National Ph.D. in



Complex systems and critical infrastructures are of paramount importance to our society and protecting them from cyber-attacks has become increasingly difficult. Worldwide, cloud computing, remote working, and mobility are putting a strain on the defense capabilities of citizens, companies and public administrations. To cope with increasingly sophisticated threats, including zero-day attacks and new malware, methodologies, technologies and best practices are necessary. Still, above all, we need people with excellent technical, legal, and organizational knowledge for reducing the skill gap in cybersecurity and for protecting citizens' rights in cyberspace. Although the attention toward cybersecurity has grown exponentially over the last decade, the needed workforce has not increased adequately. As a result, the demand for skilled workers is now unmatched, with dramatic impacts on the national and international labor markets as well as on the overall security of our society. The national Ph.D. program (Ph.D.-CySec) in cybersecurity aims at forming a new class of security experts who master both the technical and human competences that this challenge requires.

Program highlights

* scholarship conditions may vary with the host institution


The national Ph.D. program in Cybersecurity (Ph.D.-CySec) will prepare you to analyze and solve a wide spectrum of problems related to different aspects of cybersecurity, all having a high institutional, social and industrial interest. The primary objective is to train security experts capable of identifying, from time to time, the most effective solutions depending on the target and the application domain. Job opportunities are therefore in academia, in disciplines such as engineering, computer science, economics, law and management, in the public sector, including the National Cybersecurity Agency, research laboratories, study centres and centres of expertise, and in the private sectors for services, industrial security and professional consulences.


The main objective of the national Ph.D. in Cybersecurity (Ph.D.-CySec) is to train a new generation of scholars, and future leaders, who can support and increase the resilience of infrastructures, public institutions and businesses against cyber attacks, developing and correctly implementing safer and more reliable digital processes and systems. These security experts will be the first and most important line of defense against current and future threats which, unavoidably, will appear in our digital society.

Learning objectives

During the Ph.D. program, students will learn how to address cybersecurity problems from different perspectives, within an inter- and multi-disciplinary team of experts from other fields. Also, they will have the opportunity to learn from real case studies proposed by actors and stakeholders from both private and public sectors. Upon completion of the doctorate, students will be able to address the growing complexity of cyber attacks, thanks to a holistic approach that embraces technological, economic, human, social and legal aspects. Job opportunities include, in addition to the academic career, managerial roles in the private sector and in public administration, in government agencies, as well as integration in research bodies of various kinds requiring professionals, experts and managers characterized by solid scientific skills, technological and methodological background in cybersecurity.

To achieve these goals, the national Ph.D. in Cybersecurity (Ph.D.-CySec) proposes a strong multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach by providing a broad-ranging basic training and focusing on certain areas of specialization. Students with different educational backgrounds, ranging from computer scientists, information engineers, mathematicians, physicists, legal experts, economists and social scientists, will be considered for admission. The didactic plan, based on the cultural diversity of the Scientific Board, will include specialized paths aiming to offer a holistic vision of cybersecurity and, at the same time, to specialize in different strategic areas through the four different curricula described below.


Foundational Aspects
of Cybersecurity

This curriculum provides a scientific background for the advancement of cybersecurity research (including cryptography, artificial intelligence, secure programming, distributed computing, formal methods and languages). Students will acquire the skills for collaborating with research groups in the academic world and in private or public research centers.

Software, System, and Infrastructure Security

This curriculum gives the scientific, technological and methodological knowledge necessary to address the main security problems concerning systems and infrastructures, including software, hardware and communication systems. Students will be able to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to guarantee the security of systems and infrastructure.

Data Governance
& Protection

This curriculum provides the scientific, technological and methodological knowledge related to data governance and protection. Students will acquire the skills necessary to address the scientific and technological research challenges related to ensuring data security and privacy in advanced scenarios, including those based on emerging disruptive technologies (e.g., AI and ML). Students will be prepared to perform research in academic institutions, and private or public research centers.

 Human, Economic,  and Legal Aspects in Cybersecurity

This curriculum looks at candidates with a non-STEM background. The goal is to provide a solid understanding of cybersecurity's technical aspects and the social and legal framework in which they operate. Students will be able to design processes that comply with the fundamental rights protection standards, regulatory obligations, international policies and economic implications. 


Candidates can choose a research project from the list of research projects and research themes. In alternative, the Selection Committee will identify the research theme that best suits the skills and interests of the admitted candidates.