Postgraduate education

Doctorate in medicine

Thesis writing guidelines

Director of f thesis

  • A thesis is undertaken within a department or a university centre, under the supervision of a thesis director, member of the teaching staff (ordinary professor, associate professor, titulary professor, assistant professor, lecturer or privat-docent).
  • When a thesis is undertaken under the supervision of a person in charge of an MER group, this person will take on the mandate under the responsibility of a member of the teaching staff who is his/her hierarchical superior and possibly the head of the department.
  • Any change of thesis director must be reported to the Students' secretariat.

Subject of thesis

  • The choice of the thesis subject is agreed upon between the doctorate student and the thesis director.
  • The doctorate registration is confirmed only once the director has submitted the Students' secretariat the document certifying his academic responsibility with regard to the thesis work.
  • Any change of subject of the thesis must be reported to the Students' secretariat.

Writing the thesis

The thesis is written either in French or in English. In the case of English, the thesis must include a summary as well as an introduction of approximately ten pages in French. The text on the cover page must also be in French.

Whatever the choice of language, the thesis will be examined on the grounds of a typed A4 format text that should contain:

  • a table of contents;
  • a summary in French;
  • a bibliography that includes the following directives. All references must contain: the name and initials of all the authors, the title of the journal, the number, the year, the number of the first and the last page if it concerns a chapter, the name of the publishing house, the city and year of publication if it concerns a book;
  • the thesis report established and signed by the thesis director;
  • the summary of 150 words on an ad hoc form, with the University of Geneva header (see Annexe 1), will have to have the signature of the doctorate student as well as the thesis director. This summary will be used by the University for the publication of an 'Annotated list of doctorate thesis'.

Cover page of thesis

  • Must include (in Fench) in the top left hand corner of the page 'Université de Genève', in the top right hand corner 'Faculté de médecine' and below, the name of the department and the division within which the thesis was undertaken and the mention 'thèse effectuée sous la responsabilité de ..." (thesis undertaken under the responsibility of ..." (indicate in full wording the title, name and surname of the head of thesis (see Annexe 2);
  • Must be mentioned your usual name(s) before your surname. Married doctorate students must include their maiden name if they were registered at the university under that name;
  • Must be mentioned the name of the state or place of origin under the surname. Swiss citizens will include the name of their commune of origine, followed by the name of the canton in brackets.

Preparing a thesis on the basis of original publications

  • One or a group of original publications in journals that have an editorial policy as well as an international distribution can constitute the basis of a doctorate.
  • In principle, the doctorate student must be the first author of such publications, thereby attesting his/her main role in the planning of the study, data collection and/or data interpretation. Should the occasion arise, the thesis director must certify the proportion of work actually achieved by the student if he/she is no the first author.
  • With regards to the use of articles published in journals with a less wide distribution and/or a limited impact factor, the student will seek to obtain preliminary authorisation from the person in charge of theses.
  • In all cases, such publications will be accompanied by an introductory text aiming to present them in a coherent manner and to justify the pertinence of their inclusion.
  • Developments that do not appear in the original publications may be included in the thesis.

Evaluation of thesis

Each thesis is assessed in the following manner :

  • by the director of thesis who will provide a written report on the content and value of the presented work;
  • by two members of the teaching staff of the Faculty of medicine, designed by the person in charge of coordinating theses, according to their specific expertise and who will provide a written report pertaining the content and value of the present work. These two reporters may, if necessary, ask for modifications of form and/or of content in the thesis manuscript.

Corrections of thesis

  • If corrections are needed after thesis evaluation, the person in charge of coordinating theses shall inform the doctorate student in writing and as soon as possible.
  • The thesis, once corrected, will be returned to the person in charge of coordinating theses, together with a letter mentioning the corrections and, if such is the case, why they could not be made. After having checked the corrections, the theses coordinator will submit the corrected manuscript to the Dean of the Faculty in order to obtain imprimatur.


  • Imprimatur is granted by the Dean of the Faculty of medicine.
  • The imprimatur will mention the thesis number and will give the doctorate student authority to have it published.

Thesis number

  • The thesis number is mentioned on the imprimatur and must be repeated on the cover page within the designed area.