Mobility and Exchange Federal scholarships



Tips when applying for a federal scholarship:

For a complete application for a federal scholarship, candidates require a written letter from a professor at the host university confirming that he/she is willing to supervise the candidate in question.

We recommend you look at the university website to find the institute or research group that corresponds to your topic. Then contact the institute or professor personally.

The following FAQ is intended primarily for researchers (not art students).

As an applicant you are responsible for finding a suitable research supervisor (professor). Neither the secretariat of the Federal Commission for Scholarships nor the international office (reception service) at the universities can help you find an academic supervisor for your application for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship. We recommend you look for a suitable research supervisor by reading up on university websites and talking to any contacts you may have at your own academic institution.

(taken from: Info sheet FAQ for applicants and academic supervisors)

a) Make sure that the prospective academic supervisor actually works in your field.

b) Make sure that you possess all of the qualifications required for the intended scientific collaboration. Find out, for instance, what requirements must be met in order to obtain a master’s degree at the university in question.

Finding a professor who is willing to supervise you can be a major challenge. It can take several weeks or even months.

Video: Before contacting a supervising professor


(taken from: Info sheet FAQ for applicants and academic supervisors)

Be well prepared and focused. Learn about the professor's research and publications. 

Make direct contact with a professor and declare your interest in collaborating in a specific research project. Tell the professor what you have studied so far and that you are applying for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.

All enquiries should be accompanied by the following documents, as a minimum:

  • short CV
  • letter of motivation
  • 2-3 convincing letters of reference
  • research plan (2-3 A4 pages)

Your request should be written in correct English or, depending on your subject, in one of the Swiss national languages. 

It is important that you do not write a mass email! Your text should be individually tailored to the professor. Choose the correct form of address with title and name.

You can also send along the PDF "Will you be my supervisor?" in order to introduce the scholarship to the professor. 

Even good and personally formulated inquiries unfortunately sometimes remain unanswered or a response takes a very long time. Especially in August and September, i.e. at the beginning of the semester in Bern, professors receive countless inquiries and find little time to process all of them besides their daily business.

Applicants should inform themselves about the requirements and prerequisites for a PhD program at the University of Bern.

As soon as you have found a supervisor, make sure that you also meet the formal requirements for a PhD, e.g. recognition of all academic requriements, recognition of the Master's degree, etc. Either the Graduate School or the Admissions Office will help you with this (online application).

Doctoral study at the University of Bern

In the selection process, much importance is given to the letter of support from the supervisor. It is therefore important that you discuss the project and the timeline with the professor. 

As mentioned in the fact sheet "Will you be my supervisor?" and the FCS web page other important criteria are

a) Candidate profile as well as personal and academic motivation
b) Quality of the research project or artistic work, methodoligical coherence and feasability
c) Synergies and potential for future research cooperation (esp. on postdoc level)

The scholarship is enough for one person only.

Those who want to bring their family (spouses or children) must provide for them financially. For people from third countries, there are also high hurdles to a visa with family reunion. The larger the family, the more difficult it becomes. 

From the point of view of the FCS reception service, we recommend that you consider this issue even before applying and discuss it with your family. 

UniBe International list the following living expenses for students: Students / Financial matters