The purpose of the doctoral programme is to offer candidates a methodological knowledge that will enable them to deal with economic dualism and social changes in Western Europe during the modern and contemporary ages, even if for specific issues and areas. Work for the dissertation will introduce candidates to a microcosm paving the way for a broader understanding of the macrocosm. In particular, research and discussion with the members of the faculty will allow candidates to master the economic and social mechanics that underlay the European evolution from the 16th through the 20th century. During this training ? leading to the preparation and defence of the dissertation ? the doctoral candidates will address historical demography and the analysis of the agrarian structures, with specific reference to the distribution of the estates, to the forms of management and production, as well as to markets. Attention will be also paid to the examination of the dynamics by which the transition from the commercial-agrarian equilibrium to its industrial counterpart took place. Emphasis will be placed on how imbalance and dualism in the rural world affected and deeply influenced the development of the manufacturing sector. Successful candidates will select a topic for their dissertations after reviewing available sources in a State archive with the advice of their tutors. Every two or three months, they will submit to the coordinator of the doctoral programme papers incorporating their work undertaken under the supervision of their tutors. Such papers will eventually become part of the dissertation after due revisions. The coordinator will distribute the papers to all the members of the faculty. Each of the latter will offer remarks and suggestions, either orally or in writing, in order to improve the papers. As a result of this cross-checking process, supervision over the work of the doctoral candidates will be extensive and effective.