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The Postgraduate Diploma Programme is made of four specialized  fields,  reflecting the core research activities of the ICTP sections, and one field in Physics, with an intense and comprehensive revision of undergraduate physics.


The four specialized fields are as follows:  Condensed Matter Physics, High Energy Physics, Mathematics and Earth System Physics. The focus is especially on those developing countries for which high-quality advanced scientific training is less accessible. The academic programme itself is quite intense and consists of three terms: the first is dedicated to courses in basic subjects; the second comprises selected advanced topics in the field; and during the third, Postgraduate Diploma students carry out research under the guidance of a Faculty supervisor.  During the first 9 months of the programme, students attend on an average around 10 hours of lectures per week, and do obligatory homework assignments. Final examinations are administered for each of the 8-10 courses. Those who successfully pass this stage will go on to work on dissertations during the last 3 months of the programme, ending in an oral defence of the written dissertation.


The Postgraduate Diploma course in Physics is designed for young physicists and mathematicians from sub-Saharan Africa. The intent is to prepare the students with the necessary background for them to pursue further studies at the graduate level. A number of students with exceptional performance in the final exams will automatically be accepted in the Postgraduate Diploma Programme in Condensed Matter Physics, High Energy Physics, Mathematics,  or Earth  System Physics.


The ICTP Postgraduate Diploma is awarded only to those students who have successfully completed the examinations and dissertation work, and complied with other formalities as may be decided upon by the Scientific Committee of the Postgraduate Diploma Programme.