The doctoral programme in Urban Studies focuses on the interdisciplinary analysis of the long-term structural changes and performances of European cities. Once cities’ performances have been measured by relying on the notion of ‘well-being’, the barriers among disciplines and subjects are to be removed in order to explain the development, stagnation or decline of cities. The challenge raised by the notion of well-being can only be met by radically innovating research and learning strategies. It has become necessary to develop trans-disciplinary theoretical frameworks.
The aim of the learning path set for GSSI’s doctoral students is to build sound and broad theoretical and empirical knowledge – and to encourage self-expression and methodological confidence. ‘Experiential learning’ and ‘cooperative learning’ are two key dimensions of the ‘learning concept’ on which GSSI Cities’ International Doctoral Programme in Urban Studies is based.
Students are trained to conduct high-level applied research and to be involved in the policy-making process, and in the preparation of complex policy reports. A further key feature of this doctoral programme is that it furnishes students with solid epistemological bases.
Research and learning are closely intertwined at GSSI Cities. Students are encouraged to engage in research from the beginning of their learning path, and they are strongly supported by GSSI Cities’ research staff throughout the process.
GSSI Cities’ Doctoral Programme in Urban Studies is truly international. All lectures are delivered in English, and everyday scientific and social interactions take place in English. A significant share of the teaching activity is delivered by non-Italian scholars or by Italian scholars currently conducting their research abroad. The focus is on the European urban system, but cities of other regions of the world are studies too.