PhD Degree

Interdisciplinary PhD School

From the emergence of infectious diseases to wicked pattern of conflicts, from the unsustainable management of natural resources to the destruction of biodiversity, from widespread economic hardship to the rise of inequalities, our contemporary challenges exhibit high level of complexity.

Researching these global issues characterized by interconnections and interdependence, integration and fragmentation, instability and surprises, requires more than ever innovative research approaches that transcend disciplinary boundaries.

As the collaboration between disciplines has become an essential part of research, developing an active community of doctoral researchers reflecting on the challenges and obstacles associated with interdisciplinarity is paramount for fostering excellence in research.

The Global Studies Institute in collaboration with the Interfaculty Centre for Children’s Rights Studies and the support of swissuniversities offers a PhD school constituted of three modules tailored to the need of doctoral students interested in studying globalization and global governance through critical, systems, and interdisciplinary approaches.

Each module balances expert teaching with more participative pedagogy.

Module 1 Critical perspectives on globalization
And suddenly, Globalization was under attack!
Discordant voices about the benefits and soundness of globalization have always been present, even altermondialism having been part of globalization studies. But in 2017, leaders of major states, notably the USA, openly contest the established principles and institutions of the post-1989 globalized world. For the GEM and GEM-STONES communities that have been basing their research agendas on Globalization, Multilateralism and Europe, these developments may have an influence on the content and output of most of the individual research project. With the input of high-level academics and practitioners, it is therefore both interesting and necessary to try to analyse and explore the already existing criticial studies that have been developed around the topic of globalization.

Date 03 – 07 July 2017
Organizer: Prof. Nicolas Levrat
Language: English
Credits: 6 ECTS
Number of participants: 25
Location: University of Geneva

More information about Module 1

Module 2 Interdisciplinary research: Epistemic issues, theories, processes and academic career
This module aims to sensitize and train doctoral students to the theories and concepts that underpin interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. By explaining the origins and recent developments of interdisciplinarity from the perspective of history, philosophy and epistemology of the sciences, doctoral students are trained and cognitively equipped to understand motivations, reasons and engaging in transformative research between and beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Date 08 – 10 November 2017
Organizer: Prof. Frédéric Darbellay
Language: English
Credits: 6 ECTS
Number of participants: limited to 15
Location: University of Geneva (Valais Campus, Sion)

More information about Module 2

Module 3 Interdisciplinary research: Approaches and methods
While an important development of the science of inter- and transdisciplinarity has taken place in the last 30 years, interdisciplinary research methods are rarely thought. The module remedies this situation by providing a structured approach to designing and performing interdisciplinary research with a focus on concrete strategies and methods. The target audience are researchers (doctoral candidates and more advanced) that have already an understanding of interdisciplinarity and associated challenges and seek to strengthen their methodological approach in a specific project.

Date: 05 – 08 February 2018
Organizer: Dr. Didier Wernli
Language: English
Credits: 6 ECTS
Number of participants: limited to 15
Location: University of Geneva

More information about Module 3


To be eligible, applicants must hold a master’s degree and be engaged in a doctoral dissertation. More advanced researchers are welcome to attend. As the three modules provide a coherent approach to study global issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, participants are encouraged to attend all of them. However, each module can be attended separately according to the need of the participants  

Attendance is free of charge. Some support is provided for accommodation for doctoral researchers pursuing their PhD in higher education institutions in Switzerland. For further enquiries and registration to the module(s), please send an email to

To apply, the following documents need to be sent as pdf of word documents:

  • A motivation letter (maximum of 500 words)
  • A short CV
  • Summary of the doctoral project (maximum of 500 words)
  • A letter of reference from PhD supervisor

In their email, candidate have to specify in which module(s), they would like to participate.

Deadlines for registration are the following:

  • Module 1: 31 May 2017
  • Module 2: 18 September 2017
  • Module 3: 22 December 2017