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Department of Computational Linguistics



Ordinance on obtaining a doctoral degree 2019 (PromVO 2019)

The ordinance on obtaining a doctoral degree from 1 October 2018 (PromVO 2019) replaces the ordinance from 8 July 2009.

PhD students who started their doctorate before this date can either transfer to the new ordinance or finish their doctorate according to the old ordinance from 2009 (see below) until 31 July 2023.

More Information on obtaining a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Arts: Doctorate and Graduate School

For organisational and administrative questions regarding your PhD at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, please contact our PhD coordinator Sascha Völlmin.

International students: Please have a look at the International Scholars Center.

For subject-matter related questions, please contact your supervisory committee / professor. 

A list with open, assigned and completed dissertation and habilitation projects can be found here.



There are no doctoral scholarships or graduate programmes at the University of Zurich. Doctoral students must, therefore, provide their own funding

  • Employees of the University of Zurich can apply for a scholarship for their dissertation project with the Research Fund of the University of Zurich.
  • In some cases, there may also be employment opportunities for ongoing or new projects of the department.
  • Various foundations provide goal-orientated dissertation grants.


As a general rule for a PhD study, four to five years of full-time work is estimated. If the doctorate studies follow-on from a completed master's or another graduate project, three to four years may be sufficient. 

In cases where external full-time or part-time employment is undertaken, especially if this employment is not closely related to the dissertation project or outside the university, the duration of a PhD will be accordingly prolonged. In such cases the chances of successful completion of the dissertation are also dramatically reduced.

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD programme at the University of Zurich, please take a moment to inform yourself on this website about the general requirements and prerequisites for a doctoral programme at the University of Zurich.

Below you will find additional and subject-specific provisions for the two possible types of doctoral programmes.


Doctoral studies in 'Computational Linguistics' or 'Computational Linguistics and Language Technology' may be accepted, if:

  • they have obtained a Master’s degree diploma from a state-accredited university.
  • they have obtained a binding consent of two professors to supervise your PhD.

There is no general entitlement to be admitted to the program, even if all requirements are fulfilled.

Supervisors may also specify additional requirements which doctoral students have to fulfill during their degree.

Candidates which require a student visa must be able to prove to the immigration authorities of Switzerland (with bank statements, etc.) that they able to financially support themselves for the duration of the doctoral studies, usually at least 4 years. As the cost of living in Zurich is relatively high, a minimum of 36,000 Swiss Francs per year is recommended.

Academic Achievements and Examinations

  • For the successful completion at the general doctoral level, modules amounting to 12 ECTS credit points must be completed.  Please see below for rules regarding the acquisition of ECTS credits.
  • The dissertation is to be written in the form of a monograph. A cumulative dissertation is possible in agreement with the supervisor.
  • The doctoral examination consists of a colloquium in the field of the dissertation and lasts 60-90 minutes. The doctoral colloquium is open to all members of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Earning ECTS Credit Points

All doctoral modules of the UZH can be credited according to the Course Catalogue. Furthermore, it is generally possible to credit any MA module to the doctorate.

In addition to the UZH modules, the following can be credited:

  • Transferable Skills
  • Language courses of the Language Center (are also considered as Transferable Skills). However, the languages cannot be German, English, or language(s) of the dissertation.

External creditable events are:

  • Summer/Winter Schools
  • Courses/Workshops
  • external Transferable Skills (university courses)

In most cases, a certificate of attendance or a transcript from another university is required.

There is no minimum or maximum number of Transferable Skills, however, there is minimum of subject-specific ECTS credits (8 ECTS) to be earned.


The regulations for the doctoral degree can be found here.

Weiterführende Informationen

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Information on obtaining a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Arts: Doctorate and Graduate School, PhD coordinator Sascha Völlmin

Student Consultation

For questions that are not answered in the guidelines and study regulations, read the FAQ first. Please also consult the site Student Services of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

If a question remains unanswered, please contact the Student Advisor for Computational Linguistics.

International students

Information for International students: International Scholars Center

For detailed information on what you need to take into account upon relocating to Switzerland, please refer to  Before and After Arrival.


Download guidelines and other important documents here.

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