How to Say PhD in Italian

Whether you’re an Italian speaker or simply want to impress your Italian friends, learning how to say PhD in Italian can be a valuable skill. In Italian, this prestigious academic title is referred to as “dottorato di ricerca” or “dottoressa di ricerca” for a female. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to express this term, provide regional variations where necessary, and offer various tips and examples to enhance your understanding. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say PhD in Italian

When it comes to formal discussions, using the appropriate term to denote a PhD is crucial. In Italy, the formal term used is “dottorato di ricerca” (pronounced doh-toh-rah-toh dee ree-kair-kah). This phrase directly translates to “doctorate by research” or “PhD.”

Tips: If you want to sound even more formal and precise, you can use the term “titolo di dottore di ricerca” (tee-toh-loh dee doh-toh-reh dee ree-kair-kah), which translates to “title of doctor of research.”

Informal Ways to Say PhD in Italian

When engaging in casual conversations, a more informal way to refer to a PhD degree is to simply use the abbreviation “PhD” itself. Italians are increasingly adopting English acronyms and terminologies, so you can comfortably mention “PhD” while conversing informally.

Another informal yet widely accepted way is to use the word “dottore” (pronounced doh-toh-reh) or “dottoressa” (pronounced doh-toh-rehs-sa) followed by the term “in” and the academic discipline.

Tips: It’s important to note that colloquially using “dottore” or “dottoressa” on its own without specifying the discipline may refer to a medical doctor rather than a PhD graduate. Adding the specific academic field helps avoid any confusion.

Regional Variations

The term “dottorato di ricerca” is the standard and universally accepted form in Italy. However, it’s worth mentioning that regional linguistic variations may occur throughout the country.

In some parts of northern Italy, particularly in Lombardy and Piedmont, people might alternatively use the term “dottoramento” (pronounced doh-toh-rah-men-toh). Given its regional nature, it’s essential to be aware of your audience’s linguistic preferences when conversing in these areas.

Tips for Using the Term

If you want to fully integrate the term “dottorato di ricerca” or any of its informal alternatives into your Italian vocabulary, here are some tips:

  1. Practice Proper Pronunciation: Pay attention to the correct pronunciation of “dottorato di ricerca” and any other terms you plan to use. It will help you sound confident and authentic when engaging in conversations.
  2. Be Mindful of Gender: Remember to modify the term based on the speaker’s gender. Use “dottore” for males and “dottoressa” for females. Adapting the language to the appropriate gender is an essential aspect of speaking Italian accurately.
  3. Specify the Academic Discipline: To avoid any ambiguity, include the academic field after “dottore” or “dottoressa” while referring to someone’s PhD degree. For example, “Sono dottoressa in informatica” (I have a PhD in computer science).
  4. Listen and Learn: Immerse yourself in Italian culture, watch Italian movies, listen to Italian podcasts, or engage in conversations with native Italian speakers. Expose yourself to the language to improve your understanding and usage of the term.


Here are a few examples showcasing the usage of “dottorato di ricerca” and its informal alternatives:

  • Formal Examples:
    • “Sto completando il mio dottorato di ricerca in letteratura italiana.” (I am completing my PhD in Italian literature.)
    • “Il mio amico ha conseguito un dottorato di ricerca in fisica.” (My friend obtained a PhD in physics.)
  • Informal Examples:
    • “Sono dottoressa in biologia.” (I have a PhD in biology.)
    • “Mio fratello sta facendo il PhD in economia.” (My brother is doing a PhD in economics.)

By incorporating these tips and examples into your Italian conversations and interactions, you’ll confidently and accurately convey the concept of a PhD. Buona fortuna!

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