Choosing to embark on a PhD programme at the University of Geneva will enable you to lead your research project in an international and competitive environment. You will be supervised by renowned professors and experts.
PhDs programme at the University of Geneva
The PhD programme is based on an individual research project. A PhD programme generally lasts between 6 to 10 semesters.
As a comprehensive University, the UNIGE leads research in diverse spectrum of research areas.
A Master is a prerequisite to apply for a PhD project at UNIGE. Students are advised to check the Rules & regulations at UNIGE to ensure they are entitled to enroll on a PhD programme. Contact Service des Admissions and check UNIGE Admission rules
UNIGE offers a broad scopes of expertises:
|Anthropology | Astronomy and Astrophysics | Biochemistry | Bioinformatics | Biology | Chemistry | Crystallography | Earth Sciences| Environmental Sciences | Informatics | Interdisciplinary PhD | Mathematics | Neurosciences | Pharmaceutical Sciences | Physics | Prehistoric Archaeology | Science Didactic | Statistics|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Sciences|
|Bioethics | Biomedical Sciences | Medical Sciences “MD – PhD”|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Medicine|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of sciences of the society|
|Accounting | Communication Science and Media | Company Management | Demography | Econometrics | Economic and Social History | Finance | Gender Studies | Geography | Information Systems | Political Economy | Political Science | Public Administration | Socioeconomics | Sociology | Statistics|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Economics and Management|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Law|
|Theology (Old Testament, New Testament, History of Christianity, Systematic Theology, Ethics, Practical Theology) | Theology Orthodox | Ecumenical Theology|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Theology|
|Educational Sciences | Logopedics | Psychology|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences|
|Conference Interpreting | Multilingual Communication Management | Multilingual Information Processing | Translation Studies|
|-> please find information and regulations at the Faculty of Translation and Interpretating|
Identifying your PhD supervisor
Upon validation of your status, you are responsible to contact a PhD supervisor.
Doctoral programmes offer an additional frame of training : either disciplinary, methodological and interdisciplinary skills combined or not with cross-disciplinary skills to complete a curriculum of hard and soft skills.
If doctoral programmes are strongly recommanded, they are not a prerequisite to pass the PhD diploma.
The University of Geneva, Fribourg, Lausanne & Neuchatel have been involved in the development of doctoral programmes in the framework of the Conférence des Universités de Suisse occidentales (CUSO).
A participation in a doctoral programme will allow you to collect ECTS credits.
Current doctoral programmes available:
- Affective Sciences
- Applied Economics and Econometrics
- Applied Statistics
- Behavioral Economics and Experimental Research
- Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Computer Science
- Contemporary History
- Earth Surface Processes and Paleobiosphere
- Ecology and Evolution
- English Language and Literature
- English Language and Literature
- Etudes sur le siècle des lumières
- French Literature
- Frontiers in Genetics
- Geman Language and Literature
- Gender Studies
- History of Art
- International PhD program in Basic and Applied Molecular Life Sciences
- Italian Studies
- Language Sciences
- Life Courses Perspectives (LIVES)
- Materials with Novel Electronic Properties (MANEP)
- Medieval Studies
- Microbial Sciences
- Mineral Sciences
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Molecular Plant Sciences
- Operations Research
- Organismal Biology
- Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Political Sciences
- Sciences of Education
- Sciences of the Antiquity (EDOCSA)
- Social Psychology
Students wishing to enroll for a PhD programme should carefully plan the funding as early as the second year of the master.
PhD Funding at the University of Geneva
Most opportunities are published on UNIGE’s job offers, on the job platform “Get Hired”, or on MyScience.ch. Some doctoral programs also offer funding for the thesis. This particularly applies to PhD Programs of the faculty of medicine and, of the « International PhD program in Basic and Applied Molecular Life Sciences » of the faculty of sciences.
- You are hired on an assistant position at the University of Geneva (budget of the State of Geneva)
- You are funded by external grants that the research group has obtained from research funding agencies or foundations
- You have found a professor with a research domain of interest to you
- Self funding for a doctoral study
- 1) You have a thesis project in the field of humanities & social sciences
- 2) Reduction of your research activity due to family commitment (subsidy for female researchers only)
- 3) You are a research-oriented physician and you wish to prepare a PhD thesis
- 5) You are currently a PhD student in an institution located in one of the new countries being members of the European Union (Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania)
- 6) You are a foreigner and you wish to prepare a PhD thesis at the University of Geneva
- 7) You are registered for a PhD at the University of Geneva since at least one year and you wish to reinforce you scientific training abroad during the duration of the PhD
- 8) You are a PhD student at the University of Geneva and you are looking for a funding to complete your thesis at the University of Geneva
- Other funding opportunities for PhD students
You are hired on an assistant position at the University of Geneva (budget of the State of Geneva)
Most of our PhD students are hired on an assistant position. The position is funded by the budget of the University of Geneva and is provided by the research group. According to the regulation for the staff of the University (art 149), the assistant has teaching and research duties under the supervision of a professor or a “maître d’enseignement et de recherche” or a “chargé de cours”.
Vacancies of assistant positions are advertised on UNIGE’s job offers.
You are funded by external grants that the research group has obtained from research funding agencies or foundations
Professors obtain research grants by submitting applications to the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), to the European Commission (Euresearch) or to other sponsors.
The PhD student is hired as an assistant (on external fund) or as candoc if the grant comes from the SNSF.
Various funding schemes of the SNSF can include some PhD contributions: individual projects, Sinergia, SNSF professorships, Ambizione projects, National Research Programs and National Centers of Competence in Research.
You have found a professor with a research domain of interest to you
If your research plan matches one of research group, you might wish to contact the Group Leader in charge, he might be able to support your PhD programme.
Self funding for a doctoral study
Fellowships and grants to fund a doctoral programme are available; note that the selection can be tough.
1) You have a thesis project in the field of humanities & social sciences
You can apply for the SNSF scheme: Doc.CH in humanities and social sciences (HSS).
Doc.CH (HSS) is an funding scheme of excellence and is aimed at promising researchers in the humanities and social sciences in Switzerland.
Check the formal requirement before applying.
The grant is awarded for a period of two to four years.
Deadlines for submission: March 10th and September 10th - every year
Candidates should submit their application to the Secretariat office of the SNSF Research Commission at UNIGE.
2) Reduction of your research activity due to family commitment (subsidy for female researchers only)
Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) is a support offered to researchers who face or had to face reduction of their research activity because of family commitment. The MHV subsidy is awarded for a maximum of two years (and possibility of one-year extension). The subsidy covers the salary of the PhD student according to SNSF grading scale for PhD students. The submission deadline is beginning of August each year.
3) You are a research-oriented physician and you wish to prepare a PhD thesis
You can apply for a MD-PhD SNSF grant. Applicants need to have completed studies in human or dental medicine at the beginning of the period of the subsidy. Annual subsidies of CHF 60,000 may be granted for a maximum of 3 years. From 9 to 13 subsidies per year are granted. The submission deadline is December 15th every year. Other opportunities for physicians to prepare a PhD thesis are available on the Postgraduate education webpage of the faculty of medicine.
5) You are currently a PhD student in an institution located in one of the new countries being members of the European Union (Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania)
You can carry on your research in a Swiss institution thanks to a doctoral fellowship Sciex (Scientific Exchange Program between Switzerland and the New Member States of the European Union). The doctoral fellowship may begin not earlier than one year after the start of your PhD. The research stay in Switzerland can last 6 to 24 months. The applicant and the person responsible for the project is the professor of the University of Geneva who will be the mentor of the PhD student.
6) You are a foreigner and you wish to prepare a PhD thesis at the University of Geneva
You can apply for a PhD Scholarship to the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students. First check if your country of origin is eligible for a PhD Scholarship by surfing on the website of the Commission. You need to have a Master or an equivalent University degree recognized by the University of Geneva. You must not be more than 35 years old at the moment of the application and you need to live in your country of origin at the moment of the submission. You must provide a letter (e-mail) from a Professor of the University of Geneva stating that he/she is willing to supervise the PhD thesis. The scholarship amounts to a monthly payment of CHF 1,920 for a maximum of 3 years. Interested applicants can obtain the application package from the Swiss Embassy of their country.
7) You are registered for a PhD at the University of Geneva since at least one year and you wish to reinforce you scientific training abroad during the duration of the PhD
You can apply for a SNSF Doc.Mobility fellowship. Doc.Mobility fellowships are awarded for 6 months up to a maximum of 18 months and start at the earliest 2 or 4 months after the submission deadline of the Doc.Mobility grant (March 1st and September 1st) and at the latest 12 months after the date on the letter granting the subsidy. You need to confirm in writing your intention to continue your doctoral studies and obtain your doctorate at your home institution once the mobility fellowship has ended. The subsidy includes personal expenses (CHF 41,000 to 46,000 per year depending on the cost of living of the country of your stay) (higher grading scale will be granted if the grantee is accompanied by a partner without any paid activity), travel expenses, congress expenses, essential costs of the research, registration fees at the host institution and, a child allowance defined by the SNSF (check fellowship amounts). If you are an assistant, during your stay abroad you will be considered "in detachment" and your salary of assistant will be suspended. The scientific evaluation and the decision of granting Doc.Mobility subsidy falls to the SNSF Commission based at the University of Geneva. Applicants who wish to submit an application need to announce themselves to the administrative office of the commission ( or ) by attaching to the email their CV.
Submission deadlines: March 1st and September 1st every year.
Other funding opportunities for a stay abroad during the PhD period
- The Zdenek and Michaela Bakala Foundation awards grants to UNIGE’s researchers who wish to go abroad for one or more semesters in the framework of their PhD thesis (or for the entire period dedicated to the PhD thesis). However the host institution has to be located in the US, the UK or in Europe and must be recognized as a top university such as for example Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Yale, etc. (this list is neither exhaustive nor limitative). Applicants should be fiscally domiciled in Switzerland since at least 5 years. This grant finances subscription fees to the foreign university and/or leaving expenses in the host country.
- In order to promote academic stays abroad, the Ernest Boninchi Foundation awards several mobility scholarships each year.. This subsidy concerns deserving students of Swiss nationality who could not achieve a project without a financing help and, who are registered for a PhD thesis at the UNIGE. They will remain registered at the UNIGE and must come back to finish their university curriculum. Deadlines: January 15th (decision in April), March 15th (decision in June), June 30th (decision in October).
8) You are a PhD student at the University of Geneva and you are looking for a funding to complete your thesis at the University of Geneva
The Ernst and Lucie Schmidheiny Foundation and the Academic Society of Geneva whose goal is to contribute to the development of the University of Geneva may give financial support to PhD students completing their thesis.
- The Ernst and Lucie Schmidheiny Foundation supports research activities carried out by graduate students (usually concluding a doctoral thesis). Submission deadlines: April 1st and October 1st, every year.
- The Academic Society of Geneva may exceptionally grant a doctoral candidate, who has brought together all the elements of the thesis, to finish writing it. The duration of the funding is from 6 months to one year. Submission deadlines: September 15th, December 15th, March 15th, May 15th, each year – for the faculty of medicine, only December 15th and May 15th, each year.
Other funding opportunities for PhD students
- The database for awards and subsidies managed by the rectorate
- The database for awards and subsidies managed by the faculty of sciences
- Doctoral grants delivered by the faculty of arts
- The UNIGE list of foundations, some of which offer scholarships for students. For example the Foundation Stanley Thomas Johnson (health and wellbeing area), the Boehringer Ingelheim Funds (Basic Biomedical Research) or the Swiss association for university graduated women (supports candidates aiming at an academic career)