UNIGE launches a doctorate of advanced professional studies

The new doctorate of advanced professional studies in finance, launched in partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing, is aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders. A premiere in the field of higher education in Switzerland.



Olivier Scaillet, Professor of Probability & Statistics and Deputy Director of the Geneva Finance Research Institute GFRI, Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM), during his lecture on “Risk Management in Private Banking” in Beijing. (UNIGE)


The University of Geneva (UNIGE) has joined forces with Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious universities, to create a doctorate of advanced professional studies in finance in the field of wealth management, for which it assumes scientific responsibility. This pilot project is designed primarily for Chinese entrepreneurs or company directors with a master’s degree and at least five years’ professional experience, but it is also open to candidates coming from Switzerland.


«A doctorate of advanced professional studies did not exist so far,» says Rajna Gibson, professor at the Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI) of the UNIGE Geneva School of Economics and Management, in charge of this programme. «Unlike a classical doctorate whose thesis focuses on fundamental research, we are faced here with very specialized projects in the field of applied research. It is an immediate application of newly acquired skills.» This pilot programme has received the approval of the Geneva State Council, for a three-year probation  period at the end of which the University Assembly will draw up an initial assessment. This permitted to now integrate the title of doctorate of advanced professional studies within the UNIGE statutes.


Thesis are co-directed by UNIGE and Tsinghua

The ten course modules take place in Beijing with half of the teachers coming from UNIGE and half from Tsinghua University, they are given in English with simultaneous translation into Mandarin, and supported by bilingual materials. They are part of a three-year curriculum, during which the doctoral student’s professional thesis is systematically co-directed by a UNIGE professor and a Tsinghua University professor. The programme, which is operationally managed by the GIWM Foundation (Geneva Institute for Wealth Management), also includes a one-week «Study Tour» in Geneva, enriched by daily meetings and exchanges with the main players from the Geneva financial services industry.

The project started at the beginning of the 2016 academic year in the form of a DAS in applied finance (Diploma of Advanced Studies) which immediately attracted more than a hundred students, a figure equalled at the beginning of the 2017 academic year. «The immediate success of this program proves that it meets a market need,» says Rajna Gibson. The partnership between the two universities is the cornerstone of this programme: both stand out in the top 100 universities of the Shanghai ranking and share the same high-quality standards. Tsinghua University provides its knowledge and direct access to the Chinese market, UNIGE its expertise in wealth management and its close links with the Geneva financial Centre.

Entirely self-financed, this programme will also make it possible to develop doctoral scholarships for UNIGE students. GFRI is considering the possible launch of a second professional doctorate in finance specialized in «Sustainable Assets and Wealth Management», designed for senior Chinese government officials. Also developed in partnership with Tsinghua University, this programme only awaits the approval of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

25 Sept 2018


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