Doctoral program in Global Health (PhD)

Program Design

The Global Health PhD program at the University of Geneva has a distinctive approach compared to traditional programs. It is specifically designed for experts and professionals who pursue a PhD alongside their existing positions at international organizations. Typically, self-funded, the program integrates with ongoing initiatives within these organizations worldwide.

The PhD program, which can be completed in a minimum of three and a maximum of five years, is structured into two main components: course requirements and research requirements.


Throughout the program, it is mandatory for all PhD students to earn a total of 18 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System).

4 of these ECTS credits are obtained through the annual Spring School in Global Health, a program organized by the PhD program itself. The remaining 14 credits are gained from other ECTS-accredited courses, which require approval from the main supervisor. Students have the opportunity to register with the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), an exceptional platform that offers a wide range of courses.

Additionally, up to 4 ECTS credits can be earned through approved Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), as determined by the supervisor and the PhD coordination team. 


The PhD research focuses on practical and implementable studies in the realm of global health. While main supervisors are based at the University of Geneva, co-supervisors within the organizations or in the students' respective countries often provide additional support.

PhD students are required to publish two scientific articles during their doctoral studies. These articles must be published (or fully accepted) in peer-reviewed scientific journals, with the student as the first author and the main supervisor as a co-author.

In summary, this flexible framework accommodates professionals, ensures a practical research focus, and provides opportunities for continuous learning and development throughout the program.