Doctoral Study at UZH

Doctoral study consists of attending courses and writing a PhD thesis. It serves as a qualification for an academic career but also for demanding professions in the public and private sectors.

Content and Requirements

Writing a PhD thesis – independent and original scholarly work – forms the core part of doctoral study. The thesis can take the form of a monograph or consist of several publications on a single subject which have been published in scientific journals (a cumulative PhD thesis). You can find more information about the formal requirements in the doctoral program regulations for your subject area. As a general rule, however, the thesis should be of such scope and content that you can complete it within three years.

The required coursework serves to enhance subject-specific skills, but also goes toward developing transferable skills. All coursework will be recorded in your final transcript of records and Academic Record. Coursework requirements can be fulfilled by attending courses in your subject area, by visiting classes from the main pool of courses in transferable skills (transferable skills and university-level teaching), or, in some cases by attending courses at another institution. Alongside the required coursework (including transferable skills), it is highly recommended that PhD candidates develop their teaching skills.


Successful completion of a PhD is often determined by the quality of the supervision candidates receive. PhD candidates are generally no longer supervised by an individual, but rather by a team (the doctoral committee). The PhD candidate and the doctoral committee must sign a PhD agreement.

Individual PhD and PhD Programs

There are two different paths to a PhD at UZH: You can either earn an individual PhD or earn the degree as part of a PhD program. We recommend that you inform yourself early on about the common practices at the faculty where you will do your doctoral study and that you read the first steps to a PhD.