The University of Milan (Università degli Studi di Milano) is one of the most important and largest universities in Europe, with about 60,000 students and a permanent teaching and research staff of about 2,000. In 2016 it was ranked third in Italy by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (also known as Shanghai Ranking), and by the Center for World University Rankings while the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities placed it fourth. The most recent assessment by the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR) in February 2017 ranked the University of Milan among the top three Italian universities in economics and statistics.
The University of Pavia (founded in 1361) is one of the oldest academic institutions worldwide. Currently, it counts about 25,000 students and a teaching and research staff of about 1,000 researchers.
The Universities of Milan and Pavia have a long and consolidated tradition of post-graduate teaching and research in Economics. The collaboration between the Economics Departments of the two universities enables the PhD Faculty to offer expert supervision in some of the most active fields in Economics.
The University of Milan has offered a PhD program in Economics, in various formats, since 1984. Until 1999, the program was jointly offered with Bocconi University and the Catholic University of Milan. Since 2000, and for the following decade, the University of Milan led a partnership with the Universities of Milano-Bicocca, Bergamo, Brescia, and LIUC - Castellanza. In 2011, the University of Milan co-founded the Lombardy Advanced School of Economics and Research (LASER) with the Universities of Bergamo, Brescia and Pavia.
Since 2014 the program is a joint initiative of the Universities of Milan and Pavia.
The PhD Program in Economics (joint with the University of Milan since 2011) has been offered in Pavia since it was first established by Italian Law in 1984.