Eligibility criteria

Application procedure

  • Check whether you meet the eligibility criteria. Browse the six Doctoral Programs (Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science) and the Research Groups therein. Choose at most two research groups that you are interested in (they can belong to different faculties). Apply through the website.

  • You will need a CV in PDF format and transcripts of your courses and grades in JPG format, and the email addresses of at least two referees. If your transcripts are protected PDFs that cannot be converted to JPG, you may take a screen-shot of your transcript and save it as JPG.

  • There are two ways of applying to the doctoral program.

    Open calls (twice a year): follow the online procedure on the website of the doctoral school. There are two calls per year (October 1st and April 1st). This selection pathway is preferred since it enables the PhD students in all programs to start as a group.

    No open calls: please browse the departmental websites for open positions or visit the university job portal, then contact the PI directly. If the application is submitted outside the dates of the open calls, the candidate will be evaluated by an ad hoc committee, which will determine suitability for admission to the program.

  • A selection committee decides on which applications to retain. Students whose application has been retained are invited to give a scientific presentation followed by a question and answer session. Based on these criteria, admission decisions are pronounced by an advisory committee composed of professors and laboratory directors that evaluates the different candidates. The thesis director may then propose a thesis project to the admissible candidates of his or her choice. Applicants may also express their interest in a laboratory. At the end of the selection process, applicants and laboratory directors are matched based on their mutual preferences.

    If you are applying through the doctoral program during an open call, you do not need to contact your laboratory of choice before the interview. Once you have been invited for interview, you may get in touch with the PIs of the laboratories you are interested in.

  • For students recruited individually by professors (PIs), certain criteria of eligibility must be fulfilled for the student to be accepted in the PhD School of Life Sciences (PSLS). Bachelor and Master diplomas and transcripts must be examined by the doctoral school and the candidate must be interviewed by the PI in the presence of at least two other members of the doctoral program (ad hoc commission) and the program director concerned. The student will be eligible to enrol in the program only upon validation of the degrees and positive recommendation by the interview committee.

  • During the international recruitment calls (twice a year), candidates are interviewed by a panel of hiring (recruitment committee) and non-hiring (recommendation committee) PI members of the doctoral school. Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria are selected and considered eligible to join the PhD School of Life Sciences (PSLS).

Program features

  • Yes, as a PhD student in the program, you are fully funded by your host laboratory. You will have a work contract with the University of Geneva and will receive a monthly salary for the entire duration of your PhD. Your income will be sufficient to cover living expenses (accommodation, food, transport, health insurance, etc.). For more information on the cost of living in Geneva, please visit the Welcome Centre.

  • As a student in the PhD program, you do not need to secure your own funding. You may of course apply for external fellowships, travel grants, etc. to improve your academic career prospects. If you are planning to apply for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship, note that you must first identify a PhD supervisor willing to accept you in their research group.

  • Yes, the university requires you to enrol as a student and pay an enrolment fee and a tuition fee.

    Holders of a foreign or international secondary or university degree are subject to an enrolment fee of CHF 65. The enrolment fee is deducted from the first semester’s university fees. It is not reimbursed in case of rejection, withdrawal, or incomplete application, regardless of the reason.

    A tuition fee in the amount of CHF 500.- (CHF 65.- in fixed fees and CHF 435.- in semester fees) must be paid at the beginning of the first semester.

  • The current program does not provide help with internships after the completion of your doctorate, but you will have access to the university career centre, and the program will organise a range of career events to broaden your horizon.

  • No, the program itself does not provide help to find employment for your spouse or partner. Please contact the Bureau de l’égalité des chances or career2 for further information.

  • No, the program does not help you find accommodation. The university accommodation website may be a useful starting point.