Before Your Doctorate

1. Requirements

The general admission requirements are set down in the Ordinance on Admission to Studies at the University of Zurich («Verordnung über die Zulassung zum Studium an der Universität Zürich» [VZS]).

In addition to the degrees set down in § 33 para. 1 of the ordinance, the following degrees entitle you to admission for doctoral studies:

  • A master’s degree from a Swiss university of applied sciences or teacher education pursuant to the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Swiss Higher Education Sector;
  • A master’s degree from a foreign university of applied sciences or teacher education officially recognized by a state that has ratified the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region of 11 April 1997 (Lisbon Convention).

An additional requirement for admission is the binding consent of two professors to supervise your PhD.

Admission is granted on the basis of a written application. There is no general entitlement to be admitted to the program.

2. Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee supervises you from your admission to doctoral studies until you submit your application to have the procedure for obtaining a doctoral degree initiated. The committee is there to provide you with subject-matter advice and support.
In the supervisory committee one person acts as your principal supervisor, and the other as your co-advisor.
Start by contacting the person you could imagine as your principal supervisor. If this person agrees to act as your principal supervisor they will help you find an appropriate co-advisor. Once you have been admitted you can also add additional co-advisors to your supervisory committee at a later date.

You’ll find information on PhD subjects, research projects, and supervisors at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at:

PhD Subjects at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
UZH Research Database

3. Who has to sit on my supervisory committee?

Your supervisory committee consists of at least two professors authorized to examine doctoral degrees, at least one of whom must be a professor authorized by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to examine doctoral degrees. This member of the committee must act as your principal supervisor. 

The following people at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are  authorized by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to examine doctoral degrees :
•    Full and associate professors
•    Assistant professors
•    Externally funded professors
•    Adjunct professors
•    Privatdozents
•    Associated professors as per the list

Visual summary: Authorization for Examinations and Supervision at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (PDF, 47 KB) (only in German).

Besides instructors who are doctoral examiners authorized by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences itself, authorized doctoral examiners who are guest professors at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or are instructors at other UZH faculties or other universities are likewise authorized to examine doctoral degrees at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
In addition to these two or more authorized doctoral examiners, you can add to your supervisory committee additional instructors who are authorized to supervise a doctorate.
Instructors with a doctorate from universities of applied science or teacher education are entitled to supervise a doctorate provided certain criteria are met (see § 8 para. 3 of the doctoral program regulation). 

4. Provisional Confirmation of Supervision

Once you have found two supervisors, you have them complete the provisional confirmation of supervision form, and submit it to the Graduate School for approval:

Form for Provisional Confirmation of Supervision, PromVO 2019 (PDF, 244 KB)
Via e-mail to graduiertenschule@phil.uzh.ch

You’ll need the provisional confirmation of supervision approved by the Graduate School for your actual application to UZH.

5. Application

To apply you’ll need the provisional confirmation of supervision approved by the Graduate School.

People not yet matriculated at the University of Zurich
If you are not yet matriculated at the University of Zurich you must submit your application for admission to doctoral study via the Online Application and Admission page
Please note the application deadlines for doctoral study.

People already matriculated at the University of Zurich
If you’re already matriculated at the University of Zurich and intend to transfer to a PhD, you must apply for a change of study level under the “My requests” section of the student portal and upload your provisional confirmation of supervision there. Do not use the online application function.
Please note the enrollment periods for doctoral study.

6. First Steps Once You're Admitted

Your invoice for the semester fees for your first semester will be posted on the student portal for download once you have been admitted, unless you’re a foreign applicant, in which case the invoice will be given to you when you matriculate in person. 

Once you’ve paid your semester fees and the payment has been booked you’ll be able to use UZH’s online services (UZH for Students).