Prospective Students

MA and PhD in the English Department at the University of Geneva

Why Study in Geneva?

The Location

Geneva is a vibrant international city at the heart of Europe, on the shores of Lake Geneva and within sight of the Alps. Thanks to low-cost airlines and the TGV, travel to and from Geneva is easy and inexpensive. International surveys regularly find Geneva to be among the cities with the highest quality of living in the world.

The University

Founded by the Reformer John Calvin in 1559, the University of Geneva has a long and storied history. A member of the League of European Research Universities, which includes the finest universities on the European continent and Great Britain, the University of Geneva is a first-class research university. According to a recent Newsweek survey, it is the leading generalist university in Continental Europe.


The English Department

English at Geneva has a distinguished history: George Steiner, Wlad Godzich, and Richard Waswo are only three of the distinguished professors to have taught in the Department. Today’s staff is fully committed to continuing its legacy of excellence in research and teaching. Students enjoy access to major electronic resources such as Literature Online, EEBO, LION, ECCO, JSTOR, and Project Muse. The department has a graduate community of over 80 (including 15 working on a PhD), with students from almost twenty different countries.


The French Language

At a time when the English-speaking world suffers increasingly from monolingualism, a two-year MA in Geneva comes with the opportunity to become proficient in French. The University’s École de langue et civilisation françaises offers courses throughout the year for non-native speakers of all levels.


MA in Geneva

The Geneva MA

Geneva offers a generalist MA which, although wide-ranging in scope, also allows students ample opportunity to focus on their field of special interest.  In addition to sustained course work, the MA includes a dissertation of 20-25,000 words.  Students are expected to complete the degree in two years.  For the range of seminars taught in the MA, see the course programme (click here).

Teaching and Supervision

The professors teaching in the Geneva MA are international experts in their areas of specialization. They include Guillemette Bolens (medieval literature), Lukas Erne (early modern literature), Eric Haeberli (linguistics), Martin Leer (contemporary literature), Deborah Madsen (American literature), Genoveva Puskas (linguistics), and  Simon Swift  (modern literature). Clicking on the name of the professors leads you to further information about particular strengths in the Department and the subject of recent MA dissertations.

For further information about the MA, consult the University website about immatriculation ( or the online platform:   Note that it is possible to start the MA in English either in the autumn or in the spring semester.  Applicants are required to take a French exam before beginning the MA in English.  However, the French exam for Masters students is indicative and, depending on your results at this exam, you will be required to follow classes in parallel to your MA studies in English, in order to obtain a language-level certificate from the ELCF.

Tuition Fee for BA, MA or PhD:

CHF 1,000 (ca. £450, EUR 600, $ 950) per year, for all students (Swiss or foreign nationals).

PhD in Geneva

The following professors welcome proposals within their areas of expertise from students who wish to pursue their PhD in English at the University of Geneva:

Guillemette Bolens email Medieval Literature
Lukas Erne email Early Modern Literature
Eric Haeberli email Linguistics
Genoveva Puskas email Linguistics
Martin Leer email Contemporary Literature
Deborah Madsen email American Literature
Simon Swift email Modern Literature


Clicking on the name of the professors leads you to further information about particular strengths in the department and the subject of recent and current doctoral theses.

For information about the Department's Doctoral Workshop in Medieval and Early Modern English Studies, click here.

For information about the Department's Doctoral Skills Workshop on Modern and Contemporary English Literature, click here.

Information about modalities and proceedings

PhD in Geneva - from signing up to defending the thesis
Attestation form for the soutenance de pré-doctorat

For further information about the PhD, email the Department director, Prof. Simon Swift, or his assistant, Dr Patrick Jones.

Tuition Fee for BA, MA or PhD:

CHF 1,000 (ca. £450, EUR 600, $ 950) per year, for all students (Swiss or foreign nationals).