The SEMKNOW introductory module is not applied in University of Torino due to reasons explained below
1. Frame. In Italy, admission to doctoral programmes is ruled by a specific national law. According to this law, once a year each doctoral school organizes a contest that candidates must sit and win if they wish to be admitted. The contest consists in writing a paper on a subject related to the disciplines involved in the doctoral programme. Papers are subsequently anonymously assessed and ranked by a selecting jury, whose members are nominated by the rector among the professors who compose the council of the doctoral school. Each doctoral school determines the number of candidates who, having won the contest, can be admitted each year. Thus far, the doctoral school in semiotics at the University of Torino has admitted a maximum of four candidates per year. Two of these four candidates — those who have ranked best in the contest — have also received, thus far, a full scholarship for the entire duration of the doctoral program.
After the selection contest, doctoral study programmes must start immediately, since according to the national law they must last no longer than three years. Upon the completion of the three years, doctoral students can ask for a delay (up to 12 months), which is granted by the council of the doctoral school after examining the progress of the student who is requesting the delay and her reasons for doing so.
As a consequence, given the schedule of doctoral programmes as it is rigidly prescribed by the national law, no extra semester of preliminary studies can be organized in Italian doctoral programmes. Moreover, given the modality by which candidates to such programmes are selected, this semester of preliminary studies is not necessary either, since the candidates’ solid general knowledge of their discipline of study is attested by their winning the initial contest of admission.
2. Offer Nevertheless, the University of Torino offers a number of classes in semiotics at the second level of the Bologna process framework. Normally, second level students (in the framework of the Bologna process) who are regularly enrolled in the “Laurea magistrale in comunicazione e culture dei media” (“Master Program in Communication and Media Cultures”) take these classes. However, they can be taken by doctoral students as well (as stated in the new national regulations for doctoral studies). Moreover, candidates to doctoral programmes can take them too as “corsi singoli” (“single classes”).
These classes are numerous enough to compose a preliminary semester of semiotic studies for candidates to- and doctoral students of- Semknow.
At the moment, these classes are:
- Philosophy of communication 12 credits
- Theory of narration 6 cr
- Semiotics of culture 6 cr
- Semiotics of television 6 cr
- Semiotics of internet 6
All these classes are currently taught in Italian, although the very recent reform law of the Italian university might introduce classes in English in the near future. However, candidates to the doctoral programme should be aware that they must write a paper in Italian if they want to pass the national admission contest. It is therefore highly recommended that they familiarize themselves with the Italian language and the Italian semiotic lexicon prior to sitting the contest.
The final evaluation of knowledge acquired by candidates to Semknow throughout the abovementioned classes can only consist, according to the national law, in the contest of admission, whose rationale has been described above. Knowledge required to sit the national contest can be considered as formally equivalent to 30 credits
Summarizing, the University of Torino offers an adequate amount and variety of classes in semiotics in order to provide for a semester of preliminary studies in the frame of Semknow. However, according to the national law, such semester cannot be formally integrated in the schedule of the doctoral programme.
A tutorship service is available to all candidates to- and students of- the doctoral programme.
Upon winning the national contest for admission to the doctoral programme in semiotics at the University of Torino, doctoral students will be asked if they intend to enter the Semknow program. If this is their choice, their semiotic knowledge will be tested by a jury composed by the semioticians who are members of the doctoral school. If it is judged that the doctoral students’ knowledge of some areas of semiotics is not satisfactory, they will be asked to improve it and given the necessary assistance to do so. On the contrary, doctoral students who choose not to enter Semknow will follow, as it is in their right, the usual doctoral Italian program.