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Physik-Institut

PhD - Doctoral Program

The following page gives an overview over the doctoral programme in physics at the University of Zurich. Its aim is to provide you with all the important information about the graduate school as a framework, current research topics, as well as the application and admission procedure.

Graduate School

The graduate school (alt. doctoral programme) provides a framework in which students can complete their doctoral studies both quickly and efficiently while establishing an international network of contacts. Our versatile programme offers you a number of opportunities to obtain the required 12 ECTS credit points. These include closed seminars on specific topics, specialized lectures at our university, at the ETH or at another university, the participation in summer schools and workshops covering your field of research, opportunities to take part in international conventions and additional seminars with prestigious speakers. International networking and the acquisition of skills which extend beyond mere research work are also key aspects of the programme. The language used in the programme is English.

A PhD in physics at the University of Zurich usually takes 3—4 years. The salary will allow you to cover all the local living expenses including all the necessary social and health insurances.

A programme description can be found here.

Current research topics

Here you can find an overview of the current research projects in our different research groups. If you are interested in doing a PhD in one of the research groups, please contact the group leaders directly by email to ask about potential open positions (read more in the section below "1st step").

Research at the Physics Institute.

Application and admission

The prerequisites for the admission to the doctoral program in physics consist of a Master's degree in Physics. Students who have successfully completed their Master (or are about to do so) can apply for PhD positions in physics at the University of Zurich. All applicants undergo a rigorous selection procedure.
The application process as well as all the steps you have to undertake during your PhD are summarized here in this checklist.

1st step: Application to the doctoral program in physics

If you are interested in obtaining a PhD at our institute, you can directly look for and apply to open positions here. You may also contact the group leaders of the individual research groups directly to ask about open PhD positions. Already at this stage you should submit to the group leader a CV, a statement of research interests and previous research experience, course grade transcripts and letters of reference (or addresses of references). The group leader will then take a decision and inform you about how to proceed further. In some cases she/he will invite you for an interview (with expenses covered). Since you are expected to participate in the education of younger students, a good knowledge of German and/or English is essential. If your candidacy is successful, your papers will be transferred to the faculty administration where it is decided whether or not any additional exams are required.

2nd step: Application at the Admissions Office of the UZH

Step two involves the official immatriculation at the University of Zurich.
For local students with a degree from the University of Zurich.
For students with a degree from a different University
After your immatriculation you will automatically be enrolled in the doctoral program in Physics.

IMPORTANT for international students

If you originate from a foreign country non-member of the European Union, you must exactly follow the procedure described here in order to obtain a work permit before the beginning of the PhD studies.
 

UZH for International Students and Scholars is the main point of contact for accepted PhD candidates. Its staff supports you before your arrival in Zurich and during your entire stay at our University. The services include information, advice, and support, in the following areas:

  • Entering Switzerland
  • Moving to and registering in Zurich
  • Accomodations
  • Health insurances
  • Childcare and schools
  • Living in Zurich

Step-by-Step to Graduation

  • Doctoral Agreement
    within 6 months from the enrolment as PhD student at MNF, the student, in agreement with the Main Advisor, must submit via the PhD admin tool a brief document (Doctoral Agreement), specifying the main subject of the PhD project
  • Doctoral Committee
    Within 6 months from the enrolment, the student, in agreement with the Main Advisor, must complete the formation of the Doctoral Committee and submit it via the PhD admin tool. The Doctoral Committee is composed by at least three members, with at least two members who possess the right to confer a PhD at the Faculty of Science. The Doctoral Committee should meet at least once per year, evaluate the project’s progress and should, if necessary, modify the Doctoral Agreement.
  • Titlepage
    make sure to have the correct spelling and capitalisations in the title page (see template latex (PDF, 73 KB), word). All the titles of the committee members must be identical to the ones in student admin tool. If they have changed in student Admin, modify them before uploading the thesis.
  • Registration for the PhD Defence via PhD Admin tool
    You need to hand in your PhD thesis, the desired date of defense (after fixing the date with Anna Troller, see Seminar webpage for defenses), a letter confirming that you completed all conditions and restrictions, a list of ECTS points earned signed by the responsible professor, letter confirming the completion of the teaching duties. (Details) 6-8 weeks before the defense
    In addition you need to hand in per mail (promotions@mnf.uzh.ch) a copy of the title page and a copy of your ID or passport at least 4 weeks before the defense. It is recommended to register 6 weeks before to have time in case something is missing.
  • Circulation round:
    The circulation round consists of at least four faculty members at the Physics Institute in addition to the directly responsible faculty member.  The circulation will be arranged by the main advisor.
  • Defense: no less than 6 and no more than 12 weeks after registration
    The colloquium involves a 30 minutes lecture, which is open to the public, and a subsequent minimum 30 minutes closed disputation on questions in the dissertation’s subject area. The PhD supervisor and at least two additional members who possess the right to confer a PhD at the Faculty of Science, one of which is not in the Doctoral Committee must be present at the disputation. The reviewers and the direct PhD advisor will be invited to the disputation, even if they are neither members of the faculty nor the doctoral committee.
  • After the defense: the protocol and the final PhD thesis will be submitted by the head of the committee. If the thesis is accepted without restrictions, NO content related corrections are allowed, you may only correct typos!
  • Hand in the mandatory copies of the dissertation to the Zentralbibliothek. You are only allowed to do so once you have received the 'good to print' (Gut zum Druck) from the Office of the Dean of Studies (four copies)
  • Graduation ceremony: the date will be confirmed by an email from the Dean's office.

For supervisors

Soft Skill Courses

You can attend courses from the entire range of university, eg language or scientific writing courses (language center)

Many interdisciplinary courses are offered by the Graduate Campus targeting the needs of early researchers.

Registration: August and January

Checklist for PhD students (faculty of Science)
Fact sheet for PhD students: PhD defense
Contacts for PhD students
Faculty of Science: PhD students

Coaching, Mentoring & Counselling

Graduate Campus Seite Support for PhD Students

Counseling GRC

Coaching GRC

PhD Thesis

Contact

Physics Institute, University of Zurich
Doctoral Program, D. Caneve
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland
Email: denise.caneve@physik.uzh.ch

Weiterführende Informationen

UZH International Scholars Center

The UZH for International Students and Scholars is the main point of contact for PhD candidates. Its staff supports you before your arrival in Zurich and during your entire stay at our University. The services include information, advice, and support, in the following areas:

- Entering Switzerland

- Moving to and registering in Zurich

- Accomodations

- Health insurances

- Childcare and schools

- Living in Zurich

UZH for International Students and Scholars

Master & PhD Flyer

Contact

For further information please contact:

 

Physics Institute, University of Zurich

Doctoral Program, D. Caneve

Winterthurerstrasse 190

CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland

Email: denise.caneve@physik.uzh.ch

Checklist

The application process as well as all the steps you have to undertake during your PhD are summarized here in this checklist.

Coaching, Mentoring & Counselling

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