Analysis of Social and Economic Processes (ASEP)

The Doctoral Program in Analysis of Social and Economic Processes (ASEP) aims at training students for both scholarly and applied social research. Upon completion of the program, students will have the knowledge and skills required to design and carry out, in academic or non-academic settings, conceptually sound and methodologically rigorous empirical research on social and socioeconomic phenomena. ASEP graduates are well prepared for careers both in the academic labor market and in non-academic occupations and professions, especially in the fields of market research, research and development, public administration, international organizations, and consulting.


Director: Prof. Maurizio Pisati
Deputy Director: Prof. Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti

Objectives and research areas

The ASEP faculty’s research interests cover a wide range of theoretical, methodological, and empirical topics, including consumption, culture and cultural change, demographic transitions, deviance, education, ethnicity, family, game theory, gender, interethnic relations, labor market, migration processes, multiple deprivation, network analysis, policy evaluation, research design and methods, social change, social inequality, social theory, social work, subjective well-being, youth.

Teaching activities

Students are required to complete five core courses:

Theorizing in Social Science (20 hours, 2.5 credits). This course discusses how to construct, develop and use theories and concepts for the analysis of social phenomena.

Social Research Design (16 hours, 2 credits). This course provides a general introduction to the design of social science research, from research problem statement to data collection.

Social Research Methods (48 hours, 6 credits). This course presents an overview of the most common methods of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis used in social science research.

Writing for Social Scientists (12 hours, 1.5 credits). This course trains students in the skills of writing research papers in the social sciences.

Current Debates in Social Science (24 hours, 3 credits). This course offers a critical examination of key issues and debates in contemporary social science.

Students are also required to take two or more elective courses, for a minimum of four course units, from those offered or approved by the ASEP Doctoral Program. Selection of elective courses is made in consultation with –and subject to the approval of –the Director of the ASEP Doctoral Program.

Additional requirements include:

  1. Participation in the ASEP Colloquium Series (1 credit), a monthly seminar, held during the coursework period, in which distinguished scholars and professional experts present and discuss their work in progress, latest research findings, or professional experiences.
  2. One or more interdisciplinary courses, for a minimum of 4 credits, from those offered by the University’s Doctoral School.


Students are also strongly encouraged to attend one or more courses at a qualified summer school.

By the end of the coursework period, students are required to write and defend a qualifying paper on a topic of choice. The qualifying paper is aimed at demonstrating the students’ability to carry out independent research and to communicate findings in written form. It should provide an original contribution to social science knowledge, and be written in the form of a publishable journal article. The qualifying paper is researched and written under the supervision of a faculty member, and presented at a special departmental seminar.

By the end of the first year, students are required to write and defend the dissertation prospectus. The dissertation prospectus is a plan of the proposed doctoral dissertation research. It should be 20–30 pages long (plus extensive bibliography) and contain a clear statement of the research problem and questions, a careful definition of the conceptual framework, a preliminary review of the relevant literature, an overview of the research design, a tentative outline of the dissertation, and an approximate timeline of the research and writing plan.

By the end of the ASEP Doctoral Program, students are required to complete and submit a dissertation to qualify for the award of the doctoral degree. The dissertation is a book-length, original piece of empirical research that is of publishable quality and represents a significant contribution to social science knowledge.

PhD Teaching Board
ANDREOTTI  Alberta Argia University of Milano-Bicocca
CAMOZZI Ilenya University of Milano-Bicocca
CATINO Maurizio University of Milano-Bicocca
DECATALDO Alessandra University of Milano-Bicocca
FARINA Patrizia University of Milano-Bicocca
FELLINI Ivana University of Milano-Bicocca
GUI Marco University of Milano-Bicocca
LUCCHINI Mario University of Milano-Bicocca
MAGARAGGIA Sveva Maria University of Milano-Bicocca
NAVARINI Gianmarco University of Milano-Bicocca
PISATI Maurizio University of Milano-Bicocca
RIVA Egidio University of Milano-Bicocca
ROSSI Paolo University of Milano-Bicocca
SALA  Emanuela Maria University of Milano-Bicocca
STEFANIZZI Sonia University of Milano-Bicocca
VITTUCCI MARZETTI Giuseppe University of Milano-Bicocca
BALDASSARRI Delia New York University
FEIXA PAMPOLS Carles Universitat Pompeu Fabra
JACKLE  Annette University of Essex
KATZ-GERRO Tally University of Manchester
LIZARDO Omar University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
VARESE  Federico University of Oxford


by Scuola di dottorato, last updated on 26/03/2021