PhD Degree

Interdisciplinary PhD School

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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 – Globalization and Governance in an interdisciplinary perspective
While the traditional rules and principles of international relations are translating to what many experts and scholars call “Global Governance”, no unequivocal definition of such a multifaceted phenomenon could be reached by the academic sphere. Discussion are often guided by disciplinary perspectives and interdisciplinary perspectives are still rarely used for addressing this complex process. This module proposes not only to highlight some specific aspects of Global governance through multiple perspectives, but also to explain how interdisciplinarity provides a relevant approach to study the current evolution toward a multi-level/actors/method governance.

Date: To be announced
Organizer: Prof. Nicolas Levrat ( 
Language: English
Credits: 6 ECTS
Number of participants: 15
Location: University of Geneva

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: 25-27 November 2020
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: 10-13 February 2020
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: to be announced
  • Module 2: to be announced
  • Module 3: 18 December 2019