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 copies of your diplomas in JPG format, and the email addresses of at least two referees. If your diplomas are protected PDFs that cannot be converted, you may take a screen-shot of your diploma 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).

    • Two copies (use the "print" button) of the enrolment application form, completed, dated, and signed.
    • Two passport photos, one glued to each of the signed and dated application forms.
    • A simple copy of your identity document (front and back) or of the personal information page of your passport (including the page with your signature).
    • A simple copy of your Swiss residency permit (front and back), if you have one.
    • A complete CV, including full details of your studies at the secondary and university levels. The Europass CV format is perfectly acceptable. Each year should be clearly accounted for, including years during which you undertook no studies.
    • A copy of your secondary diploma certificate, in the original language.
    • Copies of ALL university grade reports and transcripts obtained to date (even in cases of withdrawal or failure), in the original language. Important: CERTIFIED TRUE COPIES are required from countries/states that have neither signed nor ratified the Lisbon Convention.
      Proof of registration or student status in the original language, BEARING THE OFFICIAL STAMP of your institution, if the transcripts or grade reports for the current academic year are not (yet) available.
    • Copies of any university diploma(s) earned, in the original language. Important: CERTIFIED TRUE COPIES are required from countries/states that have neither signed nor ratified the Lisbon Convention.
      Proof of registration or student status in the original language, BEARING THE OFFICIAL STAMP of your institution, if the transcripts or grade reports for the current academic year are not (yet) available.
    • In addition to the documents in their original languages, official translations for all documents not in French, German, Italian, English or Spanish.
    • For students who have studied at Swiss higher education institutions (UNI, HES, HEP, and/or EPF), proof that you are no longer enrolled at that/those institution(s) (i.e. "attestation d'exmatriculation"). For applicants whose studies are still ongoing, this proof ("attestation d'exmatriculation") must be provided at the latest when your enrollment at the University of Geneva is confirmed.
    • Candidates to the Faculty of Medicine: a letter from their dissertation director (‘Attestation de direction de thèse’), which must specify either the exact date or the semester that they began work on the dissertation, and any equivalencies granted through the program. This letter must be signed by the program director and bear the stamp of the student secretary of the Faculty of Medicine at the University Medical Center. (CMU - Rue Michel Servet 1 - Mrs. Marie-France Châtelain: Marie-France.Chatelain@unige.ch - Monday morning, Thursday all day and Friday morning).
      Candidates to the Faculty of Sciences: a letter from their dissertation director (‘Attestation de direction de thèse’), which must specify either the exact date or the semester that they began work on the dissertation, and any equivalencies granted through the program. This letter must be signed by the program director.

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.).

  • 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.

  • 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.