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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

During the Doctorate

Duty to Inform

At the University of Zurich you are subject to a duty to inform yourself: as a PhD student you are obliged to obtain all the information you need in connection with your doctoral studies of your own accord.

Under the terms of §14 para. 1 of the ordinance on admission to studies at the University of Zurich (VZS), students and PhD candidates are obliged to consult their UZH e-mail account once a week; any information accessible from your UZH mailbox is deemed to have been issued (§14 para. 2 VZS).

Compulsory Matriculation

If you are completing a doctorate at the University of Zurich, you must be enrolled during your entire doctoral studies. This compulsory matriculation requirement applies throughout, up to and including the semester in which your PhD thesis is published. 

If you started your project or job before actually matriculating for doctoral studies at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, you must seek matriculation retrospectively for your actual starting semester. Please send a short e-mail to so that we can send you the required form.

The legal basis of the doctorate is provided by the "Ordinance on Obtaining a Doctoral Degree at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Zurich" (PromVO 2019). The associated "Doctoral Program Regulation" elaborates the provisions of the PromVO 2019. Both documents can be found here.

Dates and Deadlines

You will find all information on semester dates, deadlines for booking modules, etc., on the Dates and Deadlines page.

Doctoral Agreement

Together with your supervisory committee you must draw up a Doctoral Agreement (DA) no later than 16 weeks after the Graduate School has approved your Provisional Confirmation of Supervision. 
We recommend that you create the DA during a meeting with your principal supervisor or, even better, with the entire supervisory committee.
In this agreement you define the (interim) goals of your doctoral studies and decide together which curricular offerings you will be using to earn the required 12 ECTS credits. All members of your supervisory committee must agree to the Doctoral Agreement online. The agreement is a key component of your doctoral studies, having the character of a contract between PhD students and the supervisors.

Updating Your Doctoral Agreement

Your Doctoral Agreement must be updated once a year. Again, we recommend using the update as an opportunity to meet with your supervisory committee. This is an opportunity to discuss the progress on your thesis and the curricular coursework you have done over the course of the year, and to plan the coming year. All members of the supervisory committee must agree to the updated version of the DA.

Change of co-supervisors

You can request changes of co-supervisors in the doctoral agreement. You can create a new Doctoral Agreement for this purpose at any time.

Preparation and Approval of the Doctoral Agreement

You draw up and update your Doctoral Agreement via Online Services PhD. Detailed information can be found at the same page. You will need your personal UZH login details, which you will receive as soon as you have paid your semester fees. 

Once you have submitted your Doctoral Agreement, the Graduate School will review and approve it. You can either download the approved version or view it in the Online Services PhD.

Curricular Coursework and Booking Modules

In addition to writing your thesis, you must complete curricular coursework worth 12 ECTS credits. Please consult the subject-specific annex to the doctoral program regulation to find out whether there are special rules for your subject regarding the breakdown of these 12 ECTS credits into coursework relating specifically to your subject or to transferable skills. The curricular coursework you have to complete is agreed with your principal supervisor and set down in your doctoral agreement.

In the Course Catalog you will find the courses at doctoral level. You can book interdisciplinary courses of all PhF doctoral subjects, please see the information sheet below. Transferable skills courses are offered by the Graduate Campus, the overview can be found under "Further offers" also in the Course Catalog.

The curricular achievements can also be fulfilled with UZH-external achievements, e.g. for summer schools, courses or workshops. For these, you must be able to present a confirmation of participation and ECTS credits must be awarded or a workload must be shown. This coursework may be credited provided that

  • the course entails a learning and education outcome, and
  • a workload is specified; in other words, that effort is required from and put in by you as the PhD candidate, and
  • performance is assessed and concrete feedback is thus given to you (§ 19 paras 1–3 of the doctoral program regulation)

Please note: Only curricular coursework agreed in the doctoral agreement can be credited to your degree.

Booking Modules

You can book curricular courses at UZH via module booking within the booking and cancellation deadlines and after paying the semester fees. Only booked and assessed courses can be credited to the degree. The details can be found in the information sheet Notes on module booking in the doctorate (PDF, 85 KB)

You can apply for recognition of external achievements in the Doctoral Agreement. To do this, you must upload a confirmation of participation with details of ECTS/workload.