Graduate Opportunities

The Duke University Center for International & Global Studies (DUCIGS) offers study abroad and professional development opportunities for Duke students as part of its consortium with Venice International University (VIU). Opportunities include Summer/Autumn/Winter Schools, International Ph.D. Academies and Graduate Seminars. Funding may be available via DUCIGS or VIU. Event and application dates vary.

Contact information:
Amanda Frederick
Assistant Director, DUCIGS
p: 919-668-1663


Summer Schools

During the summer term, VIU organizes and hosts a series of summer schools in cooperation with the member institutions. These intensive taught programs focus on specific themes which are of common interest to the members involved and which have been identified as strategic for the VIU consortium, for example: sustainable development, preservation of cultural heritage, and the challenges that society faces today due to ageing populations.

World-renowned academics come together in the unique setting of VIU’s campus on the island of San Servolo, where they engage with students of various levels.

The goal of these interdisciplinary summer schools is to disseminate knowledge among students (undergrad, master’s, PhD, post-doc) and young academics, and to establish and reinforce research networks among the VIU community.The Schools are also open to applicants outside of the VIU membership.


Life Course and Vulnerabilities
Program Dates: March 7-11, 2022

During an intensive one-week program, doctoral students and young researchers will work on various fields of Life Course research through a multidisciplinary approach (Sociology, Psychology, Social Psychology, Life-span Psychology, Social Demography and Social Policies) led by internationally renowned experts.
In particular, the Winter School will focus on training the participants in the drafting of research projects or journal articles as a fundamental aspect of the academic career they are approaching. With a “learning -by-doing” approach, participants will go through all stages of these drafting processes.

Suitable for:  PhD students and postdoc researchers from various disciplines including Psychology, Sociology, Social Psychology, Life-span Psychology, Social Demography and Social Policy, Statistics and Socioeconomics.

Applications: November 26, 2021 – January 28, 2022

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Migration and Gender: a Legal and Literary Perspective
Program Dates: May 16-21, 2022

The summer school offers a legal-literary approach to the ways in which migration influences gender. The course will discuss both this idea, and reversing the formula, it will examine the role of migration in shaping gender, understood as relational and performative. A particular focus will be on identity in relation to human rights and law, labor, and culture. The course will model the ways in which the humanities and the imagination might inform legal processes or contour legal decisions. this course will educate a young generation of lawyers, academics and activists by raising awareness of many issues at the intersection of gender, migration, and law.

Suitable for: MA and PhD Students in Sociology, Gender Studies, Literature, Human rights, Law, Labor, and Cultural Studies.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – January 25, 2022


Summer Institute on Ageing 2022
Program Dates: June 13-17, 2022 

The Summer Institute provides students and early-career researchers with a multidisciplinary and rigorous understanding of the ageing process, ranging from some basic notions of the medical and epidemiological literature, to an extensive treatment of economics (pensions and retirement, ageing in society and intergenerational relationships) and of the sociological dimensions (intergenerational transfers, role of family networks).
A special focus is the use of large micro-data sets, such as SHARE (Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe) and sister surveys (HRS, ELSA, CHARLS).

Suitable for: Graduates, PhD students and post-doc scholars in Economics, Statistics, Social Sciences and Medicine, but also professionals in the pharmaceutical and ageing are industries.

Applications: January 27, 2022 - February 25, 2022 

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The Age Criterion in the Allocation of Limited Resources During a Pandemic: Ethical, Clinical, Economic and Legal Evaluation
Program Dates: June 20-24, 2022 

The program offers students and early career researchers the opportunity to critically reflect, with the help of highly qualified experts, on topical issues that raise ethical and deontological dilemmas, relating to ageing and end of life.A fundamental feature of the School concerns its method, which is characterized by a continuous and intense interdisciplinary exchange between doctors, philosophers, economists, jurists, psychiatrists and sociologists. During this second edition, the course will focus on the problem of patient triage during the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, it happened that in the most dramatic phases of the pandemic and in the most affected areas there were no ventilators for everyone or that other medical aids were lacking. The rationing of medical resources has raised concerns of various kinds, which have triggered wide-ranging reflections, in the medical, philosophical, economic, legal, sociological fields. One of the most discussed and debated criteria for access to intensive care was based on the age of the patients.

Suitable for: Undergraduates, graduates, PhD students and post-doc scholars in Philosophy, Political Sciences, Sociology, Social Work, Economics, Statistics Sciences and Medicine, but also professionals in the pharmaceutical and ageing care industries.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – February 20, 2022


Organizing for Sustainable Futures: Micro and Macro-institutional Conditions of Transformation
Program Dates: June 27 – 30, 2022

Our society is facing a legitimacy crisis. The accelerating ecological crisis, the growing gap between the rich and the poor as well as the systemic risks provoked by disconnected financial markets make it necessary to profoundly rethink our routines of production and consumption. While there is a growing awareness for the importance and urgency of radical change, deep processes of transformation usually face numerous institutional and psychological barriers that have to be overcome. As Jared Diamond described in his book “Collapse”, civilizations often react to a crisis of which they do not understand the causalities by reinforcing the routines that might have created the crisis in the first place. The VIU Summer School in 2022 will go beyond those routines, to reimagine pathways for the Grand Transition on which we have embarked on a planetary scale, and to reflect upon the radical change, both in what economic actors do, and how organization scholars theorize about it.

Suitable for: Current PhD students, post-doc scholars and young researchers in Management, Strategy, Organization Theory, Finance, Economic Sociology, and related disciplines.

Applications: December 6, 2021 – March 6, 2022

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Advanced Transportation, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management
Program Dates: June 27 – July 2, 2022

The program develops an original comprehensive approach, bringing into focus the need for synergic engagement among policy-makers, planners, and private and public actors in transport, logistics, and supply chain management. The participants will explore the latest innovations in technology, business models, and policy-making. Through rigorous and non-conventional empirical and theoretical approaches we will explore emerging trends, strategic scenarios, IT and modeling tools, methods, and case studies, and discuss how these can support business and policy-makers, achieve environmental sustainability, and socio-economic efficiency. 

Suitable for: Graduates who have completed an undergraduate degree in Planning, Engineering, Geography, Economics, IT, Design, Political Science, or Public Policy. Applications are also welcome from professionals working in related fields.

Applications: January 25 - March 13, 2022

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Global Shakespeare: Othello’s Venice in the World
Program Dates: July 4-9, 2022

“Shakespeare” is now a global vernacular—a resonant language available throughout the world as a form of self-expression and enquiry. The Summer School aims to gather an international cohort of graduate students for a week-long, multi-faceted exploration of one of the most timely topics in the interdisciplinary humanities: Shakespeare’s global contexts and futures. In order to provide focus and coherence, the play Othello, set in multicultural Venice, will be taken as a case study throughout the summer school. Using Shakespeare’s poetry and dramaturgy as a resource, it asks participants to consider how connections can be made across languages, religions, and nation-states.

Suitable for:  MA and PhD students from various disciplines including Literary Studies, Shakespeare Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, History, Politics, Philosophy, Anthropology, Media and Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Art, Gender Studies, Queer Studies.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – March 8, 2022


Ernest Hemingway’s Presence in Venice & in the World, Now and Then
Program Dates: July 4-9, 2022

This interdisciplinary summer school will take its cues from a short selection of accessible texts to explore Ernest Hemingway’s presence and influence in Venice and beyond. As for other places where he lived and worked—Pamplona, Key West, Paris, Havana—, Hemingway contributed to the international aura of Venice. Reading his works in the Venetian context will not only give students access to one of the most important Modernist writers, but it will also lead them to an examination of history, geography, cultural critique, language, and culture centered in Venice. With his ubiquitous presence in Venice and in the World, Hemingway offers us a key to many an aspect of modern literature and culture.

Suitable for: Graduate students (MA and PhD) from various disciplines: Literary Studies, American Studies, Global Studies, History, Politics, Media and Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Art, Gender Studies, Queer Studies.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – March 8, 2022


Critical Infrastructure Resilience
Program Dates: July 18-22, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic is the most recent shock that has affected our societies, and there are still significant uncertainties remaining for 2020 and 2021. Decision-making is the single most effective factor in conditioning a successful recovery and building resilience for the crises to come. In its fifth edition, the Summer School offers a pragmatic framework and a tactical decision-making tool for resilience. The tool is actively used by professionals, public authorities, and academics. The course has a scientific approach combined with a hands-on interactive format designed for a multi-disciplinary audience.

Suitable for: Professionals, officials, and graduate students already working on the topic or thinking their work may benefit from it.

Applications: December 16, 2021 – March 25, 2022


Science Diplomacy: Improving Capacity of Science to Inform Policy
Program Dates: July 18-23, 2022

Science Diplomacy is a tool that recognizes science as a process for pursuing evidence and diplomacy as a process for dialogue and cooperation between different stakeholders. In our increasingly interconnected world, there is a growing need for science diplomacy as we are confronted by issues concerning agriculture or trade, automation or cryptocurrencies, peace & security, global health pandemics, and climate change, among many other complex challenges. Our decision-making power is strengthened or weakened by the relevance, timeliness, reliability, and communication of information in a fast-paced changing environment. While academia includes specialties in translational science, public policy, health policy and other policy-related fields, these programs do not address the needs of the vast matrix of other scientific disciplines to provide students with training and tools to effectively partner and communicate with non-scientists, whether they are policy-makers, community leaders or the general public. This is Science Diplomacy at its core—partnerships to eliminate cultural, sectoral, and knowledge barriers. 

Suitable for: Master’s and PhD students from various disciplines including Global Health, Public Health, Environmental Science, Economics, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology & Demography, Biology, Engineering, Clinical Medicine.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – March 22, 2022


Films in Venice and Filming Venice
Program Dates: August 29 – September 7, 2022

The Summer School Films in Venice and Filming Venice is an initiative of Venice International University, in partnership with its member universities Ca' Foscari, Iuav, Tel Aviv, Waseda, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, and Exeter, organized to coincide with the 78th International Venice Film Festival.

The aim is to combine film theory and practice, applying them to representations of Venice, through a multidisciplinary and multicultural approach, reflected both in the composition of the faculty and the student body. The first week, students will be introduced to the history, culture and anthropology of Venice and its relation to visual media. They will be offered basic notions of film analysis and film-making theory. The second week, will be devoted to film-making practice. Students will be encouraged to develop a team project on Venice: a film, which will be screened and collectively discussed and analyzed at the end of the Summer School. Deserving projects will be shown at the Ca' Foscari Short Film Festival in 2022.

Suitable for: Graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines including Film Studies, Film-Making, Art History, Visual Art, History, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology; and anyone who would like to learn the basics of film-making in various forms - fiction, docudrama, documentary, visual arts, etc.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – May 3, 2022

VIU students

VIU International PhD Academy

This PhD Academy is among the Global Challenges Initiatives of VIU. It is an intensive training program for PhD candidates from the member universities of VIU. The Academy is a 7-10 day event, which includes a scientific program and a parallel program of training and workshops that provides PhD candidates with training in a range of skills that will be useful in developing their research and academic careers.

Each Academy will focus on a major societal challenge faced by humankind today, which will be addressed via multidisciplinary approaches, involving high-level speakers selected among the VIU member institutions but whose remarks will be adapted to a broad cohort of the VIU community. Financial support is available to candidates from the Member Universities, including Duke, to support international travel and accommodation costs.

Cities and Water VIU FLYER

Cities and Water in a Time of Climate Change
Program Dates: February 14-18, 2022

Our planet is suffering dramatic urgencies, exacerbated by climate change. Excess and lack of water largely impact urban life in our cities and territories. Floodings and droughts are among the main causes of social tension, migrations among continents, desertification and hydrogeological risks, loss in food production, inadequate waste treatment. Cities use too much water and too quickly for nature to keep up, and there is an urgent need to radically rethink the role of water in cities. Reducing consumption and better use of water is not enough under the pressure of climate change. Water is largely mismanaged: the preservation of aquifers and the extension of the lifecycle of water for entire cities is necessary.

Suitable for: PhD students, post-docs and young researchers in Urban Design, Urban Studies, Urban planning, Geography, Sociology, Economics, History of cities and water, Environmental Science and Engineering.

Applications: This PhD Academy is a postponed 2020 activity. Applications are currently closed, however, should any places become available, a new call for applications will be opened.

What is a People? Social, Political, and Legal Controversies VIU Flyer

What is a People? Social, Political, and Legal Controversies
Program Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022

The concept of ‘people’ has been a feeding ground for social sciences, public debates, and political processes since the 19th century and today has again emerged as the core of the discourse of recent populist movements. However, the outlines of its definition are not distinct but rather blurred and involve a broad semantic range that overlaps and intersects with the notions of state, country, nationalism, culture, ethnicity, group, language, minority, and identity. This International PhD Academy addresses this ambiguous concept, both in its (mis)uses in the political arena, and as a scientific label adopted to comprehend the riddle of collective identities.

Suitable for: PhD students, post-docs, and young researchers in Political Science, International Relations, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Philosophy, History, Peace and Conflict Studies, and International Human Rights Law.  

Applications: This PhD Academy is a postponed 2020 activity. Applications are currently closed, however, should any places become available, a new call for applications will be opened. 

VIU Flyer Light and ITS Nature

Light: Its Nature and Its Use
Program Dates: May 2-6, 2022
The 21st century is frequently termed the "century of light". Light sciences and technologies drive research in physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. This PhD Academy aims at giving a broad overview of modern optics and its applications (i.e. photonics) in various fields involving the exploration of matter, the design of original devices involving light (e.g. imaging and medical set-ups, optical communications) and their applications in analytical sciences (e.g. microscopy, spectroscopies), healthcare, manufacture and arts. The course will concentrate on the transversality of the issues addressed and emphasize how the various perspectives to use light have enhanced creativity and innovation of the design of new devices based on light-matter interaction and have contributed to a better understanding of the physical phenomena underlying these effects.

Suitable for: PhD students, post-docs and young researchers in sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, health sciences, art and architecture, archeology. 

Applications: This PhD Academy is a postponed 2020 activity. Applications are currently closed, however, should any places become available, a new call for applications will be opened. 


The State of the Art of Area Studies
Program Dates: June 13-17, 2022

As a field, Area Studies would seem to possess an unusual number of advantages in the contemporary academy: it is inherently inter- or trans-disciplinary, it offers students cultural capital and linguistic skills which are valuable in the marketplace as well as in the university, and its enclaves serve as repositories of expert knowledge which are of value to state and commercial actors. Scholars working in the field are also often skilled communicators, well used to explaining their parts of the world to general publics as well as to expert audiences.

As generations of graduate students discover, however, Area Studies also seems to be perpetually riven by two tensions: firstly, that it seeks to critique power, whilst feeding off and aiding the institutions it critiques; and, secondly, that the broader academy sees Area Studies as an un-disciplinary field, in which scholars often lose the rigor and coherence of their disciplinary background.

Suitable for:  PhD students, Post-docs, and young researchers working in Area Studies, broadly construed. 

Applications: December 1, 2021 – February 28, 2022


VIU Graduate Seminars

The Graduate Seminars are thematic intensive seminars, on a focused topic, approached from a multidisciplinary perspective. The seminars are driven by interdepartmental cooperation, and it is expected that they will give rise to medium- and long-term projects involving the participating departments.  Financial support is available to candidates from the Member Universities, including Duke, to support international travel and accommodation costs.


Learning from Geoenvironmental Data: Tools for a Changing Planet
Program Dates: May 23-27, 2022

The interactions between geoenvironmental and anthropic processes are increasing due to the ever-growing population and its related side effects (e.g., urban sprawl, natural resource and energy consumption, etc.). Natural hazards, land degradation, environmental pollution and climate change are some of the most evident results of the “interactions” between geosphere and anthroposphere. At a finer spatial scale, geo-environmental and geo-engineering issues in urban contexts or in the proximity of infrastructures represent a wide set of challenges that directly affect the critical zone. In this context, spatial and spatiotemporal data are crucial for the analysis, modelling and forecasting of the possible interactions between human activities and the geoenvironment.

Suitable for: Advanced Master, early PhD students and young researchers in Earth/Environmental Sciences, Biology and Spatial Ecology, Physical Geography. Applicants from humanities-related disciplines with computational skills and sound mathematical knowledge will be considered. 

Applications: December 1, 2021 – January 31, 2022 

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Defining the Human in Environmental Humanities (Conference)
Program Dates: June 6-11, 2022

Who is the “human” at the heart of environmental humanities? By definition, environmental humanists seek to explore the bond between humans and nature, and they dedicate themselves to promoting environmental policies and practices that are both socially just and robust. Yet, with the blurring boundaries between nature and culture, humans and non-humans in the Anthropocene, it is also an appropriate moment for environmental humanists to define what it means to be human and to recognize how the human transforms in light of new trends in the medical, scientific, technological, and philosophical fields. At the same time, urgent social trends—including migration spurred by climate change and environmental degradation—can significantly complicate a progressive agenda by raising the question of what we are willing to share with whom. How do we preserve a flexible and capacious understanding of the human, one that is capable of addressing all terrestrial beings?

Suitable for: Advanced Master and early PhD students in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Environmental Sciences.

Applications: December 1, 2021 – February 15, 2022

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Digital Citizenship: Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of a Digitalized Society
Virtual Sessions: August 29 – November 21, 2022  
On Campus: November 28 – December 3, 2022

The focus of this program will be on the subject of Digital Citizenship. It will challenge you to explore in an interdisciplinary way with your peers the questions of how we become digital citizens and how we manage, protect, and nurture our new digital society. More specifically, the program will aim to identify the worldwide challenges that digital citizenship might entail and how to tackle these challenges, be it social, economic, environmental, or otherwise.

Suitable for: Advanced Master and early PhD students in all disciplines from all VIU member institutions, with an interest in the subject of Digital Citizenship. Applicants are not required to have pre-existing knowledge on the subject but should have acquired a solid knowledge base in their own academic fields and should have the necessary analytical skills to treat and discuss the subject in an interdisciplinary way. Applications from excellent candidates from non-member institutions will be also considered and evaluated. 

Applications: December 1, 2021 – June 15, 2022


Science Communication Today: Challenges and Opportunities in the SDGs Era
Program Dates: September 12-16, 2022

Science communication is a key topic, as it also emerged during the COVID pandemic: it can engage different publics (e.g. citizens and decision makers) in science, sharing knowledge and understanding, and empowering them to face today society challenges related to sustainable development and the SDGs. However, Science Communication is a challenge itself, due to the existing gap between science and the wider public, as well as between science and communicators. In order to fill these gaps critical topics in science communication, such as science communication in the digitalization era, different media challenges and opportunities, the relation between scientists and professional communicators, quality and effectiveness in science communication need to be analysed.

Suitable for: Advanced master students, PhD students and young researchers studying or interested in Science Communication from different fields, e.g. Sociology, Neuroscience, Education Science, Media and Communication Studies, Economics, Humanities, as well as science and technology researchers who are keen to get involved in science communication research. 

Applications: December 1, 2021 – May 12, 2022

Click here to get more information about the VIU Graduate Activities Archive.

Contact information:
Amanda Frederick
Assistant Director, DUCIGS
p: 919-668-1663