An intense, pre-PhD programme for talented students
Supporting its mission to promote advanced scientific research in developing countries, ICTP offers a Postgraduate Diploma Programme that prepares talented students for PhD studies.
The Postgraduate Diploma Programme started in 1991, and since then, many of its graduates have gone on to do PhDs at various prestigious universities, including in Europe and North America. Many of them, after a few postdoctoral stints abroad, have returned to their home countries, where they are actively involved in teaching and in developing advanced research groups there. Others have pursued scientific careers in leading scientific institutions worldwide. Many former students continue to maintain an active collaboration with ICTP throughout their careers.
The Programme is open to young qualified graduates in physics, mathematics or related fields. A limited number of scholarships (around 10 per field) are awarded to successful candidates from developing countries (with particular emphasis on students from the least developed regions of the world) to cover travel and living expenses during their stay at ICTP. The selection of the candidates is based on their university performance as well as on academic recommendations. The selection committee aims to select the best academically qualified candidates while striving for gender balance and geographical distribution. After the completion of the courses (including examinations), participants are required to work on a dissertation, to be submitted and defended.
High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
- Quantum Field Theory
- General Relativity and Cosmology
- Group Theory
- Particle Physics
- The Standard Model
Condensed Matter Physics
- Symmetries and Bands
- Statistical Mechanics
- Many-Body Theory
- Numerical Methods
- Biological Physics
- Algebraic Geometry
- Differential Geometry
- Dynamical Systems
Earth System Physics
- Fluid Dynamics
- Solid-Earth Geophysics
- Climate Variability and Changes
- Dynamics and Physics of the Atmosphere and Oceans
- Earth System Dynamics
- Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes
- Structure of the Earth's Interior
- Dynamics of the Lithosphere
Quantitative Life Sciences
- Probability and Information Theory
- Ecology and Evolution
- Learning and Artificial Intelligence
The Postgraduate Diploma Programme is open to young (generally below 28 years of age), qualified graduates from all countries that are members of the United Nations, UNESCO or IAEA. The minimum qualification for applicants is a degree equivalent to an MSc (or an exceptionally good BSc) in physics, mathematics or in a field related to the topics listed below.
The selection of candidates will be based on their university record and on academic recommendations. Since the Postgraduate Diploma Programme is in English, fluency in speaking and writing is an essential qualification.
The applicant is expected to have adequate knowledge of the following topics in the specific field for which he/she is applying:
- For Condensed Matter Physics: solid state physics; quantum mechanics; statistical mechanics; classical mechanics; electrodynamics; mathematical physics.
- For High Energy, Cosmology and Astropartical Physics: classical mechanics; electrodynamics; special theory of relativity; quantum mechanics; statistical mechanics.
- For Earth System Physics: a theoretical background in physics, mathematics or engineering; mathematical methods applied in geophysics and geosciences.
- For Mathematics: basic abstract algebra; elements of real and complex analysis; topology.
- For Quantitative Life Sciences: classical mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, mathematical methods for physics, basic programming skills
Tuition-free; 10 yearly scholarships plus travel grant for applicants from developing countries.
In each Postgraduate Diploma Programme, scholarships and travel grants will be awarded to those 10 students selected from developing countries. There are no course fees. Students will receive a scholarship for the entire year of study. A limited number of qualified candidates who meet the same selection criteria as others may attend the courses at their own cost. They must supply written evidence from a funding agency or a banking institution that funds are available for their entire year's stay, and are equal to those offered by the Centre.
In addition to completing an online application form, candidates should upload the following as part of their application:
- Copies of transcripts of university academic records and university degrees in English (The selected candidates will be required to provide originals or certified copies of these documents as well as of their official English translation before he/she can be admitted to the Programme);
- Any certificates or documents that give proof of the student's ability to follow advanced-level courses, study and write scientific literature in the English language;
- Two letters of recommendation, from senior scientists familiar with the applicant's studies and work.