Program objectives, educational path and research themes


The doctoral program aims at providing participants with:

  1. thorough, methodologically oriented knowledge of the main normative corpora and related scholarly reflection in the areas of civil law, labour law and intellectual property;
  2. solid knowledge of ancient Roman legal experience and its legacy, as well as the developmental processes of medieval, modern and contemporary national legal heritages in both the secular orders and canonical spheres.

The program prepares participants interested in roles in university research and higher education, as well as responding to legal-sciences professionals intending to complete their preparation in solid historical-legal positive knowledge of European legal experience, thereby enabling them to operate well in the areas of the traditional law degree (trial, judiciary, notary, public and private law), including in the international arena.

Education is achieved through structured courses and intensive seminars, advancing from basic to specialist preparation. Doctoral students are also guaranteed continuous access to a corps of tutors, including tutors designated for individual reference. The interdisciplinary symbiosis of the private and legal-historical components ensures wide-ranging preparation, methodological pluralism, and foundational integration of legal, historical and philological preparation, as necessary for post-doctoral research.

Educational path
  • The educational path consists of participation in collective learning and individual research activities, culminating in the preparation of a PhD thesis, under the direction of a tutor.



The Department presents two courses compulsory for students of all PhD programs in the given year.

The first - between October and March, totalling about 25 hours – aims at providing students with the necessary skills for interpretation of legal sources. The course, which begins from a shared approach but differs from one degree curriculum to another, is presented through a lecture series introducing the participants to the theme and methods, followed by a series of exegetical seminars on the commentary and translation, where necessary, of normative, jurisprudential and doctrinaire texts relating to the student’s chosen theme.

The second course – between May and June, also about 25 hours – explores one of the major themes of legal science from an interdisciplinary perspective. This course is common to all the departmental doctoral programs.


In addition to the two structured courses, the PhD program offers a series of in-depth methodological and content-related related lectures, seminars and conferences, of up to several days’ duration, held in university and other locations, on topics chosen for their contribution to disciplinary education and provision of specific perspectives and tools for individual research. The seminars include an introduction to the use of information technology in legal research.

All events are announced well in advance, with bibliographic indications for preparation, for encouragement of critical participation.


Each year, the department cooperates with other research and higher education institutions in the offer of cycles of highly specialised seminars. These events provide doctoral candidates with possibilities of networking with Italian and European lecturers.

Examples of some of the participating institutions in this program are:

  • Accademia Costantiniana di Perugia (Constantinian Academy of Perugia): seminars intended for candidates with research theses on late antiquity, including options of participation as presenters.
  • Centre for Research and Studies on Ancient Law (CEDANT): seminars and a limited number student internships in the centre’s operations, on the basis of international selection.
  • National Committee of Doctorates in Private Law: jointly organised inter-university research meetings and seminars pertinent to candidates studying private law, including options for participation as presenters.
  • Postgraduate course in Labour law: in support of individual research projects.
Individual research

The doctoral program concludes with the presentation of a research thesis before a board of external examiners, as qualification for the degree. In March-April of their first year, program participants choose their research theme in cooperation with the Academic Faculty, at this time also receiving a tutor, usually a professor from the Scientific Committee of the relevant curriculum.

Doctoral candidates are invited to present their research results orally, in a forum open to the Scientific Committee, Academic Faculty, other students and public.

Research themes

The research themes pursued under the current program represent a synergy of the two historic UNIPV doctoral programs in Private law and in Roman law and European legal culture.

In the contemporary context, positive law is subject to great tensions between continuity and transformation. In this context, current research themes inquire, among others, into the fundamental institutions of private law, new frontiers and regulatory challenges imposed by economic globalisation, the new labour market, and the development of the information society.

The core themes concerning juridical history and European law deal with Roman law, in historical context and extending through the medieval and modern legal experiences in continental Europe, and including both secular political and ecclesiastic institutional aspects.

The entire doctoral program is based on a common platform divided into six curricula:

  1. Civil law;
  2. Labour law and industrial relations;
  3. Intellectual property and competition;
  4. Roman law;
  5. European legal culture and Roman canon law in Europe.

Research themes are organised under the following general areas:

  • Civil law: obligations; contracts in general; individual typical and atypical contracts; civil liability;
  • Roman law: Roman private, public and criminal law; history of sources; history of legal thought; law of the late empire; Byzantine law; other ancient law.
  • Labour law and industrial relations: protection of workers in the context of face of new forms of company organisation; recourse to flexible and autonomous employment;
  • European legal culture: Lombard and Carolingian periods; from glossators to humanism; Pandettism; rationalism and modern codifications; history of public and criminal law;
  • Intellectual property and competition law: national, European and international regulation on intellectual property and competition, including the history of regulation.
  • Roman canon law in Europe: Mutual influences between Roman Catholic law and the legal system; ecclesiastic institutions and practices in the medieval and modern eras.

The doctoral program builds strong fundaments in legal education in a wide variety of subject areas and scientific disciplines. The program enriches the candidate’s historical perspective, encouraging them to reflect on the foundations and subsequent developments of law in Europe, from antiquity to the codifications of the 18th-20th centuries, which now serve as the basis for standardisation of law within the European Union.

The program also educates candidates in the use of the conceptual and operational tools necessary in the context of the current economic and social processes, and in view of national and international competitions for prestigious professional appointments in the legal sphere.