character. The letters should be sent directly by the recommenders in electronic format to 

  •  A motivational essay of 1,500 words related to law and finance, or discussing some aspect of global capitalism, which connects to the rationale and vision motivating the program and the faculty at the IUC. The essay should also provide us with an example of your English-language writing skills. This document is a fundamental candidate selection component: please follow the guidelines carefully and make it an original piece of work.

  •  An up-to-date and clear CV or resumé with all your personal data and contacts.

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The program fees are waived for all deserving students. You should however budget the following expenditures, for the time you will be resident in Turin:

  •  housing (€250/350 per month);

  •  living expenditures (€300/350 per month);

  •  initial settling down expenses (€350 total); 

  •  health insurance (€240 total);

  •  visas (approximately €100, depending on the embassy).

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