Postgraduate Diploma Programme

An intense, pre-PhD programme for talented students



The Postgraduate Diploma Programme offers courses in five specialized fields, reflecting the core research activities at ICTP. The basic topics include: 

  • Condensed Matter Physics
    Symmetries and Bands
    Statistical Mechanics
    Many-Body Theory
    Numerical Methods
    Biological Physics
  • High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
    Quantum Field Theory
    General Relativity and Cosmology
    Group Theory
    Particle Physics
    The Standard Model
  • Mathematics 
    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 academic programme is intense and consists of three terms. The first is dedicated to courses in basic subjects; the second, to advanced topics in the field; and the third, to carrying out research under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.  During the first nine months of the programme, students attend, on average about 10 hours of lectures per week, and complete obligatory homework assignments. Final examinations are administered for each of the 8-10 courses. Those who successfully complete this stage can progress to work on dissertations during the last three months of the programme, ending in an oral defence of the written dissertation.

The ICTP Postgraduate Diploma is awarded to those students who have successfully completed the examinations and dissertation work, and complied with other formalities as may be decided by the Scientific Committee of the Postgraduate Diploma Programme.

The grades are based on a combination of problem sets and course final exams. Further details are available on the Grading System page.