Degree Programs & Courses Doctorate

First steps to a doctorate

Are you intending to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Bern? The following checklist will help you initiate your doctoral thesis project:

1. Requirements

Find out about the terms of admission and procedures for a doctorate in the regulations governing doctoral studies of the respective faculties and graduate schools.

2. Supervisor 

Contact a lecturer from your area of interest and present your doctoral thesis project to her/him. The lecturer will decide if she/he will act as your supervisor for your doctoral thesis project.

3. Funding

Clarify the funding of your doctorate with your supervisor. In many cases, a doctorate is funded through the university’s own resources (e.g. assistant or doctoral post) or external funding (e.g. through project funding or career funding of the Swiss National Science Foundation).  

4. General Conditions

Discuss the general conditions of your doctoral thesis project with your supervisor, including: type and duration, working conditions, teaching activities, administrative tasks, etc.

5. Admission to Studies

Register for your doctorate online at the Admissions Office (ZIB) and complete the “Confirmation of Supervision” form applicable to you. Doctoral students must be matriculated for the entire duration of their doctoral level studies.  

6. Graduate School and Doctoral Degree Program

Following your registration, you can apply for admission to a graduate school or a doctoral degree program. Admission to graduate schools/doctoral degree programs often involves a competitive process. Find out about the relevant admission requirements and procedures from the websites of the respective graduate schools and doctoral degree programs.

7. Doctoral Agreement  

A doctoral agreement is entered between the doctoral student and the supervisor/s at the start of the doctorate. The agreement stipulates the process, duration, directives, milestones and goals of the doctoral thesis project. Work progress is assessed periodically and objectives are reviewed.

8. Moving to Bern  

Will you be moving to Bern for your doctorate? The Welcome Center of the University of Bern is available to provide information and advice that will help facilitate your start in the Swiss capital.