The hard work of preserving the value of doctoral education. The case of the Ph.D. in Regional and Urban Planning at Sapienza, Rome

Valentina Alberti


The Ph.D. programme in Regional and Urban Planning at Sapienza (University of Rome) underwent some significant changes during the last thirty years. A large part of these changes was requested by mutations in the higher level education system and in the planning discipline at the European scale. During last decades, indeed, the doctorate became the third level of higher education and it no longer qualified researchers only for academia, but for a broader labour market. Moreover, the planning discipline developed a common language between the different European schools. Despite changes, the value that the doctorate represents for education of researchers seems to be unchanged. This work aims at visualizing some possible problems in pursuing the value of doctoral education. The purpose is to identify some events that can help or contrast the vale that each doctorate should be able to provide. Four sections structure the article. The first part presents the most significant background transformations that promoted changes in doctoral education. The second part offers some elements to define the value of a Ph.D. The third part highlights discrepancies between purposes and outcomes in promoting the value of the doctorate in the evolution of the Ph.D. in Regional and Urban Planning of Sapienza. The last part collects principal issues linked to the pursuing of the value of a doctorate, and identifies the role of the “intellectual out of academia” as one of the foremost concern to preserve the value of the doctorate training.


Italian Planning; Italy; PhD education; Doctoral education; Doctorate; Higher education; Italian PhD students; Urban Studies; Sapienza Rome

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