PhD Course

Brain, Mind and Computer Science

Thematic area Interdisciplinary Programmes
Duration 3 years
Language English
PhD Programme Coordinator Anna Spagnolli

BMCS is a three-year interdisciplinary Ph.D. program taught in English in the domain of computer science and psychology around the unifying theme of user-centered technologies.

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The domains covered by the BMCS doctorate significantly intersect key, long-term themes strongly present in international research programs, requiring experts capable of working in projects/teams with vision and impact. Our teaching offer is designed to create the conditions for these capabilities to emerging. Our courses introduce the Ph.D. students of both curricula to the advances in crucial branches of computer science and cognitive neuroscience. Additional courses (or resources to be used autonomously) improve transversal, linguistic, programming, and scientific writing skills and raise awareness of technology's ethical, social and legal aspects. The courses are all in English and are specially organized for this Ph.D. program. 


BMCS aims to:
- introduce all students, regardless of background and curriculum, to selected key themes of neuroscience and computer science through mandatory courses with a final exam;
- show more specific research fields through small, optional courses with an interdisciplinary approach;
- stimulate discussion by appointing a second supervisor belonging to a curriculum different from that of the Ph.D. student and by creating workgroups between students of diverse disciplines;
- encourage internationality through a mandatory period abroad of at least three months for research activities related to the doctoral project. 


The Ph.D. student is included in one curriculum but also tutored by a supervisor from the other curriculum. The research project is evaluated annually by the Research Commission.

The learning obligations include, within the 2nd year:
1. passing 7 compulsory exams;
2. attending at least 150 hours of courses activated by the doctoral program, including the 7 mandatory courses, or up to 15% of courses outside the doctoral program;

And within the 3rd year:
3. completing the visit abroad;
4. mastering English at least at a C-level 


BMCS prepares PhDs with high-level professional employability in innovative national and international fields. Professionals trained by this Ph.D. program include:
- experts in human-computer interaction, ergonomics, and design of user-centered applications and technologies;
- IT experts sensitive to the user's point of view in the fields of AI (machine learning, big data), recommender systems, IT security and ethical hacking (cybersecurity), mobile network infrastructures (ad-hoc networks, multimedia apps), serious games, IoT and computer vision, solutions for industry 4.0
- design of devices and software for psychological and physical well-being (e-health, virtual coaching, assistive technologies, technologies for disability, neurocognitive rehabilitation)