Admission to Doctoral Studies

The University of Zurich offers numerous doctoral degree programs

Besides meeting the formal admission requirements, prospective doctoral students must fulfill the relevant academic admission requirements to be admitted to doctoral studies. Whether or not these requirements are met is decided as part of a defined admission procedure

Admission constitutes the right to matriculate in the doctoral studies in question at the University of Zurich. Doctoral students must remain matriculated for the full duration of their doctoral studies.

Formal Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree diploma from a state-accredited university.
  • Credits for any transferred coursework must also have been acquired at a state-accredited university.
  • The diploma itself is state-accredited.
  • The diploma grants entitlement to pursue doctoral studies at a state-accredited university in the relevant country.

The Master’s degree diploma does not necessarily have to be available at the time of application. If you are admitted, it may be submitted at a later date (by 30 September at the latest for admissions for the Fall Semester, by 15 March at the latest for admissions for the Spring Semester). 

Depending on the doctoral studies in question, admission is also possible with a degree from a university of applied sciences or university of teacher education in a signatory state to the Lisbon Recognition Convention. Further information can be found on the website of the faculty concerned.

Academic Admission Requirements

  • The prospective doctoral student has the academic knowledge and skills required to pursue the doctoral studies in question. Conditions and/or additional requirements may be attached to admission in certain cases. (These requirements will generally consist of Master’s modules.) Conditions must be met in a preparatory phase within the framework of doctoral studies. No doctoral modules may be booked during this preparatory phase. Additional requirements may be fulfilled during the preparatory phase or in parallel with doctoral modules.
  • An instructor with the right to award a PhD (generally at the faculty concerned) agrees to be principal supervisor for the planned doctoral thesis. Depending on the doctoral studies in question, further individuals must or may take on a supervisory role, for example as co-advisors. 
  • Additionally for doctoral programs: The prospective doctoral student is accepted on to the doctoral program in question (following a selective acceptance procedure).
  • Additionally, depending on the doctoral studies: The prospective doctoral student is employed as a doctoral student, or teaching and research assistant.
  • Further requirements may have to be fulfilled in certain cases, such as a Master’s degree with a minimum overall grade. 

Details of the academic admission requirements for individual programs of doctoral study can be found on the website of the faculty concerned.

Admission Procedure

  1. The admission procedure begins with the faculty or graduate school concerned. Here, you must:
    – secure the approval of one or (as appropriate) more supervisor(s) for your planned doctoral thesis,
    – in the case of doctoral programs, have been accepted on to the program, and
    – as appropriate, have been offered a position as a doctoral student, or teaching and research assistant.
    Which of these steps must be completed, and in which order, depends on the doctoral studies in question. Details in this regard can be found on the website of the faculty concerned.
  2. You must also apply to the University of Zurich Admissions Office to pursue your chosen doctoral studies. Before you apply, please find out about the application procedure and documents to be submitted and apply via the application portal. Please note the relevant application deadlines. It can take up to three months to process your application. 
  3. If all admission requirements are fulfilled, you will receive the decision on admission from the University of Zurich Admissions Office. You can then matriculate at the University of Zurich and begin your doctoral studies. 

Important Information on the Admission Procedure:

  • If you have been offered employment for your doctoral studies, and you are a citizen of a state that is a not a member of either the European Union or EFTA, you will need the relevant visa to enter Switzerland. The University of Zurich will generally apply for this visa on your behalf. Please contact the faculty or graduate school concerned. The visa is issued by the Canton of Zurich Migration Office and is always subject to confirmation of matriculation being submitted within 14 days of entry. You will receive this confirmation of matriculation as soon as you have matriculated at the University of Zurich having received the decision on admission, and paid the bill for the semester fees. Your visa will only be converted into a residence and work permit after the Migration Office has received your confirmation of matriculation. If you are not able to fulfill this condition within the set deadline, you will have to leave Switzerland. 

► Do not travel to Switzerland until you have received the decision on admission from the University of Zurich Admissions Office (i.e. until you are entitled to matriculate) (see point 3 above). 

► Do not begin your doctoral studies until you have matriculated at the University of Zurich, and you hold a residence and work permit. 

  • To speed up the admission procedure (which may be advisable especially in the case of individuals requiring a visa), you can submit an application to the Admissions Office (see point 2 above) before the procedure with the faculty or graduate school is complete (see point 1 above). However, the Admissions Office decision on admission (see point 3 above) cannot be issued until confirmation of supervision and, in the case of doctoral programs, the notification of acceptance on to the doctoral program in question have been received.
  • Students currently matriculated at Master’s level at the University of Zurich must request a change of degree program to doctoral studies under “My Requests” in the student portal and must not submit an application